it’s been at least another year, and I still haven’t got the chance to say

Disappearing from my blog because, oh you know, real life is so much more… I simply have far too many adjectives to insert here that I’d better just quit while I’m ahead. I’ve had an absolutely splendid first three-quarters of this two-week “study break” (aka two weeks off in the middle of a 12-week semester in order to catch up on what I like to call the 3 S’s – anyone want to stab a guess at what they are?) but now it’s all downhill from here since I’m having to face three assignments that I’ve conveniently avoided until now. The main thing that I’ve spent the past few days on has been hand-making and writing out almost fifty invitations for my 21st birthday party. Although turning 21 isn’t all that “special” in terms of what you get to do here in NZ since the drinking age has been at 18 for quite a few years now, it is still considered a milestone birthday where people tend to throw big parties that involve speeches. So, being the super-sentimental person that I am, of course that’s exactly what I’m doing, except that planning it has proven to be rather time and energy-consuming.

I’m not sure if it’s craziness or just my refusal to let facebook take over the my world, but I didn’t want my birthday invitation to just be a mass message put on the internet where people are bombarded by events everyday, and nothing ever feels personal anymore. On top of that, I want to make my birthday nice in the underrated and undervalued sense of the word, and for it to not become just another blur in everyone’s memories of this years’ batch of 21st birthday parties. Because by the time you’ve been to three or four weekends of 21st birthday parties in a row… unfortunately they do begin to blur. So in typical Amanda fashion of all-or-nothing, I made them all myself, only employing mum’s help for some advice, and asking her to ship the cards into the next room for me because I ran out of floor space! I’ve still got the majority of them sitting behind me on my bed though… need to deliver them all ASAP!

Here’s some pictures of the lengthy process. Luckily the only purchase I had to make in contribution to these invitations were ribbons, since mum magically has all the art supplies I needed! I made them by cutting up large watercolour paper into quarters. Painted. Textured. Folded with two ribbons tied on and hand drew a double bass design that I had made into a stencil. Then I wrote, signed and sealed them in wax.

This whole process of planning and inviting people to my 21st has also inspired me to catch up with a lot of old friends that I’ve not had the chance to see in far too long. It’s definitely been a colourful couple of weeks, and on Saturday I had a mini-drinks thing at Daniel’s house where Cara fed us all too much cheese and salami. Definitely not a complaint though! And despite the assignment deadlines, the boy and I have made some lovely plans for the next couple of days/nights; and tomorrow night dad is uploading to dropbox my film scans for the b/w rolls he’s gotten developed in Taiwan for me, so I can’t wait to see those either!

won’t you be my dictionary, won’t you translate fun into something necessary – inter uni sun. won’t you be my dictionary, can’t I be very necessary?

Trying to be realistic about time management is not going well at the moment. I’m trying to do my readings but all I’d rather do is blog. I have a couple of ideas and tangents I’ve been wanting to blog about for quite some time, but I just don’t have the time to do it right now, because it needs effort in order to sound coherent. It’s about the idea of “average”. But I shan’t dwell on it now.

This week’s felt so long and it’s only Tuesday night – how will I make it to Friday? And next Friday? Well that’s three tests, two assignments and a recital’s time away. Prioritising uni work is something I’ve never been good at, so I’m still attempting to make it work out. How is one supposed to resist the pull of the internet and self expression at large? The other night instead of sleeping I started writing and writing poetry, until I fell asleep with it in my hands. Then I continued to write later that day, between classes; observations, theories I’ve been wondering about, ideas, more ideas. And all the while I felt guilty because I wasn’t writing something more academic instead. So what have I done since? I left my special writing-notebook at home. It’s like self torture!

Taken on Ilford HP5 Plus 400 B/W film; Nikon F3.

