A Quiet Night


Some years ago I was single again and dating again This night I had been out on a date. it had been great night. I got home at about 11pm.

I am a light sleeper and about 1 to 1:30 am I heard some noise in the house and some lights flashing.

I was close to the road and thought it was some activity on the road. So I rolled over and tried to sleep.

But then I heard the noise and saw light again. I think I have a visitor.

My bedroom joins a small hallway and the lounge is opposite .

I’m going to have to get up and challenge this intruder, in my undies and singlet. No time for formalities. As I’m tip toeing on carpet towards the lounge door I am thinking when he comes through the door way , I’ll ankle tap him and then kick him when he’s down. The courtroom drama yes your honour my client was brutally assaulted in an unprovoked attack.

Hmmm. Now my skin is goose-bumped and ready for anything . I put head into the doorway and say
“Hey what are you doing?”

“I’ve just come to collect my mates stuff”. This dark figure emerges and from the dark. The street light s shines on this huge man with the classic , Balaclava and bag on the back and all black. I guess he didn’t want his mate to recognise him if he was even here!

There goes all thoughts of my beating this guy.

“Your mate doesn’t live here”

He strides right passed me real casually . Arguing still that “this is the place”

“Well lets talk about this place and what’s your name?”

It’s a small house we already through the back door now and I can’t make out his replies. I’m just glad he’s getting outta here.

I’m at the back door and he’s smashed the laundry light that I switched on behind so I still can’t get a look. He is white though, and he has a moustache.

By the time I get to the door. He’s mounting the neighbours fence to scarper.
Already I’m turning on my heels and back to the kitchen to ring the cops.

“your in luck there’s a dog handler in your neighbourhood right now”.

The burglar runs into him almost while I’m on the phone…Yeah yeah we got him”

In about 5 minutes . I have 6 cops arrive and the dog handler has the guy in his van.

The others come in and they bring the bag of stuff in and start emptying the stuff …

Yes it’s all mine ….we gotta take this in evidence…”Hang on. Can I get my car and house keys from my jacket pocket”

All good. I make them all a cup of tea . Extra sugar for me to calm the goosebumps.

We’re chatting and someone’s taking notes. “Quite night? ..This was a pleasing but unexpected response. “

Yes was the reply…then “ksssh” goes the radio phone – “there’s a massive (95) break in , in progress”. They all disappear into the night. With my jackets and my burglar who was just quietly looking for his mates stuff.

It took a while after this night to have a real quiet night again.

History never repeats

History never repeats , I tell myself before I go to sleep. – Split Enz

I don’t want to be like you. I had hated and despised my Dad for many years. This was the final insult and I was resolute in trying hard not to be like Dad. He had been such a terrible role model. My memories of Dad were coloured by all the violent times, the mental illness the drunken times.

At the age of 9 Mum was taken in a car accident. I went to Boarding School in AKL .. a tale for another day.

In the holidays I would go home to Rotorua to Dad. I would ring Dad every now and then to touch base or write letters. He never heard me as he never wore his hearing aids

My first job was in AKL . Loose plan was to save money to go to Art school when I was 21.

When I was about 18 or 19 my Dad gave me that talk …”You’re just like me” “History repeats”was one of the statements that stuck in my throat.

When I did go to Art School in 1983 I called Dad fairly regularly. At least once a term. Maybe it was the distance But something began to happen. The distance and the phone calls to Dad seem to change in our relationship. Dad was deaf and wore his hearing aids at will.

A Classic line he said to my sister was when asked about using his hearing aids was . Yes Sue but I don’t need to hear what you say.

But something happened maybe Dad started wearing his hearing aids or the phone ear piece got better.

The phone seemed to give me access to his ear. I was son number six , I was a long way down the line from the shining star of Number 1 son.

But during these phone calls , which were nothing profound or deep in any way . They were just calls to say hi. We finally got to know each other I could tell he listened. I also listened to him.

I started to accumulate fond memories. The old negative memories are still there but I was now getting to know Dad. I had his full attention . I had a Dad

And so I need not be angry or need to dwell on all those bad times. I’m so glad this happened really, because its an impossible task trying not to be someone. My Dad is a part of me and this was the ahah moment.

My life with Dad from then on was good. I enjoyed many many years of love and affection for my Dad. I was proud of him rather than ashamed as I had been.

There were some times though that tested me. Christmas and gifts were odd. John still was number one Son he got cool presents at Xmas. Dad would always talk about Johns achievements. But not mine or other bros …It was all John. Hard to change a habit of a life time.

I had the privilege of keeping vigil on Dad’s last night on earth he was 88. He kept waking and saying “Is that you John (Number 1 son)” . No Dad he will be here in the morning about 9:30 am . He was on his way from the US to come to Dads side.

