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.

I am the heat in an empty room, the cold coming through the walls. Your sofas’ old, but I am new, and there is better on the brew


Now that my uncontainable excitement is out of the way, I am so dead this week. Two playing assessments and three compositions due… and I’m blogging. Because I don’t know what to compose and I’m sitting here listening to a range of both jazz and non-jazz music trying to be musically inspired. I can’t find the right chords… I just. Argh. I know I could be doing some playing practise, but I feel like I need to finish at least ONE song before mid-week.

On a completely different note, something’s always kind of bothered me – the whole “Asians with Western names” issue. What I mean is, since New Zealand has a lot of immigrants, a lot of people just assume that everyone has a “real” name from their home country, and that their English name is on many levels not their “real” name as such. I know that (and know of) a lot of people who moved over here got to pick out their English names before they moved out of Asia – and that’s fair enough. But I get kind of annoyed when people and systems such as the school-roll back at all my schools used to ass-ume that Amanda isn’t really my legal first name. I actually find that kind of disrespectful. Sure, it’s a very viable thing to assume, but assumptions suck (especially incorrect ones, which are often the case), and I just don’t like the undertones of “you don’t really belong in this country/you’re an immigrant“, etc. I know I’m probably just overreacting and a LOT of people don’t mean it that way, but a LOT also do. Just in the way they go dumbstruck with “oh, reaaally” when I clear up my names with them. Social reasons aside, it is soooo frustrating to have to constantly ask people to fiddle with documents for me, because whoever had entered the data to begin with had just assumed that my Chinese name goes in front of Amanda. It’s frustrating also, because I just feel simply undermined – because I know that I always fill out forms with my names the right way around, but people just think, “Oh, she’s Asian, I had better switch her names around so they’re correct”. NO. NO!

For the record, yes I was born in Taiwan, but I was born with both a Chinese and English name (for god sakes, my sister’s “English” name is actually Norwegian, so my parents are obviously well Westernised based on that fact alone), and I’ve lived in New Zealand since I was six, so that’s almost fourteen out of the twenty years of my life! Plus, my dad’s worked for American companies in Taiwan for over twenty years and my mum’s done stints overseas before we were born, so it’s really no surprise they gave both my sister and I names in both languages when we were born. We even went down to Internal Affairs all those years ago when we first moved here and paid some unearthly sum to get a legal document that binds my names in both languages so that I will never have one of those awful mishaps my mum has when she buys a plane ticket under the wrong name and has to produce multiple IDs, haha. Amanda is my legal first name and my Chinese name is my MIDDLE name, and then obviously my surname goes on the end. I think that a huge part of the problem also lies with the Asians who don’t have their names and documents all in line. So they’ll socially be called one name, but the name on all their documents and transcripts are completely different, and it just makes the lives of lecturers and so on, much harder. For example, not to pick on them, but all the other Asians in my year at jazz school are Korean boys. None of their names paper what we call them verbally. Not their fault, but does make life annoying for me when people go “no, but what’s your real name though?” – and might I just add, in the six years I had lived in Taiwan, most of the time I was called by my childhood nickname (that everyone I know in Taiwan still refer to me as these days), rather than my Chinese name anyway, so I honestly find it really hard to even vaguely connect with this “real name” assumption.

The most ironic thing is – Amanda is even on my Taiwanese passport, and people still meddle with my name, ha. Reminds me, I reaally need to renew it.

Here’s a photo I took on the drive down to Rotorua for our trip a while ago and it’s one of my absolute favourites. It looks even more mega authentic on film than it would have on digital because it gives it like a rustic touch. And gotta thank the really shitty film I had to buy when I was out of decent film for a while:

Driving to Rotorua – taken on some crappy nondescript colour film; Nikon F3.

 1. Love Me – Rubber Kiss Goodbye
Just a really chilled out cute song with a really simple but effective bass line. Oh, and I love that chink-chink guitar tone, mmm. This song totally makes me think of being a teenager.

2. I’m Not the One – The Black Keys
I am so jealous that Felisa gets to see them in a few days’ time. Especially since they bloody cancelled out on coming to the Big Day Out this year – which was most annoying because they were the main selling point for me this year, grr! Waiting on their new album. I know bluesy rock gets repetitive and they aren’t known for being poets with their lyrics, but there’s something about their smooth sounding tracks and aptly-put lyrics that makes me such a fan.

