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Archive for the ‘Things I don’t like’ Category

Usually, New Zealanders get irritated when we are ignored. It is common when overseas to have to explain to people where our country is in the world. And for goodness sake, New Zealand is often even dropped off world maps. But this week, we’d far prefer to revert to our more familiar incognito status.

The common theme in the media here is shock. It’s the first word almost anyone uses. I’m not so surprised, though, that this happened somewhere in the world, given events in recent years. Given international travel, social media, media agencies that irresponsibly support extremist attitudes, changing rhetoric, and right-wing moves, there is nowhere now that is truly immune from that. Not even here. But with a progressive government, and a diverse and accepting society, until now we have always felt safe in New Zealand. (Well, except for natural disasters.)

For me though, I almost instantly reacted with anger. Anger that Christchurch, such a beautiful city, a city where I lived for five years during my university years, where I met my husband, and where I visited just a few weeks ago, should go through another major trauma when it is still recovering for the devastating earthquakes only eight years ago.

I was and am angry that a person or small group of people could be so cold and calculated. Anger that they could betray our country, betray our promise to those who were targeted that they would be safe and accepted here.

I was angry at the NRA (which extends its influence beyond just the US) and other weapons peddlers. There is a gun shop – the first I can ever remember seeing in our city – that opened about ten minutes away a few years ago. Almost every time I have driven past it I have resented its existence. It has never seemed to fit this city, this country. But on Friday afternoon and over the weekend, I felt overwhelming anger at it, its owners and staff.

And then, as we learned the shooter was Australian, there was even more anger at him. Anger that he would bring his toxic hate to our country, harm our citizens, ruin our reputation. And anger at their government’s policies over decades (centuries really), at their recent treatment of Muslim refugees, and the outrageous rhetoric of other politicians there that have legitimised this hate. And I’ve been angry at some of the people I know there who have supported some of these policies, and some of these attitudes.

And then we learned of his “manifesto” of hate, and of his admiration of Trump’s approval of white supremacist movements, and my anger surged anew. Anger at the language the US President used only hours later that echoed those of the shooter. Anger at those who apologise for Trump, but still support him and the racism he incites. Anger at those who may not apologise for him, but still support him openly whilst decrying any responsibility for the acceptance of this hate. Anger at those hypocrites who expressed their sadness in the media or online, and those who had the gall to accept condolences, whilst refusing to denounce his comments, his white supremacist supporters and his policies. Their silence, their hypocrisy, makes them complicit. And so I am angry at them too.

Social media is flooded with images, new profile overlays declaring love, strength, and echoing our Prime Minister’s words that “They are Us.” People share drawings of kiwis crying. I haven’t used any of these. It’s not really my style. And whilst I have appreciated my overseas friends who have done so to show solidarity, or who have sent messages, these actions don’t feel significant enough for me to encompass the depth of my feelings. They don’t express my disgust, my grief, my anger. And so I have abstained.

I don’t usually write posts such as this either. But I feel now, more strongly than I ever have, that silence is inappropriate, it is acceptance, it is collusion, it is complicit. So if you’re reading this, and you recognise yourself in my earlier paragraphs, know that I see through you too.

And if you have been one of those who sends love and support and is equally horrified and angry, know that we are strong, we are decent, and we are full of love. That’s what we have seen throughout New Zealand, and – mostly – around the world, since Friday’s events. I’m proud of that. I’m proud of the way we have responded. I am proud that this has not been politicised here. I’m proud of our Prime Minister, who has been articulate and compassionate and decisive. And as my anger abates, exhausted, I am deeply saddened that it has been necessary.

 

 

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  1. I signed up for emails from a minimalist site, and it cluttered up my inbox, so I unsubscribed.
  2. Travel photos that are over-saturated in editing, and make beautiful places look completely fake. The Cinque Terre villages in Italy are frequent victims of this; compare the different photos here and see what I mean.
  3. Or travel photos and even postcards on sale that are very obviously photoshopped. You can’t believe what you see anymore, and I hate that!
  4. The dog person vs cat person divide (though I have to admit that I’m really a cat person.)
  5. Bloggers who promote their own communities by bringing in new users, but never give back by visiting other blogs, or by paying tribute to others working in the same area.
  6. Struggling to find topics for Microblog Mondays, because it’s hard to keep a post to eight sentences.

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Has anyone noticed? I feel that suddenly, last week (or perhaps on the weekend), my WordPress sites suddenly have extra advertising. I always knew there were one or two ads after my posts, and that was fine because they have to pay for the service somehow, but now they seem to have encroached into the top of the sidebars as well, and the ads are impossible to miss. I do not like it, and yet I do not want to succumb to their obvious pressure to opt into their paid service (though that’s their prerogative, of course), thereby rewarding their strategy, and encouraging them to engage in this activity again in the future.

I’m so sick of having a hot bedroom at night, going to bed with a cold compress, and waking later feeling as if I’m having a constant hot flush, which I’m not, because that’s why I’m on HRT.