It was truly humbling to hold his hand and just be there with him through the night.

The next afternoon he passed peacefully and John was holding his hand . He had waited for John to show up.

In the coming week I organised the funeral and was MC . That’s a whole other story . It was a beautiful send off.

After the service relatives and friends of the family came to give me hugs and a lot of them said

“You’re just like your Dad” or “I see so much of Eddie in you”. It was humbling and comforting.

So it seems History does repeat. But not all of it. There’s no violence in this iteration and also working on the temper. I’m hoping that the next generation is not just a repeat of history also.

So yes history never repeats …I still tell myself before I go to sleep.

PS: Some of the temper and sharp tongue comes from Mum. I only had Mum for nine years. She was the fave. But she could just as easily give you a good thrashing and a good telling off. Tear you to shreds. Must have been a match those 2.

PPS . When I met Charlotte she seemed to have the qualities that are aspirational the consummate Mum. I knew immediately she was the one.

PPPS . It emerged last year that I was indeed no 7 child. Dad had got my Aunt pregnant before she met her hubby . Dads brother Fred.

From me to you

 I want to talk about how I like to use words in many ways as I give myself to the world.

An early talk I gave was when I was about 7. I saw the Sound Of Music and came home reciting the entire movie and songs to my sister. Well that’s probably exaggerated a little.

Age 13 I entered a speech competition. I was a prog rocking goth in those days . I was totally taken with The Alan Parsons project – Tales of Mystery and Imagination. I made a large backdrop of art work, inspired by Edgar Allan Poe. In front of this I placed my turntable and played a track from the album. I may have said maybe 40 words.
I had not figured out a way of articulating my love of art, music and words.

1972: my mum was tragically killed in a car accident. My brother Ian and myself ended up at a boarding school.

In  1979. I had my first job as an Accounts Clerk. On a training course we had to introduce ourselves. Time was meant to be 5 minutes. Thirty five minutes later the room, jaws on the floor, they let me continue to tell the tale of my adventures , horror, laughter and tears. They let me unburden myself.

Age 33. I married Lee. My groom speech was totally off the cuff! I told the story of how Lee and I met. I recruited Lee and 2 other female vocalists into our band “The Nuke Wellington Express”. The whole room hung on every word, all eyes were on me. I was sober, but I was really liking this attention. In my summing up, I said how I had found the perfect woman after all. The speech should have stopped right there. But I was drunk on my words and for some reason I thought this “song, this phrasing has not had it’s musical resolve” .
Out of my mouth blurted:“Problem is I keep seeing other nice women”. OMG, pin drop moment, nervous laughter began to trickle. “Just kidding!” A thunderous laughter filled the room . Resolved? I still need some work on my music, words and timing . 

Alas in 1999 after being together 8 years we parted ways. But we have our beautiful son, Tamesi.

Age 43: The busiest year of my life. I married Charlotte. She came with 2 kids, Victor and Claire. It was immediate .This time I sung my groom speech to Charlotte and guests.

The song is called: Song for Charlotte.

I think I’m walking but I’m only standing waiting for the bus
I Think I’m running but I’m only coming to the place I started.
I think I’m driving but really this car is driving me.

I think I better get myself on home to you
Back to the place where my heart beats for you each day
Each day I fall in love again
Each day I fall in love with you.

I still fall in love. We have added Leon and Louis to the mix. The house is full of music and wonder and I am blessed.

Age 51:  I had the privilege of being at my Dads bedside on his last night on earth. During the night he would stir. “Is that you John?” John was winging his way from the USA and was due 9:30 in the morning. “No Dad, its me, Donald”. “Oh”. Back to sleep he went . I held his hand.

When I was really young Dad would use me as a human jukebox . I was made to sing Simon and Garfunkel songs . Pitch perfect, a cappella. I was the MC at his funeral and had allocated 5 minutes to each sibling present. One sibling went 40 minutes over.

Dad was a sailor, a boxer and a ukulele player, on the HMNZS Kiwi in WW2. So I chose to sing the last verse of the Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel as part of my eulogy.

In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of every glove that laid him down
And cut him till he cried out out
in his anger and his shame
I am leaving I am leaving
but the fighter still remains.
..lalalala la la lai la la lai

The hairs raised on my neck just like when you hear a perfect harmony as the verse was suddenly much more poignant than I had expected. The flood of memories, gifts he gave to the world, to me, he is part of me and I am part of him.

This is gift,   to get a sense of me and the many parts that are me.

From me to you.


One shot at this

Recently I applied to get on a committee. A frightening experience indeed. I’m motivated to get amongst this world of Governance. 

Anyhow, I think I let my confidence get in my way somewhat. 

