Archive | October 2006

Worm farm

24 October 2006

On some days, nothing succeeds. Everything I painted I had to wipe off because I lost my artistic mojo. When I took a comforting cookie, I bit hard on the inside of my cheek. When I walked to the mirror in tears I discovered the wet laundry has been sitting in the washing machine for 2 days … and in the hallway I found a trail cat litter on the carpet because of a leaking trash bag earlier that day.
Then you can do two things. Or save the rest of the day for tomorrow. Or start buying things. Men often choose to buy a nice stereo. Women choose for clothes. Only if you are 2 victims together, than maybe something more original is resulting.

Eventually we purchased a worm farm. I guess because of the education we got from the Dutch government.
For us it was quite normal already, to separate the waste. New Zealanders were only just begun. We recently got a green and gray wheelie bin and the council still sways with the educational finger on what kind of trash we have to put in which bin.
But we were thoroughly educated already. We threw our kitchen waste in the green bin. Simple. But that was not the intention!!! Because then the green garbage would start to … smell. And the intention is that only the grey garbage stinks.
With the green landfill as well as the grey landfill nothing is done. They are just being there. Because we didn’t understand the goal of it, we separated the waste anyway, but at the same time we were offended that no one was grateful for our effort. In fact; we did something wrong that was not wrong! Even more; the landlady who occasionally makes a kind of inspection around the house, taught us that the inside of the green bin became … dirty. And we had to clean it.
Really? Yes, she was serious.

worm farm

This is only one floor. And … actually they shouldn’t be in our living room.

And so, that day we went to a farm whose owner is much more self-sufficient as we will ever dare, and we bought a big plastic kit and a pound of worms. Fun for all ages, said the sticker on the wrapping.
At home we have put together the worms flat of 3 floors and released the worms into the lowest level. Now every day we throw a little bucket of apple cores and peels into the worm house and fertile soil comes out. In fact the fertile soil is worm-poo.
I’m happy to see my new pets are glad with my waste effort. I even cut the waste in small pieces and try to give them some variation every day.

Stainless steel

20 October 2006

A few days ago I got an email from a gallery owner in Dunedin who was interested in my work. Despite my lesson at Fisher’s gallery I’m incredibly quickly spawn when someone writes nice things about my work, but now I try to stay a little cool, because Dunedin is far away. Like Amsterdam/Marseille …
Of course everything can be sent over by courier, but the control then is a bit difficult. I don’t know anything about this gallery. A lot of galleries over here are more arts & crafts & souvenir stores. Not that there’s anything wrong with that …. :)))
So first I will check out the artists that this gallery has mentioned on the website and find out what are the average prices. It may sound pretentious, but I’m on a certain price level where it doesn’t make sense to exhibit my work on a wrong market place.

Something else:
Because in New Zealand distances are way more serious than in the Netherlands, New Zealanders more often are away from home for a few days. Our neighbor owns 6 chickens, which we occasionally feed when he has to travel. At a later stage our ‘collected chicken-points’ are exchangeable for cat favors.
Lately the neighbour chickens are coming over to our garden daily, for our special attraction. Among the random objects belonging to our rented house is a stainless steel shower base. It is sitting against the fence for ages, partly overgrown, hardly noticed anymore. Now the chickens have discovered this thing and they can see themselves in the shiny steel. Each time this happen they are over the moon of enthusiasm. Every afternoon they are standing in front of this steel shower base overly exited about this phenomenon. Not until dinner time, they jump back home, over the fence one by one. Totally bewildered about what humans are inventing nowadays.
The chicken in the picture was lingering on purpose, so she could have a private talk with her stainless steel sister.

stainless steel

Spring fling

16 Oktober 2006

spring fling, treasure huntEvery year, the ‘classic car club’ organizes a treasure hunt. Considering our integration … of course we had to participate.

