Blog: Beginner's Guide to Life

Goodbye cruel world

09:25am 28 Mar 2011 8 comments

NAOMI ARNOLD AND CHARLIE ANDERSON

happier timesIn case you hadn't noticed, we've moved on. We're no longer Nelson newbies, but we have discovered that until we spawn five generations, have a bach in Golden Bay, drink beer on a boat down the marina, spend a night presenting at Pecha Kucha, start a national movement or event, and fondly recall Chez Eelco's, we'll never truly be locals.

Never mind. It's been fun.

For the last couple of months, Charlie's been in India, and you can follow his travels at www.twohumpingcaterpillars.com. Naomi remains in Nelson, with a regular column she's been writing here.

We'd like to leave you with some of our favourite comments from helpful, concerned, dear readers over the past two years. It's nice to know we've moved so many people:

Darren, on Those summer nights: "As Mark already said, this article is stupid. I'll bet the author knew it before she even started writing it. But she's a woman, and couldn't stay content with not writing it. Now that she's written it, she still unhappy. And the world keeps turning."

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Mysterious memories

01:33pm 13 Jan 2011 2 comments

CHARLES ANDERSON

The last person I wanted to say goodbye to was the one who might not remember I had even left.

Would she?

Last year my grandma forgot her sister had died. One evening she turned to me and asked where Helen was. Her hearing aid had run out of batteries so I wrote down in HB pencil on the back of a used envelope that her had sister died four years ago. That she had gone to the funeral in Blenheim. None of that made any sense. My grandma cried for an hour.

But for the past two years as her brain neurons slowly died, as her short term memory escaped her, as day after day she mused about the "blue, blue sky", as she looked at photos of herself and thought she saw her own grandmother staring back, as she forgot how to use her hands and then the next day managed to flip all the way through that afternoon's Nelson Mail, as her voice failed her, as she looked out her bedroom window and saw a woman in white walking around her garden, as each afternoon when I came into her bedroom and asked "how's my grandma?" she smiled and almost always said: "Really good", how could I tell if she would?

Memory works in mysterious ways.

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You can't go home again

12:41pm 12 Jan 2011 11 comments

NAOMI ARNOLD

I'm heading back to Te Puke in a few weeks for the wedding of one of my oldest friends. She's marrying a man I haven't met, but the wedding will be held in a garden not far from the paddocks where we had bonfires, drank Purple Goannas and once mooned passing cars sometime in 6th form. 

People will often say one of four things when you tell them you grew up in Te Puke. 

1) "Yeeah, TPT!" 

Word gets around. The local strain of dope, Te Puke Thunder, is so popular it has a Wikipedia entry, an Urban Dictionary entry, several Facebook fan groups, is sold in Amsterdam cafes and had a cameo on Outrageous Fortune (so I'm told). It's so well-known that it was unbelievable the new owners of the Cameron Road Dairy thought changing their name to Thunder Takeaways would be a good idea, sound business decision though it may have been. Two fish, a scoop of chips, a pineapple fritter and a $20 special please.

2) "Where that stabbing happened at the school?"

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An irresponsible cleansing

02:44pm 05 Jan 2011 2 comments

CHARLES ANDERSON

On New Year's eve - about half an hour before midnight, before the fireworks went off lighting up the hills surrounding Gisborne's Waiohika Estate - I lost the ability to communicate.

Of course, I was acutely aware of all this. I was acutely aware that anything I said was depressingly, almost humiliatingly boring and lame and inconsequential. The things I would have said, if I had the ability to talk would have come out as mumbled, futile observations of little consequence. Those utterances would have left my mouth and faded almost instantly into the air that pulsated deep with bass spewing out of speakers that were out there, somewhere in the black.

So I kept quiet - locked in and resigned to repeating two ridiculously simple dance moves and two ridiculous looking facial expressions. The finger point and the bottom lip bite. The fist pump and the whistle mouth. Both no doubt made me look mildly learning impaired.

Did anyone around me care? Looking around at the faces and mouths and eyes wide open with their own ridiculous expressions and dance moves, probably not. There were 25,000 of them.

Being irresponsible and over indulging does that to you. But hey, it was New Year's Eve. It was Rhythm and Vines. What is three (or four) days of debauchery between friends? For one it was a horrifically ulcerated mouth. Apparently the year before he had fallen exactly in the spot where most people went to relieve themselves. He was back the following year and by all accounts reasonably dry.

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Those summer nights

01:47pm 20 Dec 2010 8 comments

NAOMI ARNOLD

I've been avoiding this blog topic since we started writing back in November 09, because it's been done to death.

But it's a perennial problem amongst my friends and keeps popping its ugly head up and screaming "Help! Gather some Varied Opinions! Solve me!" Usually after a few drinks.

Though I knew I'd cave in some day, summer has made it worse. There's something in those blushing cherry blossoms, nesting birds and swelling new growth that inspires similarly turgid feelings in humans. True. It's been proven by scientists. 

I don't need science, though. It's being proven daily in my Facebook, email and cellphone inbox. Since spring, I've had more than a few friends in agony over new romances. 

Before you start, I know this has been covered by every idiot with a web address before, including by at least six Stuff bloggers on this very server, from every angle: single-in-the-city girls, single-in-Invercargill girls, pet-lovers, sport-lovers, 30-somethings, 20-somethings, aching-wombers, single mums and gay. I know, I know.

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