Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hamilton is a dump too!

O Hamilton my Hamilton!

We went to the lake front playground, where some of my fondest memories are set. When we parked and got out, my heart broke. What a run down, soul destroying place. There are three playgrounds, now, all separate. One of them seemed to be the weekend project of some DIY hack. There were plywood panels bolted to parts of the climbing areas. The metal was worn and rusted, the rubber matting underneath was cracked and ripped.

The grass was long. The toilets smelled icky from fifty feet away. The rubbish bins were overflowing. There is what appears to be a construction site there, but it looks as if the contractors gave up and left three months ago.

The steam train is still there but gone is what felt like the longest slide in the world.

It has to be said that the clientelle has deteriorated considerably. Now, it feels like an unsafe place, with dirty little thugs skateboarding, spitting all over the place and seething with contempt for anyone who gets in their way. Perhaps their iwi now owns the land and we are nothing but intruders.

The drinking fountain was clogged up with rotting water.

The play equipment was tired and colourless. There is what looks like a thick plaited rope which is supposed to be a swing.

I could go on. I probably shouldn't.

I loved that place. I love the memories I have of it. I guess like so many other things those memories will have to remain as they are, isolated in time.

Silly me to think that my past could be revisited. I am rooted in my past, but as the things of my past disintegrate little pieces of me are chipped away, too, until perhaps I will become as desolate and meaningless as the once beautiful snippets of my previous existences.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wellington is a dump!

Wellington is a dump! 460,000 people can be wrong. What a hole.

The streets are narrow and windy. They meander directionlessly through wild scrub and forest. They have paved mountain-goat tracks, slapped small roundabouts on them, and called them roads. People park on the side of the road. Their cars have side-swipe marks along the panels. The roads are so steep most gearboxes can't handle them. And did I mention how narrow they were?

The malls suck! Both of them. Actually, one more we didn't visit. Christchurch has five malls. All but one are wide open, spread out affairs with ample parking (well, mostly) and lots of shops. The malls in Wellington are crap. Mall developers in Wellington forgot that people drive cars to malls and need somewhere to leave their car while shopping. Hello!

Porirua. Scary. Talk about run down. Claustrophobic. It's heard to describe it withour breaking several race relations regulations. But it reminded me of growing up on The Block.

I remember thinking when I was younger that Wellington looked like a dump. I didn't visit this place until about 1995. That was an overnighter, and the lasting memory was a depressing place down town where we ate lunch.

I can't stand how you can be driving on the motorway, in the middle of Wellington, and be completely surrounded by bush, hills, and scrub with not a house or building in sight.

I can't believe what a depressing place this is. Our nation's capital! Whose brillaint idea was it to not only build a city in the hills, but to make it the capital?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Spies among us

If there isn't more of this going on behind the scenes already, then I think there should be. How naive would we be to think there are not spies among us all the time. Every major corporation should have paid informants in competition companies. The police should have contacts in every grass roots and international organisation - Greenpeace, Amnesty, PETA et al - that has ever raised its head above the surface.

I think the worst part of this debacle is that they guy got caught. He should have been more careful, and I think our tax dollars should be spent on clever people, not idiots.

And of course, the one who sprung this on us is not beyond reproach. Her timing does seem a little contrived.

Information is power, and I have no problem with the police spending resources keeping tabs on these activist groups, and who's sleeping with who in the organisation. They need to be fully aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the group.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Scary times

I grew up in the seventies. The overwhelming theme of that time, at least for me, was the crushing threat of a nuclear war. I had heard terrifying stories of WWII, so as we teetered on the brink of WWIII my subconscious convinced me it would be even more terrifying and dangerous and calamatous than WWII. Surely. Logically.

I imagined that at any given moment the bombs would start going off and the whole world, especially my localised, intimate one, would be plunged into a morass of plague, death, disease, famine, violence and struggle for existence. Every second of every day I was terrified WWIII would come to my doorstep.

I guess that shapes a child's psyche. I think in my case it instilled a deep sense of terror, which bled over into a number of aspects of my life. Coupled with some other personal circumstances, I grew up with a healthy fear of nearly everything.

Obviously, WWIII did not happen. It took many many years for me to wake up in the morning and not presume today was the day. Whether it was maturity, common sense or apathy, I don't know, but the fear of nuclear war had evaporated.

Of course, I am now much older and wiser and calmer. But I have of late felt twinges of that old fear I had as a child, that all encompassing terror that at any moment catastrophe is going to befall me. And the threat is no longer nuclear war, but the GFC. Every news cast on every channel, every hour, every day, the doom and gloom about the Global Financial Crisis is tapping into my childhood fears about the imminent nuclear holocaust. Now the fear, still completely self-centric, is just as personal. What if I lose my job? What if I am bankrupt? What if I am evicted? What if I have to live on the streets? What if I can't feed my children? What if get sick? What if I have to resort to delivering pamphlets to earn a bit of money?

It's funny what you bring with you from childhood.