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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Morbid Curiosity's LiveJournal:

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Friday, June 24th, 2016
7:40 pm
Useful/grateful things today:
  • Modern Javascript training at work.
  • Clients not screaming about website performance, which I am hoping means they're happy I Fixed the Things. (Things that were only a problem when they finally decided to set aggressive performance targets a couple of weeks out from launch.)
  • Definite Potential Intern has now turned into Actual Intern, and she seems to be taking to the place well.
  • New tenants moving into my ex-girlfriend's ex-flat earlier than expected, which means we're finally out of the lease and I'm not paying $340/wk for a mouldy shithole in Shirley she can't live in with a compromised immune system.
  • Full 4-month bond return incoming, without contest from the landlord who was always "too busy" to fix anything and too cheap to get it fixed.
  • Meridian Energy closed the account there as of my last bill, so nothing further to pay.
  • On the horizon, a potential scholarship / bucket of research funding to write up the last couple of chapters of my thesis as a conference paper or journal entry.
  • Interesting conversations, and being inspired to write Interesting things again.
Despite plenty of stressors, many positive outcomes this week. Now comes two days of sleeping and computer games.
Sunday, May 29th, 2016
1:17 pm
Committing poetry again
This is what happens when you're looking for a short writing exercise and someone suggests love poems.

Romance novel love
With candles lit and a simmering said
A petalled path to the foot of your bed
Falls cool with the white winter's season

But age holds no fear
With cardigans on and early to bed
Each other held long in the heart and the head
When your lives never lacked for a reason
Friday, May 27th, 2016
10:51 am
If TV news reported the arts the way they report sports...
"Yeah nah, it was a play of three acts, all credit to the director and the choreographer... the coaching's been paying off with a strong start out of the interval and tight blocking throughout. We've been putting in the hard yards, and it's really starting to show in our performance."

"The cast definitely seemed to be moving through and engaging the crowd well going into Act Three."

"Thanks. Yeah, we're trying to incorporate some more Brechtian V-effekt work going into the end of this season, and de-familiarising the traditional notions of the theatre-going experience."

"With the scene change from the apartment to a protest rally, do you think the audience are going to feel a bit confused by this part of the play?"

"Definitely. And that's part of the game plan. Obviously Tom and Scotty's characters are the focal point of the narrative, but this helps the audience to defocalise and engage with the other minor roles, feeling as if they are participating in a broader, interconnected story-world rather than just a single isolated line of discourse. In the end, art was the winner on the day, eh..."

"Cheers, Erin! And here's Sam with the weather."
Thursday, March 31st, 2016
4:39 pm
Instrumenting 3D Virtual Worlds for Computer Science
Education to Support Teaching and Learning
A thesis submitted in partial fullment
of the requirements for the Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
in the
University of Canterbury

Still reviewers/changes/defence ahead. But for now... done.
Tuesday, March 29th, 2016
7:06 pm
The Home Stretch
In 48 hours, I'll have submitted my PhD thesis. Currently looking at just on 200 pages (though a fair chunk of those are appendices). It took too long to get here, with the rest of Life getting in the way in various incarnations, but I'm down to an intro, conclusion, and a little bit of polish.

Into the breach.
Thursday, June 4th, 2015
6:20 pm
That time of year again.
Because LiveJournal is being special at the moment, I can post but I can't go to my own profile - doing so redirects me to their outage page before I can so much as blink.

Nice fix there, Друг!
Friday, April 17th, 2015
12:09 am
That time of year again.
Life's been... tumultuous, to say the least. I may not be making great progress right now, but I'm not going backwards and that's good too.

Just back from a conference in Taipei. Presenting went well. Managed to accidentally talk my way into being a mentor for their doctoral consortium, but that worked out quite well in the end. Was able to help some students, and get to know some of my academic peers as well. Christchurch turned on a chill for my return, and my sweatshirt arrived a day later, but all things considered I'm quite grateful to have had the opportunity.

Now it's back to work, and trying to earn enough money to resume my studies again.
Friday, July 18th, 2014
3:13 pm
(We'll never be) Deep Ones
With (admittedly not especially sincere) apologies to H.P. Lovecraft, Lorde and Maurice Gee:

I've never had a swim on Devil's Reef
I cut my teeth on arcane books in New England
And I'm not proud of my address
In a shaken town, no post code envy
But every story"s like...Collapse )
Thursday, June 12th, 2014
11:35 pm
Somewhere in a marsh, southwest of Seattle, in the 2070s...
Tonight's game didn't travel at a huge pace, but being slow and careful allowed us to get a lot of atmosphere out of a poignant scene...

