^ A steep ridge stationed over Lake Hawea. The slender aluvial fans by the shore provide grazing for cattle (below) but the ground is generally spent and dry in autumn. These last vestiges of green were contained on the (I think) western shore by the deserted camping ground. These exposures are quite representative; the enclosing geology mutes and moderates the otherwise bone-searing daylight, filtering it through a hat of downy cloud and bouncing it off the cracked, striated slate of the surrounding hillsides. The geology has a history of extreme violence, lying adjacent to the magnificent Alpine Fault which will likely express itself with another of its regularly-scheduled magnitude 8 quakes in the near future. I don't say that lightly, but what can you do?
^ Those really are power lines. There are wire-swagged pylons everywhere you go in NZ, regardless of the value of the surrounding landscape. They photoshop them out of the brochures, which always makes me smile.
There was a stretch of mixed exotic and nature forest behind the camping ground, grading up into the hill above. It had been partially burnt out and was full of the sour dark colours and smells of dead vegetation, a blanket of damp charcoal collapsing underfoot as we walked through it. There is something intensely pathetic about blackened trees, their tilted, twisted forms sagging and capitulating while their surviving neighbours divide their decaying substance between themselves and enjoy the sunlight admitted by their demise. All kinds of unfamiliar fungi were emerging; porcelain white and gleaming caviar-coloured mycena, chrome-yellow amanitas and dour, spongey boletus.
Below: Lake Wanaka, silent and eyeless and yet somehow perceptive of the observer. In summer it is beset by a surfeit of picnicking douchebags and power boats and pissy trout fishermen but they are fairweather types and typically scatter toward the end of the 'good' weather. There was nobody there when we were. Nobody.
The wind has a singular smell in the mountains of Central, almost like dried blood. It's laden with powdery, pale grey moraine dust and settles in the back of your throat, emerging every time you cough or spit. Your lips crack quickly when it's cold like this and your hair becomes animalic, slightly matted and beaten-looking.
Looking over these images strengthens my previously-stated (in the Glacier post) conviction that mountains are a universal thing; these scenes could be virtually anywhere on the planet. They could be Kashmir or British Colombia or Bolivia. Pas d'importance. They'll all be called something else in due course.
Fresh snow has a deliciously fatty visual quality, as though it were the blessed excess sucked from the backside of some celestial being and smeared all over the schist. It always makes me think of muttonfat jade. Or marzipan.
We don't associate snow with xmas down here; it's a June/July/August thing for us.
We stayed at Makarora which is at the western end of Wanaka and took a few trips down the Haast highway.
I'll post some images from those sorties next time.
Liked this? More original images here. There's always the Franz Joseph & Fox Glaciers, too.
As a result of our abiding love for our own species and general unfailing generosity of spirit, these three terms have been creeping into our personal lexicon for some time now without the benefit of precise or specific definition. Therefore we will wander from the usual WINRK format in pursuit of clarity. After a good afternoon's worth of argument we have ranked the trio thusly in order of heinousness, although they all enjoy parity with the standard and wellbelov'd arsehole, which we still treasure.
Arsemonkey (n). Adult habitually engaged in an activity or practice deemed offensive/annoying/vexatious by their betters and usually possessing a pointlessness bearing direct relationship to its decibel rating and/or hazard. By virtue of their comprehensive bouquet of personal deficits, an Arsemonkey is commonly unaware of the dangers and annoyances posed both to themselves and others in the commission of their various nuisances and imagine themselves heroes of popular acclaim. Emblem/device: monster truck.
Arseclown (n). Adult habitually engaged in an activity or practice deemed offensive/annoying/vexatious by their betters and usually possessing a pointlessness bearing direct relationship to its decibel rating and/or hazard. By virtue of their partial array of personal deficits, an Arseclown is sometimes dimly congnizant of the dangers and annoyances posed both to themselves and others in the commission of their various nuisances, but anticipates impunity as well as imagining themselves heroes of popular acclaim. Emblem/device: jetski
Don't know about you, but that's really cleared it up for us.
* Time may be money but knowledge is power. More ravings here *
The Butterfly Collector (series) 3.2014
8 x 10 tintype
The quince, perhaps more striking than handsome, is one of our most ancient fruity companions, originating in the Middle East slash Sou-west Asia and providing us with a number of highly delicious dishes since a long time before it featured in the Song of Solomon. Quince to me sounds like something vaguely soggy and sort of citrus but no, they're a hard, plain apple-like fruit that smells... hmmm... like hallucinogenic roses, really; like a nice pomander with a touch of that awesome glue you definitely never huffed in the 7th grade. As anyone who's ever bitten into a fresh quince knows, they're best cooked, and that's what we're doing today- making quince jelly, which is a dense, fragrant, wobbly-type jam, bright sunburnt pink and shyly translucent. Once you've had it on toast and added it to your everyday cooking you won't know how you did without it all this time.