I also have a huuge urge to take more rolls of black and white film, of undisclosed subjects, but I’ve still got about ten exposures left in my camera on a roll of colour reversal film, argh. I’ve got other film slr’s that I can use, but I’m very attached to my Nikon and the Contax RTS is a hefty mean machine that needs lots of batteries for some reason. Also, posting this photo finally makes me want to write about all of our December/January travels overseas – but now that I finally feel ready to do it, I don’t have time! It will be Easter break by next Friday though, so hopefully the written journey will begin there. Until then… I guess I shan’t really get to quench my thirst of multi-dimensional self expression, since I am trying for the first time in my life to achieve very specific grades. Grades. I hate that. I’ve never tried before. What happens if I psych myself out? Wish me luck.

Something I read on Julia’s blog that rang too true for me:

“Being unnoticed, and being watched,
both frighten me.”

Just set aside your fears of life, with the sole desire

I don’t know where my mind is. At all. In the past two weeks of freedom, I have started three draft blog posts (none of which saw the light of day), finished reading Atlas Shrugged, Less Than Zero and Snuff, and painted my new-2nd-hand dressing table which I bought off a friend last month. So here are the photos that have been requested both irl, via txt, email and twitter. It was a 2-day effort, especially since I only started painting it late in the afternoon of both days. And although it wasn’t what I had in mind to start with (I’d initially intended to do crackled gold over the top… but that didn’t work out at all), I think it looks pretty alright. I must say, the final product looks much better in person. Especially since I took those pictures at like 2am when I was finally, exhausted, but delighted to be done with painting textured gold:

Post-exam/assessments state = mess mess mess!

Green base

Using gold powder which is apparently older than I am, rather than the gold acrylics I had intended on using… because it turned out a shit shade (literally) when painted on. This caused a huge detour in repainting the top and a drawer, and general mayhem.

Flakeypie sleeping on my clothes as I paint.

Finished product. It looks funny with flash, but otherwise the gold doesn’t show up. It’s a lot softer looking in person. Eck, anyway. Not amazing, but better than boring cream.

I think I’ve just been really quiet on this blog ever since I’ve been on holiday because I’ve been having trouble with figuring out where I am. Existential problems of a twenty year old. If I don’t change my mind between now and clicking Publish, I will get up and rip a few things off my bedroom walls. November’s a new month. It’s not clogged by university stress or deadlines or pressure to catch a certain ferry in the morning… Summer’s a new season. I need to get onto this wave of “newness” and ride it out for as long as I can – as far as I can. Away from this current spot. This mindset.

I just feel like decisions are harder to make everyday, every year, because the older you get, but more important these decisions tend to be. Back at age 16, whether or not I wanted a summer job, or which jobs I might like to apply for only affected how many movies and concerts I could go to. This very day, a year ago, I had landed at LAX with a bag and plans full of a lot of nothing, and a mind full things I wanted to dump and acquire. Those twenty days changed me a lot. But having said that, I’m changing a lot, all the time. Although my whole life, I’ve always been the kind of person that “changes a lot” and constantly feel like I am, or must be, in a state of motion. A state of momentum, be it pulling me forwards or often times, even backwards… but I always had to be moving… changing. And so right now, when I find myself so idle – right at the end of a period of great motion and turmoil, and on the brink of another such period… what do I do? I want the next twenty days to count – as much as those same twenty days had counted for me, last year. As if not so much, at least, I want them to have meant something. I don’t the next three, four months of summer to turn into a dull, smooth blur, like what the sea appears to be, whilst a dangerously powerful rip lurks beneath the surface. Because that’s what I’m like.