The neighbours are subdividing their section, and building their retirement home in the trees that are currently our northern boundary. It will substantially change the character of our house, the privacy in the garden/on the decks, and in our bedroom and reduce the value of our house, and I told them so because we’ve been far too nice and accommodating so far, even though they themselves are trying to take our wishes into consideration in the design of the house – except for the fact that they’re building the damn house in the first place.

More curses, because there was something else I wanted to write about, but I’ve forgotten, so I hate that too.

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Yesterday I finished a major project. It was the third of the photobooks I have created from our trip earlier this year to Iceland, the Baltic, and Norway. I’m very proud of it, as our photos from Norway in particular are beautiful. It would almost be impossible to visit Norway and come away without beautiful photos. Some of my favourite photographs were taken out the front of the car as we were driving, and some required a bit more thought or design; here are just a few.

Fjaerlandfjord, with boats in the foreground and snow on the mountains

Fjaerlandfjord, from our beautiful hotel, is the cover of our Norway photobook

A bookshelf on Fjaerlandfjord, with Boyabreen glacier behind

Mundal, on Fjaerlandfjord, is an international book town

The Geiranger-Trollstigen national scenic tourist route, surrounded in snow

The Geiranger-Trollstigen national scenic tourist route

Fb reminded me that this time last year I had already booked our flights and the Baltic cruise, and I was right in the middle of researching and planning our travel. I realised last night that, on and off, I’d spent a year planning and organising our trip, being on the trip, or completing photobooks after the trip. Of course, those aren’t the only things I have been doing, but I do feel that now I have some real space to think about other things. It’s time to move onto other long-neglected projects, and you know, that’s quite an exciting thought.

 

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  • You come up with the perfect blog topic, think to yourself, “that’s so perfect and so obvious, I don’t even need to make a note of it,” and by the next day you’ve forgotten what it was, but you haven’t forgotten how perfect it would have been, and it still haunts you two Microblog Mondays later! (If I’m honest, I remember coming up with a brilliant post topic some years ago when I was driving home from the gym, and it has never come back … so maybe it wasn’t so brilliant?)
  • You have to admit you were wrong to your significant other, which is fine, but then they gloat.
  • You know you put something somewhere safe but then you can’t find it.
  • A young woman was appointed as the Leader of one of our major political parties, and the first questions she gets are focused on whether she will have children or not, and if that should disqualify her.
  • You get out of bed ready to go for a brisk morning walk, and it rains.
  • You can’t find the perfect hairdresser.
  • Self-doubt stops you getting where you want to go.

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  • Drivers who stop in the middle of the road with free-flowing traffic to let me (also in my car, sitting comfortably in a turning lane) turn in front of them, but they block traffic, don’t realise I can’t see the cars coming in the lane outside them, encourage risky manoeuvres (either by me because they won’t move out of my way, or by others who are inconvenienced by them), and then make me feel guilty because I get irritated when they’re just trying to be helpful.
  • Hearing someone described as a “self-confessed feminist” as if feminist is a dirty word, when it is, in fact, a recognition of past and present injustices and a desire to change that, a badge of courage and insight and hope for the future, and is nothing that needs to be confessed.
  • Going to a movie only to discover that the main character has an American accent, when it is not required for the story line (but only for marketing in the US); recent examples included Benedict Cumberbatch (an English actor) in Dr Strange (whether the character is from the US or not is irrelevant to the story), and Emily Blunt (also English) in Girl on a Train (based on an English book, set in England). Are North Americans so unaccustomed to foreign accents that the use of one will seriously affect how well a movie might fare at the box office?
  • I saw a book on sale recently with the title Inside of a dog.
  • Long-term bloggers who never ever return comments or engage in community discussions; it’s all about them, their numbers, their profile, and of course, selling their books.
  • In urban areas, birds are apparently 14% louder (than a previous study sometime some years ago I assume) to drown out city noises, and though I love that birds can adapt, I feel sad that they need to.
  • The combination of ageism and sexism.

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Whilst I usually make my own pasta sauces, I do have a favourite commercial sauce that I have been buying for some years now. It’s nothing special – a simple tomato sauce, useful for when I want something quickly. Except that now it seems the manufacturers have discontinued it, keeping the other tomato sauce (of the same brand) that I don’t like nearly as much.

I have a large blister on the bottom of each foot, developed after I a) wore relatively new sandals into the city last week, and then b) had to race back to my carpark when I realised I was running/had run out of time on the meter.

Political discussions amongst friends and their friends on Fb, whilst interesting, are going to make my head explode. I’m torn between a) reading them, exposing myself to alternative opinions but risking raising my blood pressure/heart rate/stress levels, and b) ignoring them, sticking to a variety of respected news outlets, and losing that personal understanding of politics and motivations.

This summer hasn’t really been summer for those of us in Wellington yet, as we have been tormented by spring conditions – low temperatures, and high winds.

But fortunately there is almost always a bright side, and these are:

  1. I generally like my own pasta sauces (including recipes received from fellow bloggers) better than the bought ones
  2. My blisters are healing, and I didn’t get a parking ticket, and
  3. Today is a lovely sunny day, as predicted by a spectacular sunset last night (photographed from my deck).

p1020087-sunset

 

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