3. Fine For Now – Grizzly Bear
I am becoming the Cat Lady and I am not fine. And this song is great, but if I listen to it any longer I may lose whatever illusion of “okay” I have. They’re definitely a band that took a lot to grow on me, but once I got hooked, I listened to them for hours on end. Plus, the guitar in this is amazing. Just go listen to it.

4. Wildfire – SBTRKT
To continue on from my last post, this is also another Laneway artist for next year.
The boy and I have been fairly hooked on the album over the past week and weekend. I was apprehensive at first, but heck. What is it with us and music? It’s like we do music like other couples do movies or whatever. I mean, we do movies too, but only at home. Can you believe that in the two years and three months we’ve known each other, or the almost-nine-months we’ve dated, that we’ve never stepped foot inside a cinema together?

5. Rescue Song (RAC Mix) – Mr. Little Jeans
There was a week or so several months ago when I was totally hooked on this song. I wanted to be rescued. Badly. Her real name’s Monica and her voice is looovely. And she’s cute too, so better not let the boy catch wind of that, cos she’s brunette. Oh wait, I think it’s safe. He doesn’t like her music. I am totally just being a twat, by the way.

6. I Can’t Wait – Twin Shadow
Yet another Twin Shadow song
, I just couldn’t help myself – he’s still on high rotation if not repeat. This song totally reminds me of A-Ha’s “Take On Me”, but I’m not 100% sure since they don’t sound that much alike. I could totally link a more comparable song, but this one was too good to pass up – dad used to make suuuch a big deal about how it was from back when music videos were new haha. Anyway, this song just reminds me of music from decades ago that my dad would listen to.

7. Twin of Myself – Black Moth Super Rainbow
Short (and arguably crappy) but very relatable lyrics. I’m sold.

8. Anywhere Anyone – Dntel
Because sedated sounding electronic songs are very soothing.

9. On the Verge – Terence Blanchard
I am so in love with this song. It was written by Aaron Parks and my god I wish I could write like him. Been listening to his album “Invisible Cinema” on repeat whilst in bed. Amazing brain food.

can’t help myself but count the flaws

It’s the middle of the night and I’m meant to wake up in less than 6 hours, so this is just typical of me, but I have an urge to share and so here goes.

ONE: I wrote this poem last week called “in place of a love letter”, so please go read it and let me know what you think.

TWO: I finally got two rolls of colour films developed yesterday (man that was expensive!) and I’ll start to slowly post them up, but here are two of my favourites:

Sunday Ritual #1 – taken on Kodak UltraMax 400 colour film; self-timer, Nikon F3.

Sunday Ritual #2 – taken on Kodak UltraMax 400 colour film; self-timer, Nikon F3.

THREE: PLAYLIST. The main thing about this playlist is that I will be seeing 7/9 artists below next January at Laneway Festival. So, hell yes, yes please! This is definitely one of my favourite playlists that I’ve made so far, even if I say so myself.

 1. Tyrant Destroyed – Twin Shadow
I love this guy’s music, and more importantly, his lyrics. I sound like such a bitch, but do you know how rare it is to find an artist to have decent music and lyrics? I guess that’s mostly what it takes for a band to be in my “top” list – amazing sound AND lyrics. I’ve been listening to his album on repeat and repeat and repeat. I seriously just can’t stop listening. This is an amazing album opener, so I thought it’d be a good place to start a playlist.

2. Still Life – The Horrors
I’ve already seen The Horrors before, last year, but I know that next year will be better. Last time, I was stuck in the photo pit (chasing these photos, by the way) and so I just didn’t really get the chance to soak them in completely, since I was rushing around the Big Day Out like a madwoman on a tight schedule. Plus, with a new album under their belt this year, I’m curious to see what the mix of their set will be – how much older stuff they’ll play, and if so, which songs. For some reason, this song reminds me of The Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony. It’s a key thing, probably.

3. Asterisk – M83
Was saying to the boy the other day about how I can’t believe I ever fell out with M83. I guess it was during a time of my life where I needed something livelier – less shoegaze, post-rock sounding, I suppose. But obviously I’ve fallen back in love with them, and this will always be one of the top songs for me – it’s such an in-your-face contrast to the rest of this album, I love it. Might want to turn your speakers down if you don’t want a fright though.

