to gather my thoughts when I don’t know what to say

I’m doing a bad thing. I’m sitting in bed with a packet of “fancy” chips that I find spicy, and attempting to become “informed” enough to allocate some ticks and numbers on my voting form. I’m having the best and worst time ever.

The chips are amazing (Bluebird Delisio in sweet chilli relish flavour, by the way) and I’ve just forced myself to stop eating before I finish the whooole packet. But I’m really struggling with everything else at hand.

“Anyone can [run for mayor], it’s democracy yo”, said the boyfriend’s txt. My stupefied response to the Auckland local elections booklet must have been… well fuck, I’m still sitting here blankly. Let me preface this by saying that I’m pretty sure I never have, and never will explicitly express any political views here. I feel like such a bigot but I’m really, really bothered by the selection of people running for mayor. There are seventeen candidates, and only two people who I might even consider voting for. I’m pretty sure I won’t be surprised when the results are announced.

Although some much more than others, the candidates all seem enthusiastic and genuine enough, in the quest for becoming mayor of Auckland City. But that’s the problem for me — it’s Auckland City — it’s the biggest city in this country, and a city which I can say I’m from, when traveling, without having to explain that it’s in New Zealand. (That is, unless I’m visiting my sister’s university in California, where they are convinced that Auckland is Oakland and many aren’t sure where exactly New Zealand is.)

Frankly, the calibre of many candidates are well below the threshold of what I would deem necessary to be the mayor of Auckland City. There are too many candidates whose election platforms and views are simply too narrow to be able to address the wide variety of issues that Auckland encounters. Some of the candidates in the booklet sound like they’re having a good ol’ bitch at the dinner table and just aren’t cut out for the job. It’s already caused so many facebook scandals, but needless to say, one particular candidate will be highly unpopular, as his only plan for the future of Auckland is summed up in his party name Christians Against Abortions.

This sounds picky and shallow, however, I definitely judge candidates on their eloquence, or lack thereof. I’m aware that some candidates may not have attended university, or that they perhaps didn’t study anything that was ‘word-heavy’ — but I’m so dismayed at the amount of grammatical and spelling errors. Someone sounded like an interesting, intriguing person (although one I still wouldn’t vote for), until I read to the bottom and saw that she had used the wrong “practise/practice”. Another candidate just had strange, grandiose views and his introduction read like something I’d expect from an online-dating profile. (Disclaimer: I have never been on an online dating site, thus, emphasis on “expect”.) It said something like: “Name. Aucklander. Age. Area raised in. Blah. Blah. Blah. Unemployed“. I do admire his honesty and ambitions but I can’t help raising an eyebrow at someone whose hypothetical first six weeks as mayor includes: “cease violence/crime”; “full employment”; and “talk multi-millions” in South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and South Africa. Oh, and don’t forget  “early releases” — for what? prisoners?! — and “exercising Auckland dogs”. Sorry, am I missing something here?

Another candidate’s goal is to “reinvent politics” and to “remove 75% of the politicians”. That sounds nice, but maybe we’ll strike him off that list too, in line with his own manifesto. I do like the idea of “online referendums” and “quality two-way communications”, but what do these lofty ideas really mean, on a practical level? Sadly, not all households have internet and/or web-browsing devices, so are these referendums only to be directed at those well off enough to sit in bed with their laptop like my ever-grateful self? I’m also a little miffed that he wishes to “introduce quality education” because, as much as I complain, I believe quality education does exist, although standards fluctuate between teachers, schools, faculties, lecturers, etc.

I got curious enough to visit the website of the candidate with questionable aesthetic judgment. I thought, hey, with a creepy, Edward-Norton-like, one-eyebrow-raised photo, maybe it’s a young dude having a laugh. Nope, he’s 36. Someone else asserting that they’re a “defender of what is obviously and logicallybest for people” makes me nervous. Shall we do away with all pretenses of conducting a democracy?

The point is, I’m astounded and entirely underwhelmed by the options I’m offered. Despite the dismay of the rest of the country, Auckland is the biggest city, and the rise and fall of many things are determined here. Surely there are people more eloquent, qualified, inspiring, sensible, and just all-round better even if only on paper, than the disappointing nine pages I just read?!

Semi-relevantly, why don’t they create some kind of comprehensive survey which determines your detailed political views, with the outcome being that you get offered a list of all the candidates/parties in descending order of how much they agree with your personal views. That would be helpful, especially in the context of many people voting in general elections influenced by party loyalties, rather than actual policies and directions.

I’m glad I got so worked up and needed both hands to type vigorously. I’ve got a lot of chips left.