I had to do a presentation and some collaboration workshops. My presentation I began working on weeks in advance. I had a good story to tell. But was it enough? No I thought . I added more to the story but it was other things…distractions. 

Then as there was so many applicants . Our presentations were cut from 5 to 3 minutes. I culled my presentation …well that’s a strong word. I kept on reading and deciding that deserves to stay…oh yeah that also. I forgot the rule 

Introduction to me an the idea

Middle – flesh out the idea

End supporting the idea 

All else I should have tossed. Then during the actual event I tried to cull it on the fly. I felt I hadn’t even begun.

Only get one chance at it really.

But I had all the time and more to get ready for that one chance.

Note to self.   Don’t let this happen again.

When did I begin to care

I was in the middle of a conversation the other day with a colleague.  I was trying to tell a story about getting on a water management committee. 

It seemed like a millisecond but I began to reflect back when my colleague asked me.  “You’ve always cared yes?”

But no I haven’t . In my last years at high school and the early years after leaving school. I wanted to toss in the towel and not be involved in this all consuming society that had polluted the world. This problem and had been illustrated in multiple ways during the school curriculum. To me the world was an ugly beast. 

I did not want any part of it.

It’s not my fault.

And so began a lifestyle of well justified escapism and hedonistic behaviour.

My ambitions were to get a TEP scheme job that would see me employed for 6 months and then I could afford my hippy lifestyle of total abandon. 

Or I was marking time until I turned 21. I could then apply to go to Art School and get into music and art big time. 

In 1980 I took a trip to Dunedin to check out the scene.

That was a week of pure fun. Living life to the fullest on the fringes of reality.  My survey was complete. No need to check out other options. Dunedin it was to be.

Between 1980 and 1983 were turbulent but. It seemed I had set up a plan. I only needed now to just have a fun and wait. Not a care in the world. A blur of living. Working partying and concerts, festivals hanging out. 

I’m still in this reflecting millisecond and I notice something. In all my rejection of society and of it all, I seemed to care about me and my future. I had not tossed in the towel.

During my art school days I seemed to care more and more. 

1984 I made an Arts School Magazine , got on to Student Council, took part in an Art festival had my first solo exhibition of a collection of ladders constructed from Manuka branches . I was looking at the battle between nature and our machines. 

1986  was a founding member of Chippendale House an arts collective.  Some great events during that period

Got involved in making music …became a drummer accidentally.

During this period I stil rejected society in general and thought I was not part of it and this was a new way.

A few events in 1986 led me to a big discovery. I could not reject it , I was not living outside of it. I was a part of it and also I did care very much. 

It was a turning point. I think it was this period that I felt I wanted to get amongst it to become part of changing it from within. 

Most importantly I did care and had for some time.

Welcome to the Gutenberg Editor

Of Mountains & Printing Presses

The goal of this new editor is to make adding rich content to WordPress simple and enjoyable. This whole post is composed of pieces of content—somewhat similar to LEGO bricks—that you can move around and interact with. Move your cursor around and you’ll notice the different blocks light up with outlines and arrows. Press the arrows to reposition blocks quickly, without fearing about losing things in the process of copying and pasting.

What you are reading now is a text block the most basic block of all. The text block has its own controls to be moved freely around the post…

… like this one, which is right aligned.

Headings are separate blocks as well, which helps with the outline and organisation of your content.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Handling images and media with the utmost care is a primary focus of the new editor. Hopefully, you’ll find aspects of adding captions or going full-width with your pictures much easier and robust than before.

Beautiful landscape
If your theme supports it, you’ll see the “wide” button on the image toolbar. Give it a try.

Try selecting and removing or editing the caption, now you don’t have to be careful about selecting the image or other text by mistake and ruining the presentation.

The Inserter Tool

Imagine everything that WordPress can do is available to you quickly and in the same place on the interface. No need to figure out HTML tags, classes, or remember complicated shortcode syntax. That’s the spirit behind the inserter—the (+) button you’ll see around the editor—which allows you to browse all available content blocks and add them into your post. Plugins and themes are able to register their own, opening up all sort of possibilities for rich editing and publishing.

Go give it a try, you may discover things WordPress can already add into your posts that you didn’t know about. Here’s a short list of what you can currently find there:

  • Text & Headings
  • Images & Videos
  • Galleries
  • Embeds, like YouTube, Tweets, or other WordPress posts.
  • Layout blocks, like Buttons, Hero Images, Separators, etc.
  • And Lists like this one of course 🙂

Visual Editing

A huge benefit of blocks is that you can edit them in place and manipulate your content directly. Instead of having fields for editing things like the source of a quote, or the text of a button, you can directly change the content. Try editing the following quote:

The editor will endeavour to create a new page and post building experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcodes, custom HTML, or “mystery meat” embed discovery.