I get my quinces posted to me since the local fruiter insists on charging $2 a piece and that is bullshit, my friends. We have our own tree but it's still jailbait as far as production is concerned. They're increasingly easy to come by so just ask around until you secure your own source.
There are two parts to this procedure, and the second stage can be deferred for a few days, which makes it pretty convenient even if you're pinched for time. We're going to boil up and extract the juice from the fruit first, then cook that up with the sugar to form jelly. First things first; fruit prep.
The purpose of this procedure is to extract the juice from the pulp without any junk getting in to cloud up the jelly, if you know what I mean. Hence the straining. Process the entire contents of the pot in batches.
Below right- the jelly liquor in all its glory. It goes a milky colour with all the sugar but that will dissolve.
Thoroughly wash your jars and lids and put them on a tray in the oven at 100 or so degrees C to sterilize.
Below left- Slowly your liquor will start to visibly thicken in the pot, becoming deep candy pink, molten-glassy and heavy against the spoon. Keep cooking past the point where you would stop for regular jam, or it won't set and go stiff like jello (US) or jelly (Rest of the World). Below right- after about 40 mins boiling a sample poured onto the plate will bunch up like this as though it has gelatin in it, feeling stodgy, sticky, holding its shape and thickening further as it cools. If it doesn't, be disciplined and keep reducing it- you'll get there eventually and it's vital to do so. Skim the white foam as well as you can from the top of the jelly and discard, then get out your jars.
* Why stop now? More Kitchen Bitch here *
You guys- the Lovely R was just looking at the stats the other day and it turns out we had our biggest 12 hours ever not long ago, breaking the old tonne- 1100+ views!
Which means he has to take me out to dinner. :))))) If only we could afford it lol.
But seriously, thanks to everyone supporting this blog; we're coming up to a year old now and I'll post my thoughts on that soon. We're still extra-working but I've got some good things lined up for this week so stay tuned.
Read the book! Maybe even help a starving artist out and buy it!
Shaw met Josephine at the chained gates and flashed the beam from his torch into her face as he worked the lock. Her hair was still damp from the shower and sent an occasional bead of water down the back of her sweatshirt. She handed him a pair of surgical gloves and cuffed bags to slide on over his shoes.
“You got some kind of theory?” he inquired, walking with her down the drive when he had complied with her precautions. The warmth of the day sat in the still air over the grass, not yet displaced by the breeze that left the hills and swept down toward the city around midnight. Josephine found it difficult to reconcile the view from their customary vantage with the actual expanse of house and garden that greeted her in the darkness. Two pairs of boots and a tyre iron lay about the edge of the porch. She stepped over them carefully.
“I was called into a metro lycanthrope census a few years back... so many counters were getting intercepted it was threatening the data. Turned out to be scent recognition of the deuce gear... that's what was tipping them off, so we set up a new protocol. Cold showers prior to dust-off, civilian gear only... you get a thirty minute window before you start to lay down a solid scent trail. The scrubs buy you an hour.” she told him, flexing her hands further into her gloves.
It was only after she had been led along the darkness of the entrance hall, with its beetle-riven oak and the faded tang of lanolin rising from nomad textiles that she gained an appreciation of the atmosphere implied by the building's exterior. They stood in the door of the drawing room while Shaw flipped the lightswitch on and off, looking back at her.
“It’s like that all the way through. No lights, no power. No goddamn chairs, no tables, no TV...” Josephine turned to follow his manual directions. “The housekeeper's in the attic... that’s got juice, but not much else does. So right off the bat there’s a problem trying to keep up with ingress and exits, who’s here, who’s not...” He paused in his dissertation and climbed slowly to the landing where she stood awaiting him. “You smell that?”
"I guess. Something... dopey.” She stared up into the complicated darkness of the second floor, regretting the rustle of her plastic accoutrement. “You sure you counted everyone out?” Shaw gave her a grim smile.
“If that was One or Two they would have been on us in the driveway. The callgirl loves her pharmaceuticals.”
“Maybe One’s keeping her strung out.” she suggested. He shook his head.
"When they’re not in direct conflict, they’re interfacing.” At the head of the stairs they stood and gazed down the hall in both directions, his reference to their subjects’ private proclivities painting deep shades of aversion onto her expression.
“Xenophilia, to me, is... it’s unethical, irresponsible... biologically it's hazardous... I can’t believe anyone would seriously go there.”
“Different strokes. There’s One, and then there’s Two.” he said, indicating the direction of both rooms.
