2011: An adventure

Oh, 2011. What a craZy year you have been. Ok, let’s do this chronologically, because that’s the only kind of logic that works with 2011.

The end of 2010 seemed like a good point to leave TVNZ, so I decided not to renew my contract for 2011. I had enough saved to live on for several months, so I figured I would have at least a more relaxed year, if not a whole year off, and maybe travel a bit and have some adventures.

What it says
Street art in Poplar Lane, now demolished

In early January I went to Christchurch, my first visit since the September 2010 earthquake. It was a bit bashed around, but I could see things were getting back on track. It gave me hope for the future. Oh, the irony, etc.

I went to Webstock, my first time as a proper attendee. It was uplifting and inspiring, especially Merlin Mann’s very moving talk on fear. Handy hint: if you have an iPhone and you don’t have a job or contents insurance, don’t accidentally drop your phone on the hard tiles at the Wellington Town Hall.

My post-Webstock buzz lasted three days, abruptly shoved out of the way by the awful Christchurch earthquake. I put my oodles of spare time to use, getting involved with the Christchurch Recovery Map web project.

Rooftop bar
From a rooftop bar in Harajuku

That could be a segue into my visit to Japan, but the earthquake in Tokyo and aftermath took up maybe half a day of my time there. The rest was sightseeing and exploring and, ok, the occasional interview with New Zealand radio.

After Japan I paid a brief visit to Napier, where I explored the city as inspired by the Shell Guide to New Zealand. I discovered the Napier War Memorial Conference Centre, the disappearance of the boating lake, and the joyful universe of Trainworld.

Still with plenty of spare time, I created a new web project for myself – 5000 Ways to Love You. I’m reviewing every NZ On Air-funded music video I can get my hands on. So far I’m up to 1995. Revisiting the ’90s reminded me of music video trend for male shirtlessness in the early ’90s, with mixed results. Cheers to Morgan for hosting it!

And speaking of Morgs, I joined him, Ben and Dylan on the Discourse Weekly Show, New Zealand’s Best Podcast. It’s quite fun hanging out and talking about technology, television and corned beef with the dudes.

Over winter I had a four-month contract with the NZ Film Festival. I fulfilled a lifelong goal of writing a film note for the festival programme, but I watched too many films and something broke inside me. Seriously, since leaving the festival, I’ve seen two films: “Snark Night 3D”, which is not even good trash; and “Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part One”, which was utterly extravagant and glorious. I still like television, though.

Tea time at Hardware Société cafe

In September the sun came. I went to Melbourne, having vowed to return in 2011 after previously visiting in 1991 and 2001. First I revisited all my old neighbourhoods, but discovered they weren’t so much fun any more. So I set about exploring the bustling laneways of central Melbourne. It’s a good city for eating.

Over on Tumblr, I reviewed all 35 of Britney Spears’ music videos. I discovered that Britney’s videos often feature paparazzi, with frequent scenes of cameras getting all up in her face. She doesn’t usually get the guy, being left alone and lonely. But her last video ended with something of a happy ending at last. Yay, Britney.

Back in Wellington, I volunteered with NZ On Screen’s New Zealand On Screen display, an interactive history of New Zealand film and television, in a shipping container down by the waterfront. It was a fun experience. Lots of parents came in and showed their kids the Goodnight Kiwi clip, only to discover they had to also explain that in the olden days, television used to stop at night.

And somehow – and I’m still not entirely sure how this happened – I became fully embroiled in the fandom of John and Edward Grimes, aka Irish pop twins Jedward. I’ve never been part of a fandom before, so it’s quite exciting to finally, legitimately be involved in one. But maybe the best bit is discovering a really cool community of other older Jedward fans, many of whom are, curiously enough, former goths. I like Jedward. They make me smile.

I was interviewed in the Dominion Post for an article on New Zealand bloggers. The printed version featured a giant, quarter page photo of me and described me as a “content guru”, whatever that means. Most people only mentioned the photo, which is slightly annoying because I didn’t even take the photo. I just put some eyeliner on.

But photos I did take featured in Public Address’ new photoblog Capture. I’m a contributor along with talented photographers Jackson Perry and Jonathan Ganley. We weren’t sure how it would be received, but the PA community has taken to it with great enthusiasm.

No events
A youth centre in Christchurch has no events to offer

In December I returned to Christchurch and explored its crack problem. I toured the Red Zone, but also found cool little corners blossoming with new life.

On the job side of things, I’m still unemployed. A fistful of rejection emails reveals that perhaps I’m even less of a “content guru” than I had thought, as I don’t seem to be able to get work in the wonderful world of web content production at the moment. But, guys, I have bills to pay. I have a head full of ideas and not enough outlets for them. What’s a girl to do?

I expected an adventure in 2011 and I got one.

Shibuya, Tokyo. Photo by Jon Ellis.

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