Monday, April 24, 2006

John Scott in Hawkes Bay

Still there is talk and it seems that BW is certain he will make it sometime in July. Apparently his parents live (in fact) round the corner from me and so Hawkes Bay is possibly the easiest place for him to travel to in the entire world. http://www.johnscottashtanga.co.uk/ is the site for a flavour of what he does. He has written one of the best books I have come across by a westerner on the whole astanga thing, along with Matthew Sweeney.

Anyway, from the sound of the flyers for his Auckland session it sounds really interesting - mainly because it all sounds quite new.

Perhaps something to look forward to then!

Autumn has been fab so far, really warm and sunny, although I am now in trousers most of the time it is still t-shirt weather.

Have been downloading some awesome tunes recently - favourites include grooups like Zap Mama, Hil St Soul, a couple of songs by Aya and also some great stuff by producers such as Nightmares on Wax and Naked Music NYC. Obviously on a RnB vibe these days. It has to be said though that this is the Gill Scott-Heron/Herbie Hancock influenced end of RnB rather than the Whitney end of things. So, RnB with a huge funk influence and turning into House a lot of the time. Great fun - long live the iPod.

Quiet Sunday yesterday, went to the library in the afternoon and picked out the latest home reading selection - so am now looking at part autobio stuff by Charles Bukowski, who had a pretty fucked up childhood to say the least, and was a lifetime alcoholic. Reminds me of Tobias Woolf's writing but it is even more brutal and lyrical. Also reading Uncle Tom's Cabin too - which is predictably depressing in its examination of slavery and all its horrors. Also looking forward to other novels by Robert Olen Butler (to satisfy my Vietnam story craving) and Philip Roth (about a fascist US president who sides with Hitler).

Saw Crash the other day (it has finally reached Hawkes Bay cinemas, although it is also available on DVD already). It was enjoyable enough but predictably, for US films, too clean, to convenient and way too devoid of ambiguity. Amazing that it won any oscars to be honest. Short Cuts, Robert Altman's adaptation of Raymond Carver, which is years old and much better, deserves far more attention. Also watched Remember me - an Italian film - about middle class Roman family and their trials. Like a couple of other Italian films I have seen over recent months (particularly Catherina in the City) it exposes beautifully from within domestic contexts the awfully schizoid character of daily Italian life and culture - an over-the-top obsession with glitz and supeficiality, total submission to individual needs and wants without thought for the collective from the Right and from the Left total paralysis and self doubt resulting in despair and desperate measures. The obsession with celebrity and TV, and public performance in general, as the single most important validation of individual worth is constantly fallen upon. It's as if these directors are looking to find the essential, single, problem with this aspect of contemporary Italy but once into an examination of the phenomenon they themselves are almost swamped by the vacuity and dazzling lights of the TV studio, the semi naked dancers and the crooning , perma tanned presenters.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

so there

I'm bored so I'm going to bore you too. Even though I am reading an entertaining book (Bunker 13) which I can assure you is every bit as entertaining as the positive reviews state, and have dined handsomely on buckwheat pancakes and jasmine tea (fuck, how dull does that sound - though copious amounts of peanut butter sort out the pancakes), I am now at a loose end and find that going to bed at 915 is beyond even me. So, bloggin's the answer.

Spent the last two days sort of filling in at Alpha Domus since my friend JS who does the marketing for them is sick as a dog and there is still stuff that needs doing. Confirms for me that I could never do a job like that for a living - admin based and FULL of paperwork. Aaaagghhh! Still, I think in essence it is something she enjoys which is just as well. So, days full of filling in stuff and selling wine direct to the knowledge hungry public. God, people are just mesmerised by the whole idea of wine, the reasons for which are amply explored in a considerable body of literary and factual work and variously alluded to throughout history which means that I don't have to go into any of it here. But I will say that it is a pleasure to disabuse folk of many of the more tedious misconceptions about almost every aspect of the grog. Flavours are never added to the wine, they occur naturally in grapes and fermented grape juice, with the exception of flavours resulting from use of oak barrels. Pay is very bad in the winemaking industry. Winery work is not 'creative' it is food factory type stuff where you could be moving any substance around for the most part. Any creative aspects of an actual winemakers job are far outnumbered by the managerial aspects which are far more important on a practical everyday level. Good winemakers are essentially good factory/production managers, end of chat. Winery work is pretty intensive all year round, even after the mega work of vintage there is rarely a let up. Most wineries barely make a living although in the long term, if land prices go the right way, small family concerns can come out pretty healthily as has happened in NZ over the last 10 years. Of course many of these facts, and the problems they might pose in career terms are obviated if one is obsessed by some aspect of wine itself. As are many of my friends here. As I thought I was, or may have been. But of course in recent months I have developed almost an aversion to the stuff and with this aversion has come a stark apprisal of the industry as hinted at above. But that's just my view. And it isn't all bad because the wine 'dream' was what got me to NZ and I like it here. So, next dream please.

Looking at my mate Nick's blog http://nickseecharan.blogspot.com/ I see that his flikr site has attracted a comment from Julian Clary which is absolutely hilarious. What is JC doing that he has nothing better to do though than trawl blogs like that, oh, hang on, I do that too....

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

knees must

The knee is telling me something - specifically to slow right down. God - this attitude thing is really getting a bit hard actually. I keep seeing how out of balance my attitude is. Read Matthew Sweeney's book recently. This is a fantastically well written, brief and concise guide to all practical aspects of Astanga for Westerners. His attitude is basically 'it's not what you do but your relationship to it that is important'. Now he is centering on yoga but of course the lesson spreads out far wider and can you detect just a bit of self recrimination in the above? I don't know where its coming from but it keeps coming in waves now and is making me slow my practice down, strip it bare almost. Yesterday I did the sparest practice for ages, hardly sweated at all - which is a first - and all because I was feeling wary of the hamstring and the energy level too. Now, this morning, it's grey and rainy and I feel like things are going Pete Tong for some reason. Have fallen off the Candida wagon because life got busy and I didn't get organised enough to eat properly so now back to wondering if there is an effect from that on my energy levels and so on and so on. Repetitive isn't it. So it seems like the knee is telling me something but really all the issues are in the mind. Attitude. I suppose you have to take the rought with the smooth. So, observe, don't judge, and keep doing it.

