- Zombie is a virus and you get the virus if you are dead by a zombie.
- When you are a zombie you have to go ‘Muuuaaaaarrrr’.
- Zombies cannot run fast when there are more than one because that is not fair
- Zombies cannot go after midnight
- If you stand very still some zombies cannot see you
- If you just scream the zombies will know and they will get you
- Zombies cannot climb (disputed)
April 7, 2013
Rules of the children’s game ‘Zombie’ as screamed out by my neighbour’s children while I was trying to write
September 17, 2012
Another in an occasional series of noteworthy(?) dreams:
This one started out promisingly enough – with the good old male fantasy in which a plague wipes out most of humanity: I’m the last man left alive, but there are hundreds of women left with whom I need to breed to perpetuate the species.
So the first stage of the dream involved walking the land and rounding up my harem. The dream then veered off into an unsatisfying direction – a discussion with said harem about whether a species in which 50% of the DNA came from one male would contain enough genetic diversity to survive. I was forced to concede that it wouldn’t. ‘So’, my harem members explained to me, ‘We’re under no moral obligation to breed with you to ensure the survival of our species, since it’s doomed anyway.’ Then they walked away.
My memory of the dream is hazy here, but I evidently won some of my harem back, and breeding took place – because the next stage of the dream was a woman giving birth, hemorrhaging and then dying along with the child (there weren’t any medical staff in my post-plague survivors group.) Another woman successfully delivered but gave birth to a baby carrying a genetic mutation, prompting an intense discussion with my harem about whether we had the rights to carry out a eugenics program and kill the child, given the amount of work it would take to raise and care for someone who would be unable to successfully reproduce.
The dream ended before the debate was resolved. I woke up feeling exhausted and emotionally distressed. And cheated.
September 3, 2012
The relationship between wireless networks in a neighborhood (number, names and encryption type) and the socio-economic properties of the neighborhood. (Inspired by seeing an unsecured network called ‘ToddSuxCock’ pop up on my smart-phone while driving past Newlands in the weekend).
August 10, 2012
I think this recent bout of intense dreams are my daughters fault. She wakes up very early, which means Maggie and I go to sleep shortly after finishing dinner in the evening. So I’m digesting when entering REM sleep.
Anyway, last night I dreamed about Yeats’ poem Leda and the Swan. In the dream I discovered that the poem had a hidden meaning – one which revealed a great truth about the nature of existence. But when I tried to tell people about this none of them knew anything about the poem, and when I tried to show it to them in books (anthologies etc) it wasn’t there. The poem had been erased from existence.
I remembered that Yeats had been an occultist, and understood that the poem itself was a magical spell – it concealed a great mystery but if anyone ever solved the mystery the poem would cease to exist.
Normally I have the same ‘forced to go back to high-school but my high-school was also a swimming pool’ dreams that everyone else has.
October 16, 2011
Tempted to call the midwife and pretend baby’s swallowed drain-cleaner, broken glass and a live scorpion, just to test if her advice is still ‘Mum should keep breastfeeding’.
October 13, 2011
Blogging has been non-existent, because a couple of days ago my wife Maggie gave birth to our daughter Sadie, and due to a false positive result on a blood test Sadie spent a few days in the neonatal Intensive Care Unit, even though -as it turned out – she didn’t have anything wrong with her. She should be discharged tomorrow, and blogging should resume, gradually, although due to sleep deprivation it may be even less considered and coherent than usual.
August 13, 2011
It was my 37th birthday yesterday, so I took an annual leave day, went for a long run in the morning, met my boyfriends James and Steve for lunch, then booked myself in for a Thai massage.
As we all know, in a Thai massage they walk up and down your spine and this is very painful but feels great afterwards. And whenever I’ve had this done to me in Thailand you’re in a narrow room with the mattress on the floor, and the girl walks up and down on your back and braces herself against the walls.
But on entering the the massage room at the East Day Spa I observed that the walls were too wide for that, and the table was at waist height, so I assumed – with a little relief – that my masseuse would not walk on me. This turned out to be a false assumption: after I lay face down on the bed she climbed up, stepped onto my sacrum and then, balancing in mid-air, walked along my spine.
While this happened I thought about the thought-processes of my masseuse, and I imagined her having an existential crisis in which she suddenly asked herself what she was doing with her life. ‘How did I get here? Why am I standing on top of a fat middle-aged white man? Where did I go wrong?’ The absurdity of the situation gave me the giggles, which – it turns out – are extremely painful when someone is balancing on your vertebrae. It also upset the careful equilibrium of my masseuse: I could feel her wobbling above me, and I thought: this is how it’s going to end for Danyl. Killed, crippled or vegetablised by a tiny Thai girl in a Thorndon day spa. Inevitable.
August 6, 2011
Another film festival weekend: we’ve made excellent choices this year. So far. This afternoon we watched Project Nim: if you see one documentary about a heartbreaking, disturbing chimpanzee linguistics experiment gone wrong, make it this one.
