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Sunday, 11 February 2007

Rare Recordings

Now that my position as nanny for Baby H (*in my many random blunderings around cyberspace’s entangled root system, I stumbled across the fact that 'Baby H' happens to be the name of a rap singer!) has come to an end, I find myself free. No job. No commitments, no obligations. I have time now to pause for breath, to write, research, ponder and generally potter about. Hopefully at the same time, I’ll be able to clear up both my list of To Dos and some of those pesky loose ends hanging about, like laggardly relatives that have overstayed their welcome.
It was certainly sad to say good-bye to the wee baby boy - with the unerring heat-seeking instincts of every cute lil critter, his aim for my heart was a direct hit.
His parents are keen for me to come visit, to see him again and regard his progress. I realise I haven’t even got a photo of His Cuteness, which is probably one more reason to get myself a digital camera.
Digital cameras somehow facilitate visual recording more so than the (now) old, more cumbersome style of photo-taking. I guess it’s the digital cameras' immediacy. So much so, that a whole lot more visual recording is now being done. ABM reckons it’s to the detriment of any full immersion into the event being recorded - the photographers are often so busy focusing on the job of recording, it disables their capacity for full attention. Maybe so.

Just yesterday, for example, we were at a 60th birthday party and when it came time for D to cut the cake, suddenly there appeared in front of her about five people armed with digital cameras - like a small swarm of paparazzi. Something about it seemed surreal. The fact that those using the digital cameras were all over 60 years of age may have had something to do with it. Grey-haired, wrinkly paparazzi seems wrong. Like a list of ‘Things That Are Just Wrong’ that I saw somewhere on another of my inter-galactic (oops sorry, cyberspace-ic should I say?) rambles. I remember one of the things on that list was: ‘An elderly woman text-ing on a mobile’. Somehow it just looks wrong.

Back to Baby H ... he is now going to go to a Nursery. His special carer there is about my age, with a name from the same era as my name and who happens to be a bit of a clone of myself - short, fair-haired and with a ... shall we say, matronly figure?
“He’ll hardly notice the difference," Baby H’s father said. (Humph!)

C&N - Baby H’s parents - gave me two books as a ‘good-bye and thank you’ present. Two NZ books - one by Jackie Ballantyne called ’How to Stop A Heart from Beating'. It looks good- very good. It's about a child's perspective of life on a South Otago dairy farm in 1961. I am interested in reading this book because it's set in an era I'm fascinated with myself. An era I've found myself writing about more and more these days.
The other book, called ‘From The Writer's Notebook; Around New Zealand With 80 Authors' is written by Lydia Monin. It's about famous writers who have visited New Zealand in the past hundred years, and what their impressions of us were. Which smacks of NZ’s tiny-country paranoia about not being liked or appreciated by ‘those who matter’ ‘Those who matter’ being anyone from beyond the outer rim - from the Real World - from the Big Brother pool of countries, such as Europe and America . When will we, as a country, stop worrying about what others think of us?
Another book which arrived in the mail this weekend and which has been added to my 'To Read Pile', is Patry’s book, ‘The Liar’s Diary’. I opened it today for a sneak preview. I even, like the bibliophile I am, smelt the pages. Suffice to say my appetite has been whetted: the book actually smells rather yummy!

I listened to a Hank Williams Jnr cd this afternoon (and because I was the only one home, played it extra loud) as well as a Jim Croche cd and a Patsy Cline. I was in the mood for some music that reminded me of the kitchens of my childhood. It certainly did the trick. Suddenly, just like that, there was the shiny linoleum floor, the yellow-gingham curtains, the coal range, the hearth-rug, the hearth-board speckled with burn-marks from spitting sparks ...

Remaining with the theme of recorded nostalgia, today I put up on the wall in my writing room, some scans I did of b&w photos from 1966 ... I look up from the screen as I write now - and in just that spot my gaze lands on when my meandering mind hits a pothole - there it is, the holiday photo of my parents, brothers and sisters* the littlest one is my sister McD who some of you may have noticed, is in the habit of leaving cheeky comments on my blog! standing on the Capburn bridge, all looking at me the photographer - aged thirteen - as if to say, ‘just get on with it why don't you?’. No doubt I was ordering them about, trying to get the perfect shot, asking them to stand closer, or more to the left ... There are eight of them in frame - half of them are smiling ‘at’ me and the other half have an uncertain search to their gaze - as if they suspect I don't know what the heck I’m doing. I often get that dubious look from people. Does she even know what she’s doing? (Of course more often than not, I don’t. It’s that air of uncertainty that goes with blonde hair.) It was a photo that turned out a bit blurry - thus proving my family right. However, with Photoshop I've managed to bring it a little more into focus. It’s still an unclear photo, but for all its imperfection, it has the ultimate power to snap me back into that day faster than any fancy time-travel invention ever could.

In late January, the 500th albatross chick was hatched at the Taiaroa Head's albatross breeding colony. Here is the website - I hope the web cam is working ... it wasn’t last time I checked. It is an amazing experience to see one of an albatross soaring, and out at Taiaroa Head (only twenty minutes from the centre of the city) it’s possible to see these gigantic birds with their comical grins, arriving back from journeys out to sea for food; or, even more exciting, returning from months away (or in the case of adolescent birds, years away) circumnavigating the southern hemisphere.

