Wandering Thoughts

June 30, 2010

Loneliness

Filed under: Staying Places — terence @ 9:14 pm
Tags: ,

The people on the bus ride home suggest there’s more to Ainslie than the cozy suburban street where we live:

A ramshackle guy speaking into a big old cell phone.

“If I could just get to see a psychiatrist or something.”

Pleading with someone: his wife? a case worker?

Another rough looking bloke is drunk, almost asleep on one of the seats. Somehow, despite being barely conscious, he remembers his stop.

Tired people. Old people. Tidy people. Shabby people. Drunks. Kids.

Teenager’s mill around, foils for the rest of us. Young and healthy. Groomed and good looking. Awkward in their way, with the hunch and poise of those not quite yet grown into themselves.

Sitting next to me are two women. One, in her forties or early fifties, is tidily dressed. With a sensible swoop of hair and glasses that sit neatly on a crooked, determined nose. The other is older, her hair’s still dark but the curls are thinning. She’s rounded and bent down a bit, wearing a cheep pink fleece and wrinkled old pants.

The younger woman’s doing the bulk of the talking. She’s calm but her words have a force.

“…too many drug addicts and alcoholics, not good people. I’m not happy there.”

“Could you find another church?” The older lady’s voice is weaker. I have to strain to eavesdrop.

“That’s what I’m doing. It’s difficult for me – on my own. One guy used to keep calling me up asking me to drive him everywhere. And there’s a big woman, who bosses me around. One of those big women. I can’t put up with that.”

“Maybe another church would be better.”

“That’s right. I’m going to move. But I told the big woman, and now she wants to come with me. It’s difficult for me on my own. You must know what it’s like. When did you say your husband died?”

“30 years ago.”

“Do you…”

“…I still miss him sometimes. It’s been a long time.”

“You see. It’s different for me. I’ve always been on my own. I think I always will.”

The older lady’s looking for words, but her companion starts up again before she finds any.

“I’m used to it. But I still get lonely. It was better when I worked you see, but now I’m just on my own. And the people at church are no good.”

“No, I think you should change churches.”

“Oh that’s my stop.”

“See you later. Good luck. I’m Mary by the way.”

Surprisingly, for someone who talks so much, I’m not a sociable person. With the exception of my wife and a few close friends, I find socialising hard work. Nevertheless, I think to myself as I limp the last little bit of my journey home, I’d crumple in an instant under the weight of that much loneliness.

Lady, I really hope you find a better church.

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June 25, 2010

And now wet is the new dry…

Filed under: Going Places — terence @ 8:53 pm

Apologies in advance for the continued weather blogging…

The sun shone for a spell round the middle of the day but by dusk a sulking grey sky gave way to rain. Thick and thorough, filling puddles and quenching drains. Adding an edge to the traffic. And soaking the cyclists, including me.

Rain.

June 23, 2010

Comic Sans Strikes Back!

Filed under: Ramblings and Musings — terence @ 11:07 am
Tags:

As far as fonts go, Comic Sans has it tough. Generally decried as tacky, unsophisticated and ugly, its the subject of jokes and derision. There is a campaign to ban it. And even its creator has disowned it.

However, finally, the font is fighting back, with a column in McSweeney’s.

Here’s an excerpt:

Listen up. I know the shit you’ve been saying behind my back. You think I’m stupid. You think I’m immature. You think I’m a malformed, pathetic excuse for a font. Well think again, nerdhole, because I’m Comic Sans, and I’m the best thing to happen to typography since Johannes fucking Gutenberg.

Read the rest.

HT (who else): Chris Blattman.

June 21, 2010

Meanwhile, from the Department of Eeewww

Filed under: Ramblings and Musings — terence @ 2:20 pm
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Want to keep your valuables safe whilst traveling overseas? Discovered on Amazon: The “Brief Safe” Fake Secret Compartment Dirty Underwear

Feel free to go over to Amazon and have a look at the product picture; while you’re at it read the review. Apparently the fake soiling is very convincing.

Despite this fact, to be honest, I think I’ll stick to a money belt for the time being…

June 19, 2010

Flood

Filed under: Going Places — terence @ 8:16 pm
Tags: ,

And the rain continues.

Lake Bed

Flying back from Melbourne yesterday I finally saw lake George, which so far has been nothing more than a great big, flat field. The ghost of a lake, left empty by drought.

Today that view, snatched from a plane window, took us out lake-hunting. Although, in the end, we couldn’t find a way to the part of the lake bed that was actually covered with water. Still we found space, and the sweeping patterns of clouds, trailing east on the winter winds.

On the other side, across the lake bed, and over a distant strip of water, that same wind had brought the wind farm to life. Long loping arms making electricity.

Windmills Swallowed by Cellphone Pixels

Plenty of people hate windmills and what they do to the view, but looking across that ‘lake’ today I realised that, above and beyond the environmental benefits, I love the damn things. Count me a fan for aesthetic reasons. Take a ridge, long ago denuded of trees, and whack up windmills, and the horizon becomes more interesting, more peaceful in a way. And more beautiful too.

June 17, 2010

Rain

Filed under: Going Places — terence @ 12:26 pm
Tags: ,

In March, we arrived in the rain. Sunday evening, Canberra airport, and a thick clingy drizzle. Being Wellingtonians this wasn’t anything particularly new. We just adopted our weather posture (a hunch, shrinking back into one’s clothes like a tortoise into its shell) and hurried to the rent-a-car, trying to keep our bags dry.

Rain in Wellington is so common it doesn’t even warrant comment. This isn’t the case in Canberra though. Over the next few days people advised us that the drizzle which had welcomed us to the city was really quite something.

“Several days of it.”

“Most rain we’ve had in 4 years, mate.”

Over time, and with the occasional intermittent deluge, that number increased.

“Dams haven’t been this high in 7 years.”

“Hasn’t been this much rain for 14 years.”

Finally the TV weatherman gave the official verdict.

“Canberra has had its wettest month in 20 years. The drought is over.”

That last comment made me chuckle. The drought breaking weather we’ve been experiencing – the most rain in 20 years! – equates to one, maybe two, days of rain a fortnight. Small bursts of wetness punctuating otherwise blue skies.

I’m pretty sure Canberra’s recent wet-spell would qualify as a plant destroying drought in Wellington.

Anyhow, I’m not complaining. Although, today, the weather is actually really, really bad. Even by New Zealand standards. A low, grey, damp, blanket of clouds across the sky. Windy, wet and cold.

Safe to say, I’m feeling more or less at home.

June 2, 2010

Link Time!

Filed under: Ramblings and Musings — terence @ 10:05 pm
Tags:

A very good essay on Ayn Rand in the Nation:
http://www.thenation.com/article/garbage-and-gravitas

[And more]

Could the Guardian become paper free and free, sustained by online adds alone:

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2010-05/20/ad-funded-guardian-could-switch-off-presses-by-2015

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