I didn’t mean to scare you, but I miss you… Catharsis’ burning

I’ve been surprisingly productive today – I finished up the last couple of (major) items for the boy’s early-Christmas present and let him open them extra-extra early. They’re early because I leave New Zealand in a week, but now they’re super early because I didn’t have the patience to wait any longer to give them to him, haha. I also managed to plant some lettuce and tomatoes in the backyard, which, for anyone that knows me, is an amazingly huge feat because I refuse to do any form of gardening since I have terrible hayfever and I’m not fond of gardening anyway. But it’s for the greater good – who doesn’t like fresh salad from the backyard?

The big, exciting, screaming-at-TV event of the day was the fact that the Black Sticks (NZ’s national hockey team) drew with the Netherlands and get to progress through to the medal rounds of the Champions Trophy. Non-hockey fans/followers/players won’t know what the heck I’m on about, but it’s basically a very large and important tournament and it’s being hosted right here in New Zealand at the moment. I ended up watching the game a bit delayed, but I made sure to not have accidentally heard or seen the score beforehand, so the Black Sticks coming back from 3-0 down to draw up even was just incredible. Best stroke I’ve ever seen as well.

In other matters, let’s talk about the Food Channel. I don’t know what it’s like overseas, but I’m sure everyone must know of an equivalent? It’s the channel that I always turn the TV to, whenever I’m leaving the lounge and mum is still in it. I’ve never paid attention to any of the shows before – in fact I usually consciously tune them out because there is just way too much impossible-looking and far too flash sounding food on there – until the other night… I saw the most amazing recipe for a mango cheesecake, topped with a lemon and basil syrup, that I even recorded the darn thing. And then I proceeded to watch the Food Channel for a whole hour between 1-2am just earlier. What is happening to me?! I Next, I dug out mum’s Jamie Oliver cookbook (his first one, the only cookbook I’ve ever used) and actually skim-read through the whole thing and dreamt up all the weird and wonderful times I might have cooking some of the things in it, and for whom and when this may someday happen. In fact, I’m seriously craving some lamb shanks or a good roast pork at the moment. This is so abnormal for me. And I have a feeling the boy’s stomach is about to become a very lucky, well-fed one in the near future.

The other thing I did today was take a ridiculous amount of photos of my affectionately cute and adorable cat. Mum and I were sitting on the couch, about to turn and snap at Flakey to get off the dining table (he obeys because he knows he’s not meant to) when we noticed something was on his nose. Turns out it was a polystyrene ball and we thought it was the most adorable thing ever, so of course we had to whip the camera out. Mum also decided to adorn him with a hat from one of her porcelain dolls… I don’t think he enjoyed it much, and this is a ridiculously image-heavy post, but he is just TOO CUTE.

AM I RIGHT OR AM I RIGHT? He’s cute even when he looks confused and agitated, haha:

Mum took these ones below (and the one of Flakey sleeping, on the right over here):

And Happy Early Birthday, Christine – I know you’re reading this and wishing you had a cat. I hope some smart people got you a cute kitty for your birthday on Friday! (and sorry that I did not…)

Youth in a rude stance, Dancing on the edge of dawn

Little do I need to say more – the All Blacks have finally won the Rugby World Cup (after 24 years!). I think TV3 got it pretty spot on when they said something along the lines of, no, it won’t bring world peace or stop poverty and cure diseases, but for a moment in time it has brought great happiness to this rugby-mad nation… The media and definitely social media has already well-exploited the topics of how well the French played and how nail-bitingly-close the game was (8-7, with the French dominating possession for much of the second half, for those non-rugby-fans reading this), so I shan’t further ramble about it. But I will admit that I ducked under the blanket I was snuggling in on the couch, and said to the boy “nooo I can’t watch this!” when the French team were attempting their last (luckily missed) penalty kick in the game.

The other great thing about the world for me right now is that I’m virtually on summer holiday. I’ve got a piano test that has been re-postponed until tomorrow, but on top of that, all I have left to do is accompany my friend for his assessment tomorrow, and jazz school is officially over for the year. I have a LOT of practising to be doing though.

I’m not at home, so I can’t make a playlist, but I shall leave this post short and sweet with cute pictures:

Bella, one of the cats in the boy’s household. The one I favour (shh)… although she can be quite the snobby little bitch, I think she’s suuuper duper adorable and magnificent most of the time.

Bilbo, the boy’s beloved dog.

And the cutest of all cutes, Flakey! Here’s him on my lap supervising my composing all-nighter that I pulled last week to finish three compositions in one night.

He’s so so so cute.

When I finally convinced him to give my lap a rest and to sleep on my bed instead.

The next morning, still slaving away at my deadline.