Swamp. Mangroves. Old grounded fishing boat. Booby-traps wired up. A smaller fanboat tethered outside. An abandoned rucksack and gun. Rations and a map. Bad smells from rotten food in the cargo hold. Blood marks. A disarmed grenade trap behind the wheelhouse door. A hand print on the wall. Scattered medical supplies in the galley. A cabin. A few flies. We're already on breathers. A long-dead man in camo, with bandages around his midriff. Died with a commlink and a pistol in his hands. Check the cylinder, but leave the gun. Splashing noises out there in the mangroves.

Find a paper journal to speed-read: he settled here two years back. Hack his hardware and find his last audio log: he got bitten by something out in the swamps, investigating rumours of a shaman in these parts. He made it back home, but the thing followed him. He bled out while waiting for it to go away, and he never made it to Riverside for medical help.

Look through the rest of the boat. Find some salvage. Tidy the medical supplies back in the kit they came from, and leave it behind when we go. There's not really anywhere we can bury him. We close the cabin door again.

Heading out of the mangroves, something makes a "bloop" noise out in the water. We don't see anything but a ripple of wide rings, expanding out across the surface. It's noon, but we're leaving the place like it's midnight.
Sunday, May 25th, 2014
11:44 pm
Goths in Hot Weather
Inspired by "Nights in White Satin", the "Goths in Hot Weather" blog, and the alt.gothic crowd (especially Liz's fault):
Goths in hot weather, never reaching the shade
Our parasols lifted, but we're starting to fade
Mascara always covered these eyes before
Just how badly it's running, I can't say anymore

'Cos it's so hot, yes it's so hot, oh how it's so hot

Gazing at people, some hand in hand
Why I wear so much black, they can't understand
Some try to ask me, if I'm in a band
But we're just going to the beach, to play in the sand

And it's so hot, yes it's so hot
Oh how it's so hot, oh how it's so hot...
Apologies to the Moody Blues, who never did anything to deserve this.
Thursday, April 17th, 2014
9:40 am
It's that time of year again: traditional bleak song time!

Generally feeling good, though, despite various challenges in the last year. Lots to do, but I'm doing it.

Current Mood: Optimistic
Sunday, February 9th, 2014
5:18 pm
In which I go to the movies, for a change.
I saw The Book Thief the other night. A sad film, and an occasionally intriguing one. Nice to see Studio Babelsberg in the credits, having visited there once in 1994.

The language use was interesting. A handful of scenes in pure German, with subtitles. Songs in German. The majority of the film in what amounted to 'Allo 'Allo! German: English with a German accent, and commonly understood German words mixed in. Street signs, shops and such all in German, but a diary in English. Narrator and three principal actors from Canada, Australia and England, the rest Germans. So basically, as German as they could get for the average English audience.

The Parental Guidance rating is certainly appropriate - there's some violent death in it. But I think it's got a few good teaching points, too. For example, understanding why people might join the NSDAP (Nazi Party) even if they hated the ideology, and the risks of standing out or speaking out in an authoritarian regime. Painting war in shades of black and white is deceptively easy to do.
Sunday, December 8th, 2013
4:36 pm
Note to Self
If you're waiting for someone to get in touch, you think you've arranged for them to contact you, and you still haven't heard from them... just call.

Sometimes I still suck when it comes to assuming rather than communicating. I may be getting better at taking professional initiative, but I still have gaps in my social initiative and awareness that I will be working to fix.
Thursday, October 31st, 2013
4:18 am
For some reason, everyone's names on my friends list just turned green. What gives?
Saturday, October 26th, 2013
1:52 am
"Alright then, sir, here's your choice: you can have the crap on a stick, or the crap sandwich."

"Ugh. Neither of those sounds appealing."

"Well, those are your choices, sir."

"But I don't like them! I don't want to eat this crap!"

"You haven't made a choice though, sir! You can't complain if you don't even choose one, sir!"

"Are you sure you don't have something else? Anything else? Anything at all?"

"Well, sir. If you really want you can ask for the crappatouille, sir. But hardly anyone else chooses that - we don't even keep it in stock, sir."

"So no matter what I choose, you're going to give me crap? This is bullshit!"

"Yes sir. It is bullshit, sir. But unless you choose what kind of bullshit you want, you can't exactly complain about what you get, now can you, sir? We've all got to make our own choice, sir! How else would we fairly decide just which crap to feed you, sir!"