Matt Mullenweg, 2017

The information corresponding to the source of the quote is a separate text field, similar to captions under images, so the structure of the quote is protected even if you select, modify, or remove the source. It’s always easy to add it back.

Blocks can be anything you need. For instance, you may want to add a subdued quote as part of the composition of your text, or you may prefer to display a giant stylised one. All of these options are available in the inserter.

You can change the amount of columns in your galleries by dragging a slider in the block inspector in the sidebar.

Media Rich

If you combine the new wide and full-wide alignments with galleries, you can create a very media rich layout, very quickly:

Accessibility is important — don’t forget image alt attribute

Sure, the full-wide image can be pretty big. But sometimes the image is worth it.

The above is a gallery with just two images. It’s an easier way to create visually appealing layouts, without having to deal with floats. You can also easily convert the gallery back to individual images again, by using the block switcher.

Any block can opt into these alignments. The embed block has them also, and is responsive out of the box:

You can build any block you like, static or dynamic, decorative or plain. Here’s a pullquote block:

Code is Poetry

The WordPress community

If you want to learn more about how to build additional blocks, or if you are interested in helping with the project, head over to the GitHub repository.


Thanks for testing Gutenberg!

👋

Keep on talking

The other night for me was a very restless night. An old friend has taken his own life and a TV announcer also. I was talking with a family friend also. They’re in the midst of dealing with mental health issues. All the familiar sounding emotional blackmails, treading on fragile glass, doing things to not upset so and so.  A whole lot of going round and round in this turmoil.

I was remembering all these familiar things. How people don’t talk and keep things in.  So many aspects.

“the system has failed them”

Yeah and I’m still angry.

What can we do. Can we stop altering our lives and talk direct , address , confront , stop this emotional blackmail. No I don’t want to change my behaviour any more. I want to say. No that’s not right you can’t blackmail me anymore.

So is part of the solution

take of the kid gloves a bit

help them to talk , push those buttons.

Suicide. It’s so hard .

You might not have noticed but we collaborate a lot here.

It’s a phrase I hear often and then when I have a look or try to notice. I find that folk are very much isolated in their own place.  This is my work , on my desktop so I can get it quickly.

So lets put this in a shared place. Deep deep down in a folder structure that one can’t remember.

I don’t think it matters really. No one is collaborating really.  An item is shoved around as an idea in a document up and down the line. Within the corporate chain.

What is the secret ?  What is the will to collaborate. It starts with a Team yes?

So many years involved in trying to get people to share. It doesn’t work .  I am looking for clues. I see glimpses.

In a medical world you may work as part of a research team and the authors and all the team are acknowledged as part of this paper this work.

This is part of it I think, being noticed, being acknowledged.

Often the case is one person does it. The collaboration is not seen, or even does.

So yes I have not noticed.  I continue to try and get to this.

Occasionally it is close . Shared co authoring reports, a shared site with external parties working on a project.

I think I just keep on hoping that someone notices that I am actually trying to facilitate collboration so it can be noticed.

 

“Yes we do collaboration around here”

Vinyl again….resistance is futile

All I can say is wow. The customer has protested me thinks and has affected the system yet again. This time in a reaction to all the streaming or the stealing or CD’s too easy to copy. Vinyl is making a comeback. I’m resisting still I don’t want to change the record turn it over. My days of pondering the record cover is gone. I can get all the info I need online.

No I don’t want to recreate the collection . When I buy can I please have the option to buy FLAC files.  Can this be another channel to release the music to me.

I have never liked MP3 streaming and the Spotify world of streaming. I have found a haven in radioparadise.com .  Pay for listening by donation . I love it . Lossless files streamed to me and I never know what’s next . Like Radio used to do I hear something I like I go find it.

So from a wee tiny voice let me buy FLAC files if CD’s are dead let me have the choice. I am so loathed to collect large records again.

Let the buyer have choice

What’s the point?

Why this need to mark some space on a blog with an expectation that someone may read it and and get something some meaning.

Or is this just indulgence to scratch something somewhere as a legacy . This is what I managed to gift to the world this ramblings of thoughts.

Or is it more like the name suggests around a log . A log that I can come back to and refer to . Retrieve something back from the past when I thunk that thought.

Is it a place that I can safely scratch out some thoughts that will be safe within my own personal space never to be discovered by anyone.

I remember in 1994 when I got my first PC . 2 GB drive and 32 MB of ram and a 150 Pentium.

”This is gonna make me some money” I boldly announced to the family . It had certainly cost me 3.5 k.

6 years later I began my career in IT and am still figuring out the landscape , the meaning the reasons .

Much like life really trying to find meaning and purpose.

I think I will ever only just scratch the surface …

Perhaps that’s it?