4. All Alone – Toro Y Moi
Another song off Toro Y Moi’s latest EP was featured on my last playlist a while back, but I just love this EP too much. I seriously hope that he plays this EP in its entirety when I see him. It’s the perfect getting-tipsy-off-beer-and-dancing song for a summer music festival. Seriously, seriously digging this shit. If anyone comes up to Auckland for it and sees some girl in blue Docs jivin’ to him, that’ll be me.

5. Go Outside – Cults
This link goes to the MTV-made video, so the grand intro isn’t actually part of this song, but the video is just too cute, so watch it! It features Dave Franco (brother of possibly if not my only celebrity/actor-crush-figure, James Franco) and Emma Roberts (an actress in her own right, I suppose – ahem – aka Julia Roberts’ niece). She’s three months older than me, but I swear, she looks so young! Or maybe I just look old. Crap. Anyway, it’s an adorable song as well, and I can’t wait to see Cults either.

6. Broken – Disco Inferno
Definitely not seeing Disco Inferno next year (in case you didn’t know, their first album was released the year I was born), but it’s a nice song nonetheless. And very “Amanda-ish”, as the boy would say.

7. Funeral Day – The Mint Chicks
Sadly The Mint Chicks aren’t about to play together again any time soon (as far as I’m aware), but Kody and Michael have teamed up with Bic Runga to form Opossom who are playing at Laneway, so that shall be an eye-opener, as usual. I got nostalgic whilst driving home with the boy from uni today and put on the Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! album and instantly felt like I was 16 again. All those nights spent quoting the Mint Chicks in txt messages, the high school years of unrequited love, teenage angst, and going along to their shows just to thrash about, and hope like hell that Kody doesn’t fall of the latest stack of PAs or railings that he’s decided to climb. Ahh… good times. By the way, even though it’s 5 years old, I still love this album to death, so if anyone wants to listen to it, the whole thing can be streamed from here.

8. Within and Without – Washed Out
I wonder what on earth Ernest Greene will play at Laneway. I don’t care. He’ll be in the afternoon rather than night – most likely – and hopefully I will be experiencing a nice relaxed buzz with my favourite hand holder tightly holding onto me. I find Washed Out’s real name funny – Ernest Greene just sounds like… such a great blank and neutral sounding pseudonym to publish a book under, if you know what I mean? It’s even more amusing to me because my English students are revising The Importance of Being Ernest for their external Cambridge exams at the moment.

9. Crystalline – Bjork
The drum(machine) breakdown at the end is like an ear orgasm. No, multiple. I just wished that it was drawn out longer, but I guess this way it’s not over done. Ahhhh, why couldn’t I have seen Bjork now rather than all those years ago when she was just a visual and sonic spectacular, rather than something I actively listened to and vaguely understood? Wasted youth, I say. I’d say the same about seeing Sonic Youth as well, if I had just seen them even 6 months later, the experience would be completely different. It’s funny how these things work.

I think that with the best bands and artists, seeing them live always makes me fall in love with the more. Even if I already adore their music already. Now how to become one of them?

Is there anything as quiet as a night alone with you?

OH NO: Half way through writing this post my site went down because the webhost had to reboot the server since it was overloaded. Once that was done, I backed up my database just in case, and then tried to synchronise all my files (to my computer, to backup as well), but I had checked the wrong settings and instead of syncing my computer with my folder online, it did that backwards, so effectively half of my files were DELETED. So I’ve just spent the past two hours restoring all my photos from up until October of last year. SO MUCH FOR GOING TO BED AT 11pm FOR ONCE. What was going to be a nice blog-before-bed experience turned into a nightmare. Oh my goddd. This is what I had written before this all happened though:

This is my umpteenth time being left home alone to fend for myself, but for various hazardous reasons, this time is also going to be the most challenging three weeks ever. Judging by my productive rate of five tasks in seven hours, I don’t know how on earth I’m going to get through October – aka jazz assessments and assignments. The only things of note that I’ve managed to accomplish today are: attend one hours’ jazz piano class at uni (was 7 minutes late, too… which is always helpful), put petrol in my car, did the grocery shopping, scribbled some things down, and most excitingly of all – fussed over the Laneway Festival lineup announcement. I’m not the excitable-hype-hype-HYPE type, so I won’t jump on the band(rambling)wagon right now, but let’s just say I’m very pleased and thoroughly looking forward to it. And no doubt I will post playlists again soon.