The periods where I am just “alright” are possibly a million times worse than those periods where I experience the whole range of emotional extremes. I’ve contemplated getting medicated as a trial, maybe for a couple of weeks, now that grades and creativity aren’t things I HAVE TO be stressed about… but at the same time I also think that that would be copping out. That it would ruin the past year and a half of resumed talk-therapy and trying really hard to set right the bad mold I’ve been pressed into. Most of all, I think the biggest thing I need to overcome is this need to apologise for everything – to apologise for the way I am, and the things I do, and how I do them. And having to feel like I have to earn things. That I have to earn people’s love, attention, and earn the feeling of deserving any good thing that ever happens to me. This is a messed up topic, most especially because I haven’t put any of this into context, I know, but that would require like an entire autobiography of the past fifteen years, and this blog might explode, ha. But hmm. I can’t believe I just typed all that and not deleted it all. Fuck it. I’m sick of having to censor out the bad things because I don’t want to get too personal, or because I still struggle with anonymity and privacy issues. I’ll share what I want to share.

Anyway, the point is – I’m going to – I’ve got to keep reading like I’ve been doing this week, keep attempting to write, keep clicking the shutter… and heal my hands so that I can play the bass. I had a bit of a dumb accident with my left thumb last night and I feel like I’ve either lightly sprained it, or at least really pissed off a ligament or something, because it hurts like a bitch, and I can feel pain even when I’m not moving it. And then when cutting my nails just before, my right index nail split from the flesh way too deeply and it stings stings stings! So there goes my pivoting finger (left thumb, on the double bass), and one of my playing fingers (right index). Great. So much for working on my chops.

In 14 hours the boy will be exiting his last exam of the year and I can’t wait. Following that we have dinner plans, and we are also going to the cinema together for the first time ever. This has been the source of much heated conversation though. I used to think it was awesome because we’re such an interesting couple that we don’t have to resort to cliche coupley activities. Eye roll. But other factors came in and I got angry and what do you know, I blew the lid off things, as usual. Nonetheless, it will be great and then three sleeps from now we will be seeing Portishead together and I shall cry in public out of sheer happiness and the plan of making these twenty days count will totally be working out. Yup, that’s the plan. Playlist to come! Happy posts to come!

In the meantime, here’s a recent live video of a beautiful, tear-drawing song by Portishead – one of my favourites – and I’m quite positive that it will be played on Thursday night because I’ve been stalking their tour set lists online, and it’s been a staple. Oh god. How will I remain upright when I experience them for myself…

You don’t own the green pines, The blue sky, or the smoke. You don’t own the dust in your Big brown eyes when you keep them closed

I’m just itching to make another playlist right now, but I really should go and cook dinner. I’ve been indulging in lounging around far too much and pretending to myself that these two weeks are an actual holiday when they aren’t… I really need to get started on the two tests I have next week, as well as memorising the 40 songs I will need to know in 7 weeks’ time. Damn. In the meantime, it seems the whole country is either in a buzz (or downbuzz) over the fact that the Rugby World Cup starts in just FOUR DAYS, and we are hosting it. I used to follow the rugby avidly, but after so so sooo many disappointments (mostly at previous World Cups), I’ve sort of given up hope. I don’t want to over anticipate it this year only to be disappointed again – so I’m hoping my keeping a low profile in my head when it comes to rugby will make us winning it this year that much sweeter. Here’s to hoping…

The boy accompanied me on a large excursion around town the other day. I had an appointment on the North Shore, which prompted us to pay The Department Store a visit, where the boy ended up buying this Vanishing Elephant coat for a very good sale price – and it’s so super nice that I rather want to steal it. Speaking of stealing his jackets though, I’ve discerned that I can pull off wearing pretty much all of his jackets. Now the tricky thing is to con him into actually letting me wearing them outside of his bedroom, hmm.

The weather was amazing. I’m not usually a sunny-day person, but who can complain about this?

I thought this photo was funny because usually it’s me wearing a silly grin whilst he has a weird almost-smile thing going on – but it’s reversed here, haha.

Anyway, the exciting thing about our wander around several central spots in town was that I’ve finally picked out something amazing that I’m going to wear in just under a month’s time. It cost me an arm and a leg, but I think it was well worth it considering what a timeless piece it will be, and that I might even contemplate wearing it to my 21st birthday party next year – that’s how amazing I think it is. It even came in pretty packaging too:

Mystery item, haha.