This post brought to you by the phrase: "If you don't vote, then you can't complain!"
Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
4:41 pm
Apologies to... well, everyone, really.
Westeros Rhapsody

Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in Winterfell
No escape to the open sea
Open your eyes
As winter is coming, see
I'm just a Greyjoy, I get no sympathy
Because I'm a captured son, cannot go
To the Iron Islands, no
Loyalty to Westeros doesn't really matter to me, to me

There"s more, sorry.Collapse )
Sunday, September 29th, 2013
4:35 am
Spring forward.
Wednesday, March 20th, 2013
11:15 pm
What PTSD is.
A friend of mine posted this article by Myke Cole on Facebook. An excellent piece, and I'm only 25% of the way through it so far. That's enough for now.

Talking about my PTSDCollapse )

PTSD may follow me, but I won't allow it to haunt me.
Saturday, March 16th, 2013
6:34 pm
Needless Alley
So, I entered a small writing competition that Jordan Reyne held:

Having had to relocate again, I've been checking out the lay of the land in Birmingham. There are some hilariously named streets in England and “Needless Alley” is one of them.

After all sorts of random guesses as to why it was so named, someone managed to find out the real story behind it for me. The thing was, the random guesses were more amusing. So, send me your own take on how “needless alley” got it's name (email to [address elided] with “needless alley” in the subject) and the most intriguing tale will get my full discography in digital form, along with a T-shirt and a signed tour poster from the Children of a Factory Nation tour. Answers can be as short as you like, but not over 300 words. Entry is free but you have to “like” my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/jordanreynemusic if you haven't already in order to be eligible to win.

And here's my entry:

It's old, this alley of ours. Proper old. Back afore they crowned
monarchs at Westminster, afore Mercia, afore Beorma's time, afore the
first blood-soaked Roman sandal ever sunk in Albion's mud. It weren't
always a street, but it were always a Way. To this day, there's always
a way in Needless Alley.

Back in the way back when, it were burning they did. In feast and
festival, prayer and party, all came to burning. The places were dug
and cut and set and lined, all rocks and charcoal and set upon it all:
flesh. The brightest of red berries and choicest of herbs to dress
'em. We'd make marrow broth, and paint ourselves so as they'd remember
us when the fires cooled, and cast empty bones out to feed the sea.

Not fires for cooking, no, never for food. At least, not for our food.
For old days had old gods, and old gods had old tastes, and old tastes
turn ever to blood. And so there were gifts, raised up to Them in
smoke. Burning until the stones cracked, till those cracked stones
piled up into a mound. So that the old powers would slake their
ancient thirsts, see us go well upon our ways, and not take blood of
ours instead.

Over time we got all civilized, and the old ways parted from us, but
we never stopped our sacrifices. These days, the gods take price in
sin, in inflamed lust and the other hungers than fire a man's veins.
Most days. Among the shacks and shanties, They stalk us awhile yet.
The forgotten ones. Forsaken. The bodies leave, but blood pools into
the mud.

For there's a price to be paid on a man's success: most often taken in
those they need less.

She seems well-pleased with it, so I'm happy. Her music's available over at Bandcamp if you'd like to check her out.

Current Mood: accomplished
Wednesday, February 6th, 2013
2:55 pm
This is where my family's story in New Zealand starts.
In the 1830s, the first of my New Zealand ancestors arrived. William Paine Brown was an apprentice boat builder and ship's carpenter from Kent, who jumped ship off a whaler at Tauranga Bay in the far north. With the help of the local Maori, he and William Gardner made their way to Kororareka (Russell) and served on a Church Mission Society boat for a few years. In 1838 he purchased land at Te Wahapu, an inlet just across the bay from Waitangi.

1840 was a big year for him. The founding of Gardner and Brown, a pioneering ship-building firm, and being present at the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. When the Land Wars broke out in 1845, the local Maori tribe with whom he had friendship urged him not to leave, and promised his property would be respected. Out of concern for his family's safety during the conflict, he evacuated to Australia with other settlers and returned home later to find his yard had been plundered and burnt. He rebuilt, and prospered.

From what's recorded about him and his own personal journals, one can tell that he cared a great deal about his community, both European and Maori. Among other things, he donated time, money, materials and expertise to the erection of a wooden church in Paihia in 1853. His house at Te Wahapu burned to the ground in 1874 and they built a new one over the next three months. He died there in 1896, having lived in the Bay of Islands for over fifty years, and is buried at Paihia. A challenging life, but as best I can tell a good one.

We've had a pretty checquered history of race relations in this country over the last 180-odd years; better than some, but still more than enough problems. But I can't help that think that, if not for the generosity shown by the Maori people of Northland in aiding a pair of young runaways all those years ago, I might not be here today. I'm thankful for that.

Happy Waitangi Day.

Current Mood: contemplative
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