Thursday, December 29, 2005

My Precious Fluids!

They've taken them from me! Vital fluids! At the doctor's!

As the swelling receded, in the gap between where the hematoma had etched its purple shininess to my leg, it became evident that I was carrying some liquid with me in my leg (Think water bed). So the doctor took it away from me yesterday. All of the more than one hundred milliliters! He didn't even ask if I wanted to keep it.

To my and certainly your disappointment, I forgot to take my camera to capture this unique magical event. In its place, I present to you a poem written by a one Eleanor Rawson, a Queenstown area local, entitled Animal Lover. The topic of the poem is how she, Eleanor Rawson that is (of course), is, in fact, an animal lover. And why? To the poem:

Animal Lover

I love animals, I love them so much
Some animals are small
Some are big and playful,
But the thing I love the most is that
They are not the same.
A mouse is small and a rhino is big.
A warthog is plain but a giraffe has got patterns.
A fish is fearless and a crocodile is scary.
You see they are not all the same.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas in Kea

An attempt at being less enigmatic and more straight-forward for a change:

In most cultures there exists some celebration in which an individual is recognized as becoming an adult. Various manifestations include graduations, confirmations, etc. Symbolically all of these events are indicative of an individual maturing in the physical, mental and spritual realms - becoming, to a greater or lesser extent, autonomous. My sojourn around Christmas became a personal variation of this idea, though I was unaware of this outcome from the outset.

News of another week off work because of the leg was upsetting, my mind's ramblings were convoluted and I decided I could probably get away with some "light" hiking for a few days. So I went to Kea Basin. A kea is a bird that looks like this: (click). The basin is on the South-East side of Mt. Earnslaw, one of the more prominent mountains seen from Glenorchy. Not too far, but out of the way of nearly everyone.

I was given an unwarranted car to borrow with low idle/fuel injection problems, but cruised like a go-cart on the unpaved "roads." I got hiking around 8:45 PM. Simple hiking tasks seemed impossible: -Couldn't find the trail -walked waist deep through glacial creeks for an hour or so -couldn't get a lighter to work -white fuel burning on my pant legs... Settling in, I suppose, to mindfulness of the present and nothing else.

Woke up on the stream bed surrounded by sandflies (think no-see-ums). Found the trail, lost it and found it just in time for me not needing that trail anymore. Across the meadow, under an electric fence for sheep and cows, through bogs and up into the beech forest.

A couple hours and x-meter elevation gain, Kea Basin opened up. Never have I seen a more peaceful, magical, sacred area in my life. Two canyons pouring from the glaciers, which met up in the basin to become the final canyon down to the valley. A perfect day and noone around.

I played all day around the river and meditated through it all. I slept up on a bluff high outside of the basin, where it seemed like I could reach out and touch the glacier, which constantly made growling noises. Or was it thunder?

I was awoken by a large gust of wind. Time to finally test out the personal bivy. I had used it to fight off sandflies, what about high winds and storm while fully exposed?

Rain all the next day (Christmas). I made my way to an actual rock bivouac - an overhanging rock where underneath had been built up shelters and fire places. I spent most of the day there in mediation and writing, with one trip to get more pure glacier water. Clear stars that night.

Weather cleared on the hike out, and I visited a couple of shacks before making it back to the car. One final swim in the bluish water and it was time to tackle the road - a new challenge in light of the recent storm.

Back to Queenstown. The mind has been quieted for the first time in recent memory. The main purpose of the Hobbit (there-and-back-again) journey showing itself to be to a development of a stated current personal life philosophy/spirituality (always subject to revisions and additions) that strives to be as congruent as possible to doing positive/constructive works.

Full undadulterated photos from the journey are available here: (click)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Doctor sez:

One more week maybe? Then back to work?

Back to the axiom. Wishing Christmas and the inherent symbolism spirit to everyone.

Biking home today for no reason at all led to the spontaneous conclusion of disappearing. Time to go off for oneself. If the doctor says I can't work, I'll embrace that.

Life is a dream. Sometimes dreams affect you and you decide to interpret them. To accept or decline meaning is a personal prerogative.

Borderline love, illusion, spirit, life, nothing.