I think this is about to become a mini documentation of “how Amanda battles procrastination and juggles domesticity” for the next three weeks, until mum returns. It’s not that I don’t ever do the dishes, put on the laundry, clean the bathroom, cook three meals a day, put out the rubbish, feed the cat, let the cat out at 5am, clean the litter box, vacuum the house, collect the mail and deal with bills – nor does it have anything to do with my abilities to do so – it’s just that usually they’re (okay, rather unevenly) split between mum and I, and suddenly, in the busiest and most stressful three weeks of my whole year, I also have to do all those things, all by myself. Sounding like a spoiled brat aside, I think the biggest hurdle for me in terms of all the things I have to do is that I have to do them alone. Cooking for one just sucks. So does doing the dishes alone, without someone to chat to or share a cup of tea with.

Also, I tend to start going a little mad when I’m left for long periods of time on my own. Even if nothing is actually wrong, my old depressive and anxious spurts just come back to haunt me, if all I have for days on end at home is the cat to talk to. Maybe that’s where the “crazy old cat lady” stereotypes come from – because being alone with only the cat to talk to really doesn’t help with the escalation of madness. Gah.

Needless to say, I was more the overjoyed when the boy decided to bring his studying over for a couple of hours and let me cook him dinner. I’m sort of offering open dinner invitations to friends now, so as to have someone to cook for. I doubt it’ll actually work out too often because I have hockey two nights a week and I tutor on two evenings as well, but what the heck.

To round off such a messed up evening, here is an amazing song by Twin Shadow, who the boy and I are going to see on our almost-one-year-anniversary next January at Lanway. I love the video that this person has dubbed over the song though, it’s scenes from Before Sunrise and Before Sunset – two lovely lovely lovely films that fix so magically, so perfectly. It makes me gush, and I hate gushing, so there we have it. Reminds me that the boy and I need to finish watching them together. Oh memories… of one fine evening’s attempt to watch them, haha.

Click here for the video (the person who made it disabled embedding, gah!)


Lord give me grace and dancing feet, And the power to impress. Tonight make me unstoppable, And I will charm, I will slice, I will dazzle, I will outshine them all

My stomach is restless. My feet are awfully blistered. I’m ridiculously tired… and the cause of all this is because last night I was at the Law ball, which was themed “Cluedo – A Murder Mystery” or something along those lines. I’m far too out of it (and lazy) to string together a coherent blog post at the moment, so I’ll let the very many photos do the talking. After all, pictures are worth a thousand words, and I know it would take me many thousand to commit last night into words, haha.

Shoe box

Shoes from Ruby Boutique

Remember the mystery Ruby bag from this post? This dress is what was inside it!

Makeup-ing photo taken by mum.

Obligatory lounge photos at the boy’s house.

And again.

And again!

JJ’s boyfriend dropped her off at the preball… what a ride to rock up in haha.

Waiting on people to bring the mixers so we can make cocktails.

Ben mixing up Harvey Wall-bangers.

Potent alcohol.

I can’t get over how awesome these glasses were.

Hippy happy, haha.

Candid photo.

Guys’ photo.

Girls’ photo.

JJ and I.

Amelia and I.

Tricia’s far better than me at doing the point-and-shoot thing.

Amelia, Tricia and I.

Shingle Peak Riesling – possibly my favourite wine.

Chocolate-coated strawberries, yummy.


Ben’s house was so nice.

Ben “dead”.

3rd-wheelin’ haha

Ian and Tricia.

In the wayyy.

Taxi van ride to the Pullman Hotel.

The awesome photo booth in the background that we took full advantage of.

The boy and Chris.

Cheap, crap alcohol that were not kind to our stomachs.

The boy’s salmon entree.

My quiche entree – SO DELICIOUS.



Colin and I, like old times.

Double datin’, haha.

Lol @ Ian and Daniel.

Mis-aimed photo, oops.

Tricia and I.

Oh Colin…

The real definition of “boyfriend blazers” haha.

On the ferry going home.

I seriously want to nick off with this jacket… and all the rest of his jackets!


Cos you know, it’s normal to wear shades indoors at something-past-2-in-the-morning.

Mister Fuckyeah.

Spot the dress.

The morning after: me reading his crim law textbook whilst he attempts studying.

Overall a great day/night except for the huge blisters I acquired on my feet and the disastrous effects of cheap alcohol on our stomachs! The only thing I forgot to take pictures of was the dancefloor, dammit!