And yusss, we just attained tickets for Dan Deacon’s show in February. I don’t understand – why do artists not come and tour here more during November/December, and instead wait for late Jan-Feb-March? Since it’s winter in the northern hemisphere anyway, it’s not like they’re particularly busy touring then? Of course, this is me being ridiculous and saying that musicians aren’t people and don’t need a holiday. Eye roll.

love changes everything, I see my life in daydreams, little scenes of you and me

Winter seemed ridiculously long, yet far too short at the same time. The boy says I keep saying these juxtaposing sentences which makes no sense, but I think that on some levels they do. In the way that whilst I hate the piercing wind giving me head and earaches and making a wreck of my hair, I’ve only worn out my big long coat twice this year. I keep staying up far too late and not focusing on the right things but I’m adamant on posting this playlist before I hit the hay tonight!

And out of humour rather than offense, here’s the highly stereotyped and highly generalised breakdown before the playlist itself – if you like “nice” and what I secretly call “disposable music” then ref to #3 & #6; for those into more electronic-based sounds (see what I meant about highly generalised?), ref to #1, #2, #4, #8 & #9; #5 is a generally what people refer to as “indie rock” and #7 is very, very noisy. In fact I had wanted to post different songs by the band, but figured it was probably too self-indulgent to post such questionable noise which I love. And for the record, #2, #3 & #4 are songs with female vocals.

1. Should Have Taken Acid With You – Neon Indian
The boy and I obsessed over how awesome the first chord of this song was, and I was determined to find The Kills’ song which had the same chord (it’s on “Hit Me When You 1-2”, by the way). We were discussing how apparently this song was initially an apology for a missed acid date, and I said it would have been amazing if I were to one day receive something of the sort in my inbox, but you know, wishful thinking… Although we did devise loose plans for me to teach him the basics of playing guitar. That would be nice. Anecdotes aside, this is just a nice and chilled out song. Sounds like he knew what acid would be in sonic form, haha.

2. Stonefruit – Halou
I can’t get over how the song builds up. How it washes in and out relentlessly. I can listen to this song on repeat for aaaaages, no joke. In fact, I’ve done so many times before.

3. Love You Strongly – Amy Stroup
From whence the title of this entry came. It reminds me of song #6 on this list, that’s why I’ve put them both on. To be honest, I could easily (and I guess I am now) classify this as a disposable pop song by another singer songwriter, because there’s nothing ground-breaking nor particularly innovative in the song at all. But to be fair, I still like it just because it’s sweet. It’ll be forgotten by me soon enough, I won’t deny, but I think it might become one of those songs for when I need a dose of something sickly lovey-dovey. I say damn right love changes everything, it makes me fucking mushy and he knows it.

4. I Follow Rivers – Lykke Li
To those who know what Lykke Li’s music sounds like, you’d know what I mean when I say that this is pretty “Lykke-Li-ish”. There’s two main components that I like about this song. The first being syncopated drum motif that weaves in and out in all the right spaces of the song. The second is the declaratory lyrics and the matter-of-factly manner in which she sings it. Once again, loved up shit.

5. This Heart’s On Fire – Wolf Parade
It was pissing me off that I couldn’t remember the name of the guy who Wolf Parade’s singer’s voice reminds me of… and then a quick google search later, I realised that they’re the same person, d’oh! Major oopsies. Yeah, so I was sitting here going, man they remind me of Handsome Furs (who I actually stopped listening to after I saw them live… long story for next time, perhaps), and then I realised that’s because Dan Boeckner fronts both bands. Idiocy aside, I uhh enjoyed the guitar sounds? That sounds lame. I was going to mostly go on about the vocals, but obviously that was a failure.

6. 3 Rounds and a Sound
It’s just a nice, typical love song with sweet lyrics. And as I mentioned above, I only put this song on this playlist because song #3 sounds reaaaaaaaally, excruciatingly similar. But hey, it’s still sweet?

7. Deadbeat – A Place To Bury Strangers
I really felt like putting A Place To Bury Strangers’ song on here, but my other picks had less recognisable riffs and I thought was probably too noisy for most readers… so I picked something with (not as awesome, dammit!) lyrics, but is kinder to the ear. Bear with me, I love noise noise noiiise. Speaking of which, last Friday the double bass I was playing at uni started feedbacking into the amp and I had NO IDEA how that happened. Twice in a row! I’ve never ever produced bass feedback before in my life, let alone with an acoustic bass that was just plugged in. I know it sounds really backwards that I was so happy that it happened, but bear in mind the context that I’ve been putting up with singers and guitarists causing intolerable feedback for half my life, and I could finally enjoy the luxury of creating such a noise. Plus, it actually sounded good, rather than screeching and deafening. It totally made my day, haha.