Josephine was first overwhelmed, and then appalled by the confusion of shapes and colour that passed beneath the beam of her companion’s torch inside William’s bedchamber, the room like the tomb of a heretic pharaoh, the air thick with the sweet, spectral scent of incense and petal-dripping lilies, burnt hashish and the final, half-spent notes of womens’ perfume. She fought the urge to place some part of her clothing over her mouth and nose to physically exclude an atmosphere so charged with degenerate opulence, producing a slim camera and taking four frames before retreating, more than happy to exchange it for the unlit hall. Shaw followed her, checking his watch. The glass eyes shining in the heavy beast heads on the ivy-coloured wall reflected her face as a mottled sliver of white. Josephine preceded him to the door of Edward’s rooms, urging him closer.
“Feels shady.” she whispered against the side of his head. He waved her away along the hall, tapping a knock on the door in question before pushing it inward and admitting himself. The time that elapsed while he cleared the room raised the volume of her misgivings; she dropped slowly to one knee to slide the small pistol from her ankle holster, listening closely, but Shaw returned to the doorway and beckoned to her.
An unconscious woman lay on a bed clothed in blood red silk, the bare skin of her legs and midriff glowing dilute blue in the light falling from the window, the deathly shade in keeping with the attitude of senselessness that pinned her right arm beneath her body and doubled her left wrist against the counterpane. Her mouth had taken on a leaden cast, as though some dark fruit had stained her lips. Though Josephine knew her from the surveillance pictures she was surprised to see how little Lilian Frost resembled her stolen likeness. She went immediately to the window and pulled the curtain closed, turning back toward the scene with her camera.
“Hypoxic.” Shaw said quietly, chancing a measure of the woman’s pulse at the back of her ankle. “Opiates.”
“Breathing?” He shrugged. Josephine was careful not to brush Lilian's feet as she bent over her in the darkness, unwinding a narrow sheet of print-lifting adhesive from the roll in her pocket. “If she was cold we could evac the body for an exam... ” she whispered, almost to herself. They looked to one another across the subject of their speculation, standing with hands on hips. “Her colour’s bad... if you called it in, there’s a good chance she’ll flatline by the time they get here.” Shaw frowned, unconvinced, and leant out to spread a hand before Lilian’s mouth and nose.
“I don’t like her for a DOA. She’s moving too much air.” He was surprised to see the small compliment of sampling tools that Josephine drew out of her pockets. She backed up and took a full-length shot of Lilian as she lay, stepping away into the bathroom when it caught her attention. The wall cabinet and bath were recorded quickly, as was the contents of the bin beneath the pedestal basin, tipped onto the white tiles and kicked into a small radius. Lilian's contraceptive and menstrual supplies provided little information beyond the obvious; she swept them back into the waste bin and replaced it carefully. On her return to the bedroom she stood beside the woman's legs and readied a silver spatulate instrument, picking up a hand and using it to scrape beneath its fingernails.
"You can't turn that in..." he warned her, the sight of Josephine's purposive efficiency redoubling his misgivings as she clipped a narrow swatch of hair from her subject's head. She glanced up at him, but said nothing, pushing a syringe from its plastic bubble and looking for a suitable site to introduce it. "Jones... I said you can't turn any of this in, so w..."
"I can run it myself." she assured him. "What is it about this that One can't get enough of?" she murmured, pausing in another moment of narrow, critical study of the unconscious stranger. "We watch this sub for four years... it never taps the same girl twice, is rigorous about paying for it, then suddenly..." Her gaze shifted back to Shaw. "Are you sure there's a bond?"
"They're tight. You can't get near her without him being on you like that." he told her, frowning as his attention was called toward the distance. Josephine bent and touched a finger to the back of Lilian's knee, prospecting her veins. "Jones..." he whispered. She did not look up. He hissed her name again, and then a loud, brittle sound turned her back toward him in dismay. Both intruders dropped into a crouch and remained unmoving as it was repeated, two and then three times, its damning volume almost gratuitous.
“What the hell is that?” she hissed in a silent interval. He shook his head at the floorboards, and then lifted his dark eyes to her.
Rachelle shoved the twin partitions inward to the full extent of their heavy chain, both hands wrapped around the iron. Swinging them once more toward herself, she stumbled backward, tripping over her own heels and the gritty surface of the road. A thick, bubbling litany of accusations rang out around the empty cul de sac as she staggered to her feet and kicked at her forgotten handbag, spreading its contents in a tinkling half-circle. Embracing herself, she screamed William’s name three times into the garden through the bars, choking on her own ragged throat. She wore a skin tight, gold-lettered T-shirt and jeans distressed far beyond their original intent, spotted with dark liquid spills and the remains of her last meal; her phone beeped a battery warning and she shuffled over to it, hunting out its silver form and punching autodial repeatedly. The face of the device dazzled her eyes with a charge of reflected brilliance and she looked up into the headlights of a taxi that slowed and rolled to a halt at a discreet distance.