It is all very wondrous. They are truly awesome birds.
Check out these links. I promise you're in for a treat. Two amazing flowers. The Campbell Island daisy - or blue sunflower - pluerophyllum speciosum . And the Mount Cook lily. Both rare plants, both daisies (despite the Mount Cook being called lily - it's really a daisy.) I happen to like daisies. If I had to choose one flower as my favourite, I’d have to choose the humble lawn daisy.

I laud these two species of daisy because they not only survive but thrive in adverse conditions. Mountains and subantarctic islands; two harsh environments. Two plants, rare and hardy. An admirable combination of traits.


wendy said...

Baby H will always remember your smell. Your unique-ness.

Even when I was A "Pro" photographer, my family..other than my kid...hated me to take pictures..I fiddled to much.

Huge chunks of time, with no pics of me...i was always behind the camera.

Oh, and I disagree with the wrinkled paparattzi.. I find it rather charming.

Kamsin said...

Your image of an elderly lady texting on a mobile reminded me of the sight of little old Japanese ladies fully decked out in kimono's with a mobile phone neatly tucked into the obi (the belt)!

Catherine said...

I guess I'm close to the age where I will be an elderly lady texting on a mobile! Though my hair is a lot less grey than some my age.
I thought the job was going to be longer term than that. did their plans change? I hope this means you will have more time for blogging, so we get to read more of your writing.

chiefbiscuit said...

wendy - Wrinklies rule!!!!!!

kamsin - As above! ;)

catherine - I think the Baby Boomers are going to be the future grey-haired text-ing brigade - except the young ones will be on to something else by then, so it will all look quite appropriate.
Yes the expectation was a longer time with Baby H, but always a slight chance not - it's expensive for parents to have the luxury of a nanny ... But I'm happy to be a free agent again - back to being a reliever ... I'm happy. As you say more time to write. :)

Kake said...

Yay, more chiefbiscuit posts!
I really like your description of the family portrait -- the invisible photographer is like the story's protagonist.
I dunno if you'd be interested, but a few of the ideas that you and ABM talk about also crop up in a book called Reading the Visual (co-authored by Tony Shirato).
I have a very clear image of the grey-haired paparrazzi crowding around the cake cutter. It's kind of neat -- your prose photograph has recorded the group act of recording in an essay about records.

chiefbiscuit said...

kake - Thank you so much for the insights - I always value your sharp eye and thoughtful responses. I am keen to look up that book you mentioned - it may be in the library you think?

mcdinzie said...

I dont have any memorie of this occasion....but memories of seeing this pic a lot....but you know I dont have a copy....hint hint!!!

Do you see my fascination of the camera in your expert hands.....must have been the prelude to enjoying digital cameras now :)

And its true get behind a camera and you are after the shot and not soaking in the is however my form of art :)

Just how many picture do you have scanned that I need copies of :)

oh and I'm not always cheeky...however I have been known to be sarcastic as the words "sarcasim is the lowest form of wit" :)

I think my note is telling me I need to write an entry....since this is nearly as long as one!!

chiefbiscuit said...

mcd - I hear you Lil Sis! I have hard copies here for you - but of course! I can email them to you can't I? I am a little slow at times ... (Now just stop that. Right there!)
I will post them to you now.
And btw yes I appreciate your art form ... really I do!
I like the expression in your face - as you say - it could be interpreted as futuristic. That gives me an idea ...

dinzie said...

at the Gartner IT conference I attended a few months back we were all described as "Digital Immigrants". Not born into the digital age but have accepted/adopted/absorbed it at one level or another. The only true "Digital natives are those at school now ... where the digital age has been there lives from day one ...where none of it is new and where they only want to be "connected" much like the matrix ... :O)

You must get a digital camera..

Why is using a digital camera any different to the users of traditional cameras as to their immersion to the event being different ? nothing new there just faster and more versitile..

chiefbiscuit said...

dinzie - That's interesting. It was just that there were so many MORE (hence paparazzi) taking photos than there would've been otherwise - which goes back to the easier, versatile etc. I am positive that a WHOLE WHOLE lot more photo-taking (visual recording)- You Tube comes into this as well - is happening now than ever before - positive. I think it may even take over from the written word - that an event won't be verified in peoples' minds unless it has a picture to go with it. (I hope imaginative fiction or poetry isn't going to soon require pictures as well!) A bit like TV news - it's not news if it hasn't got pictures. Welcome to the future I guess: change with the times or calcify!

Remiman said...

I came, I read, I enjoyed.

GeL (emerald eyes) said...

(Smiling at rel's comment above,too... so apt!)

Well, dear ChiefB,
Your posts from writing alone capture my interest. Those delicious aka "yummy" (I do Sun Scribblings, too), links are so enticing that it's a good thing I have you in my feeds so I can return to nourish my brain more.

I adore meaty posts like this, espcially with the added personal touch of that photo of you!
Best wishes for a wonderful Valentine's Day.

chiefbiscuit said...

rel _ Thanks - I appreciate your visits!

gel - Thanks so much for your kind words. You too have a Happy Valentine's Day.

Anonymous said...

Hello Kay, I have just come across your Blog where you have mentioned the 500th chick that was
born at Taiaroa Heads. I am not sure if you already know but he is called Toroa and his band colors are LOG lime, orange, green. He is the Grandson of Grandma who was the oldest Albatross 61/2 at the colony.
Toroa's Dad (I do not know his band colors) is Button, Grandma's last chick before she disappeared. Button was looked after by his Dad and the Rangers before he fledged.
We are now watching an Albatross chick named Moana who will fledge in the next coming days or in a week or so.


'how this all harbours light'