8. I Can Get Love – Toro Y Moi
Digging Toro Y Moi’s new EP. It makes me bop and dance around in my room wearing only my boyfriend’s t-shirt. You know those Bonds ads? I totally do that. ALL THE TIME. Those black hipsters are the bessst.

9. Arcade Blues – Neon Indian
After a few more (okay a LOT more) listens, this song has ended up being my favourite song off Neon Indian’s latest album that I had posted about in the last playlist. But unfortunately the site that was streaming the album off has ceased doing so, and this particular song can’t be located anywhere else online. So you might just have to uhh “source it” in order to hear it. But I love love love this song. Not 100% sure why exactly though… it’s just one of those songs that you feel instantly familiar with, even though it’s brand new and you’ve never heard it before. That’s how I feel about it anyway.

As for what shenanigans I got up to on the weekend, it was hockey prizegiving! Which essentially meant trying to not over or under-dress, and definitely entailed getting a bit tipsy. Our captain, Sam, is Irish and had tickets to go see Ireland vs Australia in the pool play of the world cup, but she managed to pop around to our pre-drinks for a couple of photos first. I am SO HAPPY that Ireland beat Australia! (Awaiting the backlash from my Aussie readers now…) It’s going to be interesting to see what happens now because this essentially means that Australia and South Africa are on a collision course in the round after pool play now… Which I’m sure no All Black supporter would mind. And to those who commented on how they didn’t realise that rugby was so popular – well just remember the context that New Zealand is a Commonwealth country, AND we have one of the top rugby teams in the world (hopefully THE top team, soon!) – which for a population of just over 4 million is something to be proud of – and the fact that it’s the most popular sport in the country!

Not to digress further, photos of aforementioned shenanigans below. And also, what the hell but some guy took his pants off on the dancefloor and we saw EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!! It was SO uncalled-for and I thought it was hilarious how several of my team mates commented on how they’re glad they know that they’re “going home to” afterwards, haha. I know it confused the boy for a while because my last txt to him before my phone ran flat was a report of the pant-less incident, and needless to say he was relieved to see me sometime after midnight!


There are 5 people on the team that were absent. Lame.

Awesome snacks that I mostly didn’t touch because I wasn’t hungry, gah.

Nicole (our goalie) digging out the shots that she brought for us, ha!

Vice-Capt Sav grinning in the centre – her new house was super nice.

That’s my hand there with the red nail polish, surprise surprise.

I’m still not a Bailey’s fan. Eck.

Kim’s first ever shot of anything, I’m pretty sure. Girl is crazy.

Me with my trusty Speights beer. Liz our “player’s player” and Kim.

Remember Kevin Bacon? We gave him some beer, haha.

Okay yeah I just got sick of captions. Bedtiime. It’s well overdue.

Boy and girl go down, To the place by the water. Creeping into the afternoon, Young aren’t so young – They’re getting restless

I hope that the nuclear leakage business in Japan due to the earthquake/tsunami doesn’t worsen; and I’m definitely relieved that all our family/friend ties there are all safe and sound as far as we know. I don’t really have the heart to blog about such things, it’s all a bit close to home, considering I was in Tokyo just 12 months ago. Also, being Taiwanese with strong Japanese ties, we hop over there for holidays all the time – like how Kiwis and Aussies holiday on either side of the ditch.

Today started like every other day – despite being a Saturday, I was supposed to wake at a certain time, but of course I ignored my alarm clock and snoozed and snoozed and snooozed. So when I finally, rather abruptly woke up completely, I once again had that huge wave of panic, oh no, what’s the time – how far have I overslept?! Luckily all was well and the boy had txted telling me to take my time. It was only quarter past nine.

We made the long drive out to Takapuna to the Department Store where he bought a very nice Topman blazer and shirt, whilst I pranced around like the distracted mind that I am, touching, smelling, feeling every fabric and fragrance I could get my hands on. I ended up with a nice loot myself (I’ll get to that later, below) and after a bit of “so where are we actually going?”, we managed to find the lovely waterfront cafe that my special lady friend* had taken me for my birthday last year. The single scoop ice cream would have more than sufficed for my taste buds and waistline, but I have an inability to pass up chocolate ice cream (because it’s always soooo good and satisfying!) , so I asked for a scoop of berry sorbet on top of that. The boy certainly didn’t complain nor fake chivalrous refusal at all, every time I offered up some of my ice cream to go with his mango sorbet, haha.

Polaroid taken at the beach. I couldn’t be bothered scanning it in, so took a digital photo of it instead.