Petrouchka tipped the driver when he wheeled her scarlet suitcase to her side, accepting it from him and directing her gaze along the streak of scorned belongings littering the road to Rachelle’s feet. The taxi receded into a long reverse, leaving them alone together. With her case trundling behind her the vampyre walked toward the gate and took the key to the padlock from the thick plush of her coat. Rachelle's advance was checked by her sudden glance.
“Don’t you know that fur is murder?” the wide-eyed woman demanded. “You think you're moving in here? He can’t just do that like I don’t have any fucking rights... I don’t care who you are... he’s going to shit on you like he does... like he does to everybody! That's what you are, don’t you get it? You’re the fucking rebound! I’m the one!”
Her remarks failed to register in the grey gaze of the stranger, who stood looking at her from a latent immobility that reached slowly toward Rachelle and tapped her on the cheek, drawing her closer as though desiring to impart a secret. Bending from the hip, she looked hard into the glossy stare with its curving ring of sable lashes, the black holes in their centres the luring object of her witless quest. When the vampyre spoke, it was with vicious gutturals, and a slick flash of her teeth.
“Go away, piz'da, before something bad happen to you.”
Petrouchka took her time about the gates, locking them again behind herself while the blonde woman uttered belated, incoherent insults. Rachelle watched the vampyre tote her case along the drive and turned back toward the road, her cries of outrage devolving once more into the screaming of William’s name. Her voice rolled out across the seal, past the scarp of wilding trees at the edge of the road and away into the plantation. As if in answer, two huge, bone-coloured moths ghosted out of the branches into the torpid streetlight and began to float in slow, unheeded circles over her head.
The vampyre left her case at the foot of the stairs and shrugged off her coat as she ascended, draping it over her elbow. She peered into each doorway, taking an excursion into Edward’s studio and lifting her smiling white face to the ceiling, before returning to the hallway and traipsing onward, beyond a bank of windows to the little case of wooden steps.
She had not stopped to look into the suite where Lilian lay once more alone in her brumous stupor. For a while she had drifted in the pixelated, cloud-coloured space lying just beneath the surface of awareness, hearing sounds conveyed through air as well as those transmitted by the mattress, discomfort standing on the verge of firing movement through her body. But in her stomach active compounds still bled from jewel-green capsules and turned the slow recovery into a dim false dawn, turning her over in a darkness that was ordered into shape and setting her down upon her feet.
Around them and beneath the coppice wood of leafless, black-boled trees, the first snow lay in low, crisp drifts, glittering like milled salt. When she considered its perfection she regretted the drag of her hooded mantle, though with her companion she tracked a ragged precedent between the coppiced stands that had churned the white to sepia mud and left the smell of stale clothes and sweating desperation in its wake. Her companion took the large, vaguely lunar length of black wood from his back, drawing it over his shoulder. He slid twisted rawhide from his belt and strung the span, transforming the nameless instrument in an act of silent alchemy into the graceful recurved bow that he had carried since his service in the Eastern steppe. Thus configured, it was two thirds as tall as he; she reached out and took it from him, finding herself barely able to draw it from the stiff line it described between the two siyah, her fingers burning with the effort. He selected seven arrows and set them head-first in the snow.
C O N T I N U E D N E X T W E E K
© céili o'keefe do no reproduce.
* Like it? Support it * Catch up here *
Still life photography of worn-out frying pans.
Photography by Christopher Jonassen
This same idea occurred to me the other day when I was searching for wire and picked up and stared at the head of a hammer in the tool cupboard. I've been a bit moon obsessive lately. Sprouting fur internally.
Silky, healing fur.
I think these are scanned from negatives back when we were using anOlympus-something & film.
I still prefer the look of film and would still be using it if we had unlimited resources, but it just proved too expensive for a doofus novice like myself and environmentally I don't think it's particularly awesome. The Lovely R is an accomplished film fiend but possibly laments it's loss less than I do.
These images are a wee bit funky as far as colour balance and contrast are concerned (a product of our crappy scanner) but whack processing often confers a charm all its own. Above- Port Chalmers and the Peninsula hills.
Horrible, isn't it? :)
^ Karitane or somewhere like that. On the northern coast of Otago.
^ Goose, Back Beach, Port Chalmers. This is one of my favourite shots, like eva.
Above Left: A lake somewhere near Lawrence in Central Otago. Above Right: a plaster figure by Mary McFarlane that used to hang from Ralph Hotere's bank building in Port. It is sadly no longer extant.
(Very obliging clouds in this shot.)
* More pics * Catch up on the Book serialization *
I did quite like this homage to my favourite HPL story and it was posted back in the early days of the blog (nearly a year ago!), so some of you might not have read it.