Love to everyone. I love you all. I hope you understand what this means.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Give me some pie! I had vegetarian; Eric had venison. I won. Arrowtown is an old gold-mining town not far from Queenstown. Their architecture has remained true to the old feel, and now one may find many fine stores, ice creams, and pies. Right nearby is a dilapidated old Chinese settlement. They were either shorter back in the late 1800s or the shacks were small by their own right. <-Was that appropriate?

Physiotherapy says I'm not allowed to run, but am allowed to bike. Still no muscle damage, but removing the hematoma, which has hardened boundaries where if not treated, may calcify, entering the bloodstream and causing clots or strokes. I suppose I'll leave that run-on sentence alone and put up with free deep tissue massage.

Lessons in Symbolism

1. Incessant Christmas songs. I like Christmas just fine. But the songs create imagery of plastic people and plastic smiles like the nightmares of the old man in 'City of Lost Children'

2. Incessant Eminem. I'm sure that the people living in the flat above me have much to identify with a troubled childhood in a trailer park, etc. But it does disturb my peace, symbolically with the blood and the ears and the...

So if we accept the axiom that everyone/thing/event presents some informational nugget to learn from, is this a patience/tolerance/acceptance/ issue? OR is it about standing up for oneself in a store or at home and stating that one will not shop or attempt to coexist with the racket?


Monday, December 19, 2005

Borderline, Illusions and Divinity

Trouble gathering in the continuation of the present posting regiment. With the injury on its healing course, most incidents are occurring internally. So I could lay out the bouncing between 4th and 5th chakras, and discuss their relation to the christian sacraments and the sefirot of the Tree of Life, but this discourse has never been the purpose of writing here.
I'll simply say that I'm practicing mindfulness in the daily realm.
Walked to town. A huge rainstorm took out the power momentarily, and I plan to walk home again and play guitar.
Is the Divine the source of morality or are they equivalent?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Wha' Happen

In lieu of presenting another photo of the burgeoning hematoma, which is so much more glorious than ever, here's another from around town. Fixing people's bikes, playing guitar at home, on the beach. Apparently teaching a guitar lesson tomorrow. High free rates available.
Still no feeling of Christmas. Sunscreen in December? -Applied heavily. Melanoma lurks in every alley here.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Equality & Thanks

So anyone can make comments now and not need be afraid of giving up precious vitals such as dates of vaccinations, socioeconomic status or political/theological leanings.

Also, thanks to those integral in gaining perspective.

An Even Better Picture

Walking much better today. Physiotherapy in a half hour, with more electrodes and ice and compression. My meds say Retard on them. I don't think that is socially appropriate. Much more time for focus on internal issues for a time. Approximate return to guiding is Boxing Day. Put up your paci-fists.

A Better Picture

You can actually see the imprint of the boxer briefs worn under the neoprene!

The other canyon

Sometimes we're dealt an interesting card. Life wakes you up a little bit with a nice shake. Yesterday, we began Routeburn canyon (or Bridal Veil canyon) with a jump into some frothy, aerated water. Quite the norm. First jumper - good. Second jumper - excellent. Third jumper - not horrible. But the circulation popped her closer to the falls than usual. She bumped my leg out of the way, insisting on going down the falls. I had a hold of her life jacket and couldn't hold her, and at this point the decision making turns lightning fast. Instead of being dragged down head-first after her, I let go, opting to turn and jump/slide to catch up with her. I got ahold of her, and she wasn't doing anything to fight against the current. This can be understood, as most individuals aren't used to that situation, and panic is a viable response. I corrected her positioning as we went down the next falls (definitely a rappel), used my body to keep her from going into an entrapment (which would be the end), took a nice bump on a rock, got a good hold of her, and threw her out of the water canyon right. She quickly came around and laughed and all was well. Had it gone on any further, the odds would have quickly stacked against us.
Mind you, this occurred through 12mm of neoprene. Some have commmented that the wetsuit setup is a bit excessive. Bollocks to that idea, I say.

So let's now consider a couple of ideas: negligence and altruism. Her going over the falls is my responsibility. My stance could have been better. There definitely exists a mistake on my part. To forgive the self, to learn from the symbolism of the event and become a better guide is the only option. Events could have played out much worse.