But we’ve had really terrible seats in every single film. You see, the Embassy and Paramount theatres have two different classes of seats: half of them have great leg room, the other half are really cramped. The good seats and bad seats cost the same amount, so we always book all our tickets early to get the good seats.
But this year – for some unknown reason – we’re exiled to the extreme back of the theatre in the super-cramped seats. An irritation which was compounded today when a friend who went to the same film bought their tickets at the door and got better seats. Better seats for some jerk off the street!
I love the film festival, and I blame Ticketek for this shitty development – but it does remind us that instead of paying $32 to see these films at the festival we could just wait a couple of months and watch them at home on DVD for $5.
July 23, 2011
(Apparently) yesterday was National Poetry day, so belatedly:
In Plimmerton, in Plimmerton,
The little penguins play,
And one dead albatross was found
At Karehana Bay.
In Plimmerton, in Plimmerton,
The seabirds haunt the cave,
And often in the summertime
The penguins ride the wave.
In Plimmerton, in Plimmerton,
The penguins live, they say,
But one dead albatross they found
At Karehana Bay.
Dennis Glover, 1964
I heard this poem when I was very young and it stuck with me, partly because we lived in Karehana Bay; mostly because I mistakenly thought an albatross was a kind of dinosaur and whenever we went to the beach I lived in expectation of seeing my own dead albatross, with intact skeleton, terrible claws and massive fangs.
Reading it again as an adult I’m more intrigued by the seabird haunted cave. This did not exist when I lived in Plimmerton in the 80s and 90s. (Although there were old gun-emplacements on the stretch of beach between Plimmerton and Paramata.) Was it a bit of poetic license on Glover’s part, or did it get filled in sometime during the development of the suburb?
I do remember penguins frequenting the beach when I was very young. Every now and then one would get hit by a car along the esplanade, or killed by a dog, and I remember one schoolmate of mine who lived close to the beach had them nesting underneath her house. After a while these reports stopped. I remember going out for a walk one night when I was a teenager: I came across some friends sitting on the beach, shivering with cold. They’d taken LSD and come down to the sea to ‘play with the penguins’, possibly (my memory is hazy) inspired by this Glover poem. I stayed with them for a while but no penguins appeared.
March 31, 2011
The high court injunction I received a few days ago inspired me to check the statistics page for my blog to try and figure out how many people actually read it, and by happy accident it turned out that I was only a few days away from my two millionth page view which will happen sometime today. This graph shows monthly readership since I started the blog back in mid-2008.
The big trough is my summer sabbatical. Average number of views on a weekday is about 6,000. On weekends it’s much lower. Average visit length is 3.40 minutes.
I do juke the stats. People mostly read blogs when they’re supposed to be working, so I often write a post in the evening to be read first thing in the morning when everyone gets into the office (as I’m doing now). Then in the very early hours of the morning I read the news and write something time delayed to be posted at about 10 AM when people take their coffee breaks. And I’ll generally post something brief at lunchtime. If I haven’t eaten this will be something horrible about one of the news websites. If I’m fed I’m generally more good-natured and less predictable.
For someone who lives in Wellington I am surprisingly out of the loop. I know some journalists, and some press secretaries, and a couple of MPs, but most of my observations are made by observing the process via the media. I’m frequently wrong, but I like to think I’m wrong on my own terms and not through buying into the groupthink that often dominates political classes. I’m also wrong in good faith – I believe all those inaccurate statements and false predictions when I write them. I don’t assert them because I want to deceive my readers, or because I’m paid to promote a certain party or lobby group, which goes to show that my business sense is as poor as my political insight.
My wife Maggie works in the press gallery, and some of my writing incorporates her inside knowledge and the sundry gossip she picks up, but far less so than you might think. If a big story breaks and I call her to find out what’s happening she’ll generally just tell me to stop bothering her, and she often refuses to discuss politics when she gets home from the office, or, if she will talk politics she frequently precedes her commentary with statements like: ‘that thing you posted on your blog today was such bullshit.’ So she is less useful to me than you’d expect.
In philosophical terms I’m what liberal thinkers call a value pluralist: I believe that many of the values our society strives for are in basic conflict with one another, and the best we can achieve at resolving these conflicts is a series of unhappy compromises, beneath which the ground constantly shifts. So I don’t believe in utopia, or the class war. I do believe that in the last thirty years the balance has tipped far too far in the direction of the values prized by the wealthiest and most privileged members of society, which leads to a system that preserves and maximises their wealth and privilege.
I believe that the free market is an excellent solution to problems of value and allocation of scarce resources. I don’t think it has magical powers. It is not moral.
I am now a convert to twitter, and I check it a few times a day and make occasional tweets, so if you like you can click the link in the sidebar and join the scores of spam twitter accounts that started following me after I made a sarcastic comment about Prince William.