And lastly, I started this painting about three months ago, but hadn’t touched it until yesterday. It was a whole lot of textured black and white until now… It’s still far from finished, and I know the owl isn’t 100% realistic or anything (I was not about to attempt that), but I have a whole heap of work left to do on it that will hopefully make the whole thing a lot more abstract and layered – which is pretty much my kind of thing to do. Also, the poor cat has been in a buster collar for the first time in his life because his leg is still infected from a cat bite that happened a while back. It had only healed on the outside last time and started bleeding again, so the vet had to give him an anti biotic shot, and I’ve had to clean the wound twice a day, as well as stop the scab from healing up too quickly. A rather cringey and painful task for both him and I. Physically painful for him, and heartily painful for me.

Oh, say say say – “Wait, they don’t love you like i love you”

Words that I would absolutely die if I heard, yet feel like I will definitely die if I don’t. The lacklustre blogging is because uni and life have had a hold on me this past week, and with the entire family back together again, life will surely preoccupy me for the next week to come also. Dad’s back for the week as of earlier this evening. Picked him up from the airport and then took him out to dinner. Brought the boy with me, and so the “big two” men of my life met. Scarily so.

Taken on Ilford HP5 Plus 400 B/W film; Nikon F3. A photo I had used in the exhibition.

Call me sentimental, but honestly, I’m only blogging in the middle of the night because I wanted to post this playlist. It’s important to me. Close to heart. Far too dear. I would cry to every song if left alone on my own with this playlist… or even if I wasn’t alone. The amount of times I have. Over the person this playlist represents.

For the two years apart, six months together and an infinite more. Six songs for the past and one for the very endearing right now:

1. Bluish – Animal Collective
First night, first band he introduced me to. From one of the best albums of that year (2009), a very fitting song with very fitting lyrics.

2. Roads – Portishead
From an unforgettable night with this unforgettable album. I also wrote about “Mysterons” from Portishead’s album, Dummy, here. Everything about this so is just so subtle, so powerful… just so.

3. Ion Square – Bloc Party
“The perfect modern love song” – We dissected this song’s lyrics to smithereens, and who could blame us? The words are just so beautifully, powerfully written and described how we were for such a short while. A short while that has frozen itself for eternity in my memory. In an otherwise-forgotten song from an otherwise-dismissed album, we found Kele’s words which I wish were mine. Lyrics can be found here at their band website.

4. Y Control – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
From one of my all-time favourite albums, by one of my timelessly favourite bands. An unbearable reminder. Also the name of the epically long playlist I made last year which prompted me to start writing again.

5. Blush – The Raveonettes
I told him to listen to this song because I loved it. I told him I loved this song because I love the band. I knew he would listen to this song because I said so. And this song said everything I couldn’t. The most honest juxtaposition made with noisy, noisy guitar and such soft, realistic lyrics.

6. In Particular – Blonde Redhead
On repeat in his room, after two very mind-sucking(ly good, one of them was) movies. Then live at Laneway festival precisely six months ago, today. This band proves that former jazz students can write and play other genres too. And very well at that.

7. Overcome – Tricky
All the nights spent sleeping to this song on a previous playlist… for the times spent reading in his bed, to time spent “dancing” to this song. It’s a bloody good album opener, I’ll say that much. And very sexy too.

Seven months ago I was the commitment-phobe that found peace and company by means of globe-trotting. Now I’d still like to keep doing so… just perhaps not so alone. It’s scary, I’m a completely different person now than I was one, two, three, six months ago.

So maybe the point is that nowadays, I plan for tomorrow morning, tomorrow evening… I think about the upcoming “next week”s, I plot a while ahead. I can finally see that “ahead” even exists at all. That I don’t have to be like everything I’ve been taught through nurture (torture), and that some people don’t give up on me just because I pretend I want them to.

” And I am certain that I love you, more than I am certain that I like myself. “