At 9:30 AM we went to the local picnic grounds for the breakfast/meeting. Pancakes, hmmm !!!
We watched it for a while and then I wanted to start the treasure hunt. To my dismay the trolley/racing car was the first mission of the puzzle questionnaire!!! That meant I would have to drive the vehicle as well!!! In front of the eyes of hundreds of bloodthirsty New Zealanders!!! For a moment I was considering I could better do the push-job because of my opposite rotating brains, but that would be a too big defeat for Frank. And … he should push on his own, a one man’s job for him, because we lacked the relatives and family members like the other participants. I felt sorry for him, but on the other hand … A Real MAN doesn’t need help!
spring fling, treasure huntThe trail was a bumpy lawn and the tits of all those steering ladies dangerously bounced up and down in the wagon without springs. Which one of us ladies, had expected this when we dressed ourselves this morning! Luckily for me, for this day I had chosen to wear my leather jacket -what is endless cool (read; silly) when it’s 23 degrees- so I was able to zip up all my ‘moving parts’. My fear of the jeering crowd had apparently placed me in a highly concentrated state, because we went awfully fast and flawless. All those locals, who were pushed by 2 men … hah, what a sissies !!!

spring fling, treasure huntOne of the other missions was to do some skateboarding. You need to know that most of the members of a classic car club are over the 60 years of age. We both never had done this before, but Frank wore his favorite pants and they were bought in Alkmaar in a skate shop! So, it was totally logical he was the one who has to do it.

spring fling, treasure huntThe ‘brake test’ had to be done on a ramp; a slanted piece of concrete below the water level where you can get your boat into the water. The game was; You had to drive backwards down the ramp within 25 seconds, dip your rear wheels into the water and quickly drive upwards. Many of these showy cars are low builded, so if their rear wheels were dipped in the water, their exhaust pipes dipped in at the same time. A nice side effect!

spring fling, treasure huntTo grow some team spirit there should be a common enemy. To American car lovers the enemies are the Japanese cars. So one of the tasks was shooting Japs. They had visualised this by bolted emblems of Japanese cars on tree trunks. And voila, your shooting game.

spring fling, treasure huntAt the end of the day the prizes were awarded by our local Miss Whakatane, assisted by her girlfriend. The last one hit enormous mugs of beer and wore a sash with Miss Personality.


8 October 2006

The hotel we have visited last week, is located on a busy main street of Auckland. When we left in the morning and waited at the side of the road for our valet parked car (I told you it was a fancy hotel!) … suddenly there was an impressive and weird silence in the street. All the cars were gone, like a kind of ‘traffic tide’. Along the street I saw a few people carrying flowers and from far away I heard the thin sound of a bagpipe …
“Woohoo, a parade!” we said, eager for a bit of sensation.
A long procession of young people in graduation costume was passing us. You know; those black cloaks with the square hats. And there were hundreds of them! Each school was preceded by a forerunner holding up a name sign. These were not only the graduates from the universities, but all students who had achieved something. I had never seen such a thing in the Netherlands.

At the end of the parade we heard shouting and the audience was on the middle of the street.
“Woohoo, a fight!” we said, eager for a bit of sensation.
I thought there had arisen a quarrel. However, there were 3 Maori boys who did a haka for their successful brother. A haka is no such thing as our Dutch folkloric wooden-shoe-dance. No … at first sight it looks like an aggressive war dance with a bold sounding text. A kind of primal rap. If a haka is ‘bursting out’ somewhere near by, it could scare the hell out of you and it’s truly intimidating. There are several kinds of haka and this was an expression of respect to their brother. You better not disturb them by (nervously) laughing, because it really means something serious here. And the most interesting thing to me is that it is not ‘organized’ to keep alive a certain culture on special days … no, it just belongs in modern life.

By the time young people finally have to face adulthood, they yearn for their first “OE”. That means ‘overseas experience’. To get across the border in New Zealand, you always have to use a airplane. In Europe a teenager can hop over to another country even by using a moped. It’s nothing special and usually these visits are not more than short breaks drown in booze.
But over here people don’t need to leave the country for sunny beaches or snowy Alps. It’s all here. So, the first earned cash of young people is mostly spent on visiting their first foreign country. If possible, at least for a few months (including work) and it’s really something that’s part of their growing up. It seems to me very well for the development of self-confidence and independence.

For example you can see a haka done by students at the funeral of their teacher.