Archive for May, 2009

Shake Your Tree Today

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009


My desktop reflecting my OS X desktop displaying the blog post that prompted this blog post.  This impromptu posting was itself prompted by a tweet by my friend with a messy desk, Ian McKenzie which was itself prompted by idea no.18 in a post by Chase Jarvis.  That’s more than enough prompting for one day.

Holding the world to my ear

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Driving to and from work today, I listened to the latest edition of This American Life, consistently one of the best radio show/podcasts out there.  It was one of their ‘recorded in front of a live audience and beamed to theatres countrywide’ specials.

During his piece on being ‘culturally Catholic’, I was touched by Dan Savage‘s heart-rending tale of having having to tell his mother she was about to die. I lost a close friend in a traffic accident in January and we are praying for another good friend who lies critically ill in hospital as I type, so perhaps I am particularly sensitive at present. That said, having to relay to her the choice of spending perhaps days unconscious on a respirator or maybe a few hours on a forced air mask or otherwise just a few short pain-racked minutes saying goodbye seemed an unbearably awful thing to have to do.

I find podcasts to be a boon – a marvellous way to dull the tedium of a commute and a great way to access worlds, lives and points of view that would otherwise pass me by.  The output of New Zealand’s newspapers, factual television and radio is fairly parochial, usually delightfully so but occasionally, as has been the case this week, in a darkly self-absorbed way. This being the case, internet news sites and podcasts are a great way of accessing what interests me without having to tune out the noise.

As mentioned above, I listen to Chicago Public Radio’s This American Life as it provides great insights into real lives in the U.S.A. and helps to balance the impressions left here by the heavy diet of imported U.S. television.  Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase! provides light relief and entertainment in the form of first-person stories and tales from airline crew.  Laurie Taylor’s Thinking Allowed on BBC Radio 4 delves into research around issuing shaping society today and how people are dealing with them while Simon Morton, on Radio NZ’s This Way Up, looks at things we ‘use and consume’.  Stephen Fry’s Podgrams are an excellent example of the more indepedent podcasts out there and NPR’s Radio Diaries brings us full circle with insights into the daily lives of ordinary folk, albeit with a more historically angled ear.

My choice of listening changes all the time.  Firm favourites remain entrenched on my iPod but others quickly fall from favour and are ruthlessly deleted to make way for new discoveries.

What do you listen to?  Are there any ‘must-have’ podcasts I’m missing out on?  Let me know!

Imogen Heap

Sunday, May 10th, 2009
Imogen Heap

Imogen Heap

During our belated summer holiday, my second eldest introduced me to the music of Imogen Heap.

I had unknowingly heard her as vocal artist on Urban Species’ Blanket but quite how I have failed to find her work before is beyond me.  Comparisons to Dido and Alanis Morisette simply do not get anywhere close to doing justice to Imogen Heap’s voice; Kate Bush, another frequent comparator, is closer but not by much.  Likwise, her wonderfully layered music seems to reference widely; I hear musical hat-tips to Kraftwerk, Thomas Dolby and Moloko to name but three.  Her lyrics have, depending on the track, the inventiveness that you get with Elvis Costello, the cheekiness of XTC, the sense of place of Ian Dury or the haunting quality of Joni Mitchell.

For an idea of just how talented a musician Imogen Heap is, pop over to You Tube and watch the ‘Live at Studio 11 103.1FM’ video of her voice-and-sampler only performance of Just For Now.

Fresh Start

Sunday, May 10th, 2009
Lake Pukaki

Lake Pukaki

‘Found by you’ because I obviously have been – the phrase can be also be found here – and ‘Fresh Start’ because this is the first post of a new blog.  While I have occasionally blogged recipes elsewhere (see links), am active on Flickr and have embraced Twitter, it has been twelve to eighteen months since I last blogged in earnest.  However, in recent months I have felt drawn to begin blogging again but much has changed in my life in recent years and my last long-standing blog no longer seemed a good fit.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to chat with a fellow blogger and all-round nice bloke Dave, the photo-diarist behind the funkypancake phenomenon.  While we have corresponded for years, until he visited last month, we had never met so it was a great chance to talk about blogging, photography and a whole lot more besides.  After mulling things over for another week or so, I have decided to stop mulling and start blogging.

Off to lend my trailer to a friend and make Mother’s Day soup.