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l'enfer du North Island

  not that i'm sensitive Friday 27 February 2009 link

A while back, when I mentioned that I was getting another tattoo, one of my friends commented that they'd like a tattoo but couldn't think of something meaningful. They'd seen a fair bit of Miami Ink, and commented that they really preferred the tattoos that had a story, had a reason behind them. This is something that I've heard a fair bit.

I think it comes down to a perceived difference between "getting a tattoo" and "being tattooed". The idea of getting a tattoo of a specific image, which has a special significance to you. All the best tattoos have an underlying meaning. "Is it... Minerva?" a Cambridge don once asked Heather, when she saw the owl tattoo on her shoulder.

The corollary of this is that tattoos without meaning are somehow less ... hmm. Less meaningful, I guess. Less important? Less enlightened? Maybe it's OK to have a tattoo of a duck if it connects you back with your grandad who used to raise ducks, but it's dumb if you just happen to like the picture and think it looks good on your arm? I mean, tattoos are clearly a legitimate art form provided you're doing them for a point and aren't one of those dreadful people who hasn't given any introspection to the decision... I'm sure it's not a conscious thought, but I do think it's there in the back of a lot of people's minds.

Personally: who cares about meaning?

None of my tats have any bloody meaning. I briefly experimented with telling people that the spiral on my leg symbolised movement, or was a symbol of life in both Maori and Celtic cultures, but in the end I just started telling people the real reason: I like spirals, and I just asked the guy to draw one on that fitted my leg. All my tattoos have been designed based solely on the basis of the sort of design I like, and where I want to get it put. There's no more meaning than that. I just go on, describe what I want, work with the artist on design and placement, give it the nod, and go for it.

I mean, tats could well have a hidden meaning. A properly done Moko tells your whakapapa (genealogy); who you are and where you came from. And tats could gain meaning as they go. Maybe the design itself isn't significant, but it marked a period in your life, or maybe just the fact that you screwed up the courage to get it done.

Or maybe not. Who cares? If you like the ink, that's enough. Don't worry about getting something "important" or "meaningiful", just worry about getting clean lines and good shading.

Mind you, if you want your meaning to be art, you might want to have a look at this. As part of the Newtown Festival, there's an art exhibit on where 100 people are being tattooed with an outline of New Zealand, with red dots on to mark their turangawaewae. It's an interesting idea, I'll grant them that. I'm just wondering where they've found 100 people who all want to get pretty much the same tattoo as part of an art performance.

Annoyingly, I seem to have lost a bit of ink in the main black fill areas on my shoulder piece. Still, only another three months until I go back in to get the next session done. Next stop, forearm.

Yesterday's Achewood strip is a thing of sweet, sweet joyfulness.

  into the wild with gun and camera Monday 23 February 2009 link

Whoops, completely forgot about the internet blackout. Plus couldn't be bothered logging into the FTP server first thing to upload a black page. So sorry, take it as read that I'm pretty anti the current internet legislation - ta.

Just had a nice weekend in the Wairarapa. Well, I say "weekend", I mean "Friday/Saturday", but it was a pretty nice break anyway. Occasion was our ninth wedding anniversary: love you, dear. We dropped the kids off on Friday morning, having arranged for their nana to pick them up after creche, and took off. The torrential rain didn't help - I clove to an average speed of about 80kph because of the driving rain and excessive amounts of standing water. Let's just say that riding over the Rimutaka Hill Road was particularly hilarious; thankfully, by the time we went over, there were only a couple of minor slips. Well, I say "minor slips", I mean "large boulders in the middle of the southbound lane". Thankfully, we got to the Wairarapa without incident.

I'd not been to Martinborough before. It's a nice wee town, and if you want to move there you're certainly not short of choice of places to live. One house in three seemed to be up for sale. I mean, it seemed cosy enough, and you've got to like a town designed after the Union Jack - why is everyone so keen to get out? My best guess is that it's actually a consequence of the recession, as people unload the family bach/weekend getaway. So if you're looking for one, I suggest you swoop in now.

In fact, the same can be said about Greytown (where 1/3 of the businesses were also for sale, in some cases for quite some time), but not Carterterton. Odd that.

Greytown was a little disconnecting. It's like someone's taken Jackson Street from Petone and stuck it in the middle of farmland. Very nice, but incongruous. Had one thing that a lot of Wellington doesn't - gert big heritage trees. Seriously, you really don't get that many gigantic trees around central Wellington. The botanic gardens, some parts of Tinakori Hill, and that's your lot. So to find some truly gigantic trees knocking around on the main road in a small rural town was a bit odd. Nice though.

Featherston, in contrast, is trying really hard to gentrify, but still has some serious decay on the main street. Some very nice bits, and some falling apart. Based on the main street, not somewhere you'd be falling over yourself to move to in a hurry.

But we had a nice weekend. Some wine tasting, some olive oil tasting, some local heritage, and some good food. A very nice couple of days decompress.

Yesterday was pretty full on. Out of the house at 8am to take Heather to the start of the Bike the Trail, the annual ride of the Hutt River Trail. The kids and I waved her off and then spent a happy couple of hours at various adventure playgrounds, swimming pools, etc. Mission accomplished, we picked H up and headed home. The afternoon was a bit less frantic - only one major mission, a trip to the supermarket. On a Sunday afternoon, with two preschoolers, this is a lot harder than it sounds.

Rebecca starts school in three weeks. Blimey.

  it hurt this time too Wednesday 11 February 2009 link

So monday night, I was quickly popping out the back of the house to pot up a plant. I grabbed the potting mix from the garage, stepped off the decking, and went down like a poleaxed steer. "FUCK!", I screamed, "not again!" Yup, I'd managed to sprain my ankle again. In exactly the same place, doing exactly the same thing. Damnation. This time, I heard a very definite snapping noise as I went down. It seems that I may now have a glass ankle on my left leg. This is more than a bit annoying, and fairly painful. I promptly hobbled inside, got my leg up, and applied ice and compression. Something seems to have worked: two days later I can walk without a limp if I concentrate. I'm still off the bike for the rest of the week, just to be on the safe side, but fingers crossed it seems pretty reasonable so far. So I might have got away a bit lucky.

Still need to pot up that lemon tree, though.

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unspoilt by progress

calm, peaceful, sweary

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