Got the call to go into Alpha Domus and do a day's work because their marketing/sales person is ill so have been busy with that. Gave me a chance to put together elements of the promotional material for this work I intend to do for them. Have negotiated a decent price and so now need to get it going - should be later this week.

Friday, April 14, 2006

intermediate blogging

Well, we have a long weekend along with the rest of the Judaeochristian world and for me this means a pretty relaxing few days - got to got to Napier and buy a friend's 30th birthday present, get a massage today - the Hamstrings are gonna get some attention - and brunch at K&J's tomorrow.

Looked like a trip to Auckland was going to be necessary as John Scott is doing a long weekend thing at http://www.yoga.co.nz, the Yoga academy, but then last night at practice there was talk of him coming to Hawkes Bay which would be a real coup, and my first chance to practice with another SKPJ blessed teacher. Exciting.

Woke up really early this morning, 6am, even though it was extra quiet outside and I could have slept for hours - but was waking and so thought I'd read some and before I knew it I was wide awake. So I got up and made some tea, put on the iPod (latest acquisitions Zap Mama and Hil St Soul plus the old album by Tosca 'Suzuki' which is really good too) and washing and read some more of the Matthew Sweeney 'Astanga Yoga As It Is' that I was pursuaded to buy yesterday - he does have a lot of useful stuff to convey, practical advice and insight on integrating practice to life and above all a really supportive, affirmative tone to his writing and instruction - he conveys the attitude brilliantly and thus communicates the pleasure and positivity in the practice without sounding sanctimonious or patronising.

Medium energy yesterday, could only manage half of the lifts at the end, but on the upside Marichy B saw me bound on both sides, I think this is the first time and heralds an apparent end to the knee injury. What is really uncomfortable is the ankles in these asana. Althought there is more and more give and less discomfort. Got some really deep ujjayi breath, right into the back of the throat and felt strong around navasana where I normally flag - this is something that has happened a couple of other times in the last few weeks. I hope it can continue. Looking at upping the ante in terms of practices per week, perhaps 4 times a week although I might do 3 full and one light practice to begin. Last week went like that, and it takes me time to build up the stamina and strength so no rush. There are a lot of internal shifts and energy is coming out in surprising ways during the practice at the moment which is really great to work with.

Workwise, have finished at Alpha Domus but they have agreed to the trial and we have settled a price too - now its up to me to make that percentage work for me and sell as much wine as possible to these people. Should start early pat of week, we just need to put together some email based docs to sex it up for the punters and underline the medals/trophies that have been won recently as well. Only need to call 97 people for the trial. The full thing would be closer to 1000. A few weeks work, though not all day every day as most people will receive a call in the evening, so I suppose a couple of hours a night is all it would take. That could yield a very attractive hourly rate in the end - like NZ$60-80 depending on how well I do. Hmmm. Work smart sounds good to me.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Cyber spatting

Well, since the last post, which caused a few ripples, the event known as a cyber spat has occured between me and my mate - which we still have not concluded. this is a uniqu event in my experience and represents a hidden danger of blogging anf cyber space. Emotions can run high it would seem and the room for misconstruing what is being communicated. Here's to a happy conclusion.

Otherwise things are busy as usual, the weather has returned to something like pleasant warm and autumnal and the yoga is still moving nicely.

The catering idea is meeting with a warm reception on the 'doorstep' although this hsa yet to translate into any bookings. Nonetheless people are very receptive to the idea and also very open to being approached in this direct, unsolicited way. This bodes well for the other business idea too. Also, people are tremendously encouraging in that typical Antipodean way that one can begin to take for granted after living here for a while. It was fun to encounter it again, afresh. With the catering, generally people are not satisfied with the offer from local restaurants and our target market is indeed in this category. Additionally they all entertain a fair bit and most of them seem to be open to the idea of palming off the hard work onto someone else - great. Feel like I'm pushing at an open door so just gotta keep leaning on it and a trickle could start. That's all we're after for the moment.

Elsewhere, specifically in the wine industry, the marketing strategy is going to be trialled if we can agree a price. This is in fact my favourite bit of business, the price negotiation. Why? God only knows. For me I guess it seems fairly exciting. Rewarding even, and I enjoy the ups and downs of negotiating this end of the nitty gritty. I want 20%, they probably dont want to pay more than 15%. I think my bottom line might be around 18% so we should get there.

Yoga - still going well and the knee is slowly easing as it has been for a few weeks now. Hamstring pretty tight and twangy/twingey though which feels like a gentle warning. Am listening. 3 days a week feels good but I am looking to move up to 4 which should be practicable. I am definitely sweating a lot less recently - this has not really changed much in the near 2 years since I started but now it is moving a bit which is nice because it was actually starting to get a bit annoying getting so soaked at each practice. Had one of the 'lightest' practices ever yeaterday. Also really starting to feel very grounded through my hands when they are on the floor and taking my weight, say in jump backs or forwards. Working up to taking my whole weight and one day mastering that beautiful slow movement of feet from downward dog to between feet. Now that would feel satisfying. There is more on the yoga but it will be as part of my Road to Mysore post that is under construction.

Weekend is here - not much planned socially but looking forward to it and will have fun whatever I'm sure.