So I know we weren’t technically supposed to be out at the beach today, but luckily everything’s fine on the NZ shores and we enjoyed a nice spot of sun by the sea, with views of such clear seawater that it was hard to imagine what’s happening both north and south of us. My mind’s been churning at high gears lately, and it didn’t help that yesterday I skipped a 3-hour percussion workshop to go home on an earlier ferry, and ended up tagging along to the boy’s 4th year Environmental Law lecture. I ended up scribbling down three full pages worth of… well heck I don’t really know nor remember… thoughts of some (definitely illegible and sporadic) description? I know he was curious as to what my mad writing speed recorded in black ink, but even I don’t remember by the second it’s made contact with paper. I have a tendency to do that – write like a mad woman and forget. Forget until I come back at some much later point where I’m calmer, and try and see my previous thoughts through fresher eyes. Unfortunately it’s not that effective in clearing my mind at all, but at least I feel like I’ve written it somewhere as a record that I can refer to and remember later.

On the topic of writing in notebooks, today we checked yet another Paper Plus to see if my favourite notebooks-in-which-to-write-lyrics-poetry-angry-stuff-anything-fake-diary-thingy was still being stocked, and was disappointed to find that it wasn’t. A peek in Borders reminded me of how much I enjoyed scribbling in a pocket soft cover Moleskine during my Californian trip, so I contemplated the larger version in a hardcover… but at $42, we were just not meant to be. $42!!! I stood there thinking perhaps, yes, the collection of my thoughts and creative streaks combined is worth far more than that monetary value, but $42 is just ridiculous for the torture that it will no doubt endure.

This led to an afternoon of browsing all the various Moleskine notebooks online and eventually ordering 3 products off I know, I know, I’ve JUST endorsed them in my last blog post, but considering I just ordered the exact same notebook for the pound equivalent of $21.94NZD, I just can’t help mentioning it again. I just hope it arrives ruddy soon, because after a quick google search, I found out that the Warehouse Stationery stocks the particular line of spiral bound hardcover notebooks that I’ve been using since I was 16. Yikes, that’s just 2 months short of being 4 years. I really, really don’t want to turn 20. Don’t want to cease being a teenager. A lot of people have said I’ll get over it, and pointed out how it makes no difference, etc – but it hasn’t changed the way I feel about my age. I’m scared of growing older – and I’m only 19! Imagine me in a few years’ time, oh my god!


Anyway, back onto the topic of retail therapy indulgence, I walked out of the Department Store with the above make up: lipstick in a “Beguiled” shade, and nail polish in “Airplane”. This is the darkest shade of lipstick that I now own, and I like that it matches my dark cherry shade of OPI nail polish. I don’t know what’s come over me in the past year and a bit. Ever since buying my very first lipstick (a very bold, bright red by Shiseido) for my 7th form ball, my lipstick collection has slowly but surely been expanding. Due to my heavy partying and drunken dancing with some of these babies, though, there’s been a few casualties in the form of a lipstick snapping (Chanel, I wanted to cry, but managed to re-attach it thanks to googling how), some damage done by the lid because a stick wasn’t wound down far enough (Shiseido, sad to say), and one lipstick that I was really mad at myself for losing (aka forgetting on the couch in the hostel) in San Francisco – that one was a (Maquillage x Alexander Wang). I think at this rate I may as well do a lipstick post. Some people have asked me about my makeup before (like that old jewellery post I did), so maaaaybe.

Bargain of the day was an A&F t-shirt in khaki green that I scored for $10, whilst the splurge of the day goes to my Something Else sweater from their new Winter 2011 collection. Apparently it’s only been out a week, and already the one I picked up was the last one on the rack! It was on the expensive side of things, but it’s pretty much what I’ve been looking for since last winter, so I’m over the moon about it regardless. Possible photos soon.

Since I seem to have started a trend of once again posting up my more lyrical/poetic writings in blog posts, here’s one from a few nights ago when I had trouble sleeping at 2.11am:

I’ve been everywhere,
Seen everything
But you’re the only
who stirs jealousy.

We’re living in my bed,
Fucking in my head
The heat’s too much,
Still, I want your touch.

Summer’s been a battleground
Philandering through too many rounds.
But the leaves will fall
We’ll call it  a draw.

Tell me where our lives will lead.

Last thing: I’ve been listening to this song over and over. Go look this band up – The Hundred in the Hands. We were discussing today how they almost sound like what The XX’s 2nd album should sound like, haha:

*Some of you know/refer to her as the “hot redhead” often featured in photos from late nights out; I’ve mentioned said bestie as either Lottie, Char, Charlo, or Charlotte. I should really be more consistent, but I really do call her all those things.