People have sometimes argued against the existence of altruism. That no one will act truly at the cost of their own well-being to aid another. That there will be some underlying notion of acting to feel better about oneself or to have something to hold over another individual, or to be considered a hero or whatever argument you can think of and would care to put forth. In the situation I found myself, there wasn't any time to think about motivating factors for going after the girl. It seems that you just have one goal and you act. Could someone please take a look at what E.O. Wilson says about altruism in his book On Nature? That would be great.

Or is altruism not even relevant in this situation? There certainly is no heroism. If you are even partially or fully responsible for someone almost losing their life, is the equation balanced by stopping that from happening? Is altruism negated by negligence?

I can't answer these questions. Answers probably exist on an individual, relative basis, dependent upon the exact situation. I am thankful that events transpired as such and that I am only off of work for a week. The internal struggle with forgiveness, healing and learning can only lead towards strength.

Never would this happen

Again, Queenstown is the adventure capital of the world. Or so they say. Working in the adventure tourism industry affords one the opportunities to try various activities on a free-of-charge basis, should one wish to take advantage of their surroundings.

One of said activites is the Nevis Bungy. In 8.5 seconds one could, if they so wished, fall 134 m out of a console held up by five high-tensile cables. To do this, one would need to take a bus ride, be fitted in a Petzl work harness, get in an argument with the employees over the importance of having tight leg loops, and ride out to the console.

Not that I would ever dream or consider becoming involved in such craziness, but I just thought that people might be interested in knowing that these sorts of opportunities abound in the Queenstown area.

One place where I work...

Eventually everyone will get tired of pictures of Lake Wakatipu from different angles. I see it quite a bit. If you look at it in an atlas, the lake is shaped like a lightning bolt or of someone lying down. The lake also has a tide of about 6 inches or so. Maori legend holds that there was once a giant who kidnapped a princess. To save the princess, a Maori warrior cleared the mountains of trees and brush during the night, covered the sleeping giant and killed him in a giant fire. Deep under Lake Wakatipu, where the giant was sleeping, his heart is still slowly beating, causing the tide that we modernites attribute to the gravitational effects of the moon.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


Finally got myself a bicycle - a mountain bike, with shocks and big knobby tires. And you ask me, for how much? FREE! So I rode into town, and went swimming in Lake Wakatipu:

It's not as cold as expected. Here's what it looks like from another angle:

So the bike will be worked on and wheels trued and derailers and brakes adjusted. Another project to keep the skeletons at bay.

Christmas is approaching. That's what the two channels we get at the flat tell me repeatedly. But it's sunny. And summer. Soon we will have a list of how the entire Southern Hemisphere is the antithesis of the Northern. I think Northern will be the 'yin' but that is up for debate.

Ben Lomond

So Eric and I took a trip the other day up the peak of Ben Lomond, which sits right against Queenstown. During the final push, the mountain got upset at us and blew in rain and clouds, obstructing any possible view.

Upon descending again, everything cleared up and was gorgeous sunny summer.
I'm still happy about it.

Friday, December 09, 2005


Yes, there will be photos. Many of them. With big jumps and water and maybe my smiling mug. All love to the Masses.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

1st in 14 months

By popular demand:

22A Sainsbury Rd.
Fernhill, Queenstown
New Zealand

Friday, December 02, 2005

On whining

I spend every day in a canyon. Every day. Every day I put on a thick wetsuit and gear, taking people as useless as driftwood down flowing drainages. Every day people moan about how hot their wetsuits are, how cold the water is, how they are hungover and can not lift their legs b/c they've either been too active already or are encumbered by the thickness of neoprene on their body. Understand, they're the acme of health and fitness, and it is simply a coincidence that they can't accomplish the tasks asked of them on this specific day.

I spend every day in a canyon. Every day. I jump over 30ft into pools of cold water. I take goggles and swim under waterfalls, finding undercuts in the rocks; fish have somehow found their way into the most impossible pools. They swim at the bottom with me, where after 10s, it feels as if you've eaten ice cream far too quickly. Some people spend time at a desk staring at a screen. I stare at waterfalls in a national park.

I spend every day in a canyon. Every day. And it's wonderful.

Difficulties in the Every Day

Some architectural genius decided that all of the back ends of toilets in New Zealand should be shaped like this. Please discuss the logistical difficulties one might encounter on a daily basis.