Running AMOK (okay, stumbling)

So… as part of AMOK, I thought that in the evening, I’d go out and buy some dinner for the homeless people around my area (ie very close to me, because I’d also be trying to break in my new shoes, which I got blisters from, ouch). I even had a plan!! I wandered around and counted how many were around, then thought for a bit and decided that if I were homeless I’d rather have something savoury, not a muffin, and considering my options, I’d get them some subways. Because I wasn’t buying McDonald or BK. So then I waited while they were being made, got some change to give to the Chinese busker – not racist! He said thank you to me in Chinese, that’s how I know – and went off to find them again.
I thought I was going crazy. They weren’t there!!! Instead, it was suddenly mostly empty, and there were only a couple left. This weirded me out for a bit, I kind of went back and forth trying to figure out if I was in the right place. Then I realised that it had probably been a shift change, because I’m pretty sure that people can only hang around busking or begging or sleeping etc, for an hour in a public place with no license? Correct me if I’m wrong. Anyway, I approached a man, and this is the part I was really dreading.
Because how do you just go up to someone and ask them if they’d fancy a sandwich, when you don’t know if you got the right fillings, and you don’t want to make it seem like pity? Anyway, I did it, and he thanked me, and I thanked him, and then I kept going.
Then there was a weird thing – there was a dude loitering around a Westpac cashout machine. And he wasn’t doing anything, but he also wasn’t sitting with a cap or anything, so I thought I’d go check it out, see if he was lost or whatever. And I smile, and say hi, and I’m about to go into my line of questioning, when he asks me if I speak Spanish (in Spanish). So I say, no, sorry, because I don’t, and then he asks if I come from Europe. To which I replied no and said have a good evening and goodbye, and walked off, all the while thinking that I never should have watched that movie, Taken, with the kidnapping in Paris because I was probably being overly suspicious. I then came across a backpacking busker with a travel guitar and a big backpack, who hadn’t eaten because nobody had given him anything, though he’d been playing all day, so I gave him the other subway and some coins that I’d meant to save for washing day, since the machine only accepts $2 coins.
I’m thinking of maybe making it a more organised weekly thing, and maybe finding somewhere nice and healthy and cheap and just doing a round once a week to a couple of people. Since I know that all the students in my hall are spending at least $50 a week on food , not to mention the alcohol. (I personally don’t see why they keep ordering pizza and sushi and coffees etc, when there is an unlimited coffee machine [which does hot chocolate, too!] in the dining room, and we’re allowed as many seconds as we like in the last half hour of the meal period. ) I’ve spent $3.00 so far, and that was on some fruit because I was tired of apples, so I technically have a lot more money to spend on other things, and it’s all currently sitting in my bank account. Hence the deliberation of whether to make it a weekly thing.
And that is the story of my final AMOK task, as designated by me when planning this thing out :)
I’d love to hear your experiences of AMOK, either on the receiving or the giving end!! Or, in general, and acts of kindness that you’ve seen, done, or received :)
-Let’s call me Lily

Now with Photos!

I have found a way! Rather convoluted, but here we go! Some of my AMOK stuff (not very big, I’m afraid, but something is better than nothing)

You are amazing

That’s the view from the walkway of my window. Nicely visible, and hopefully some people look over!

The paper cranes I folded and have put into the letterboxes.

The paper cranes I folded and have put into the letterboxes.

A selection of some of the emails I sent - telling people how much I appreciate them and that they are treasured :) I think it's important to be kind to those around you all the time as well as those you find by happenstance.

A selection of some of the emails I sent – telling people how much I appreciate them and that they are treasured :) I think it’s important to be kind to those around you all the time as well as those you find by happenstance.

 

Again, have an amazing weekend, and do something nice!!! I’m off to buy some cupcakes to hand around :)

-Let’s call me Lily

AMOK 2015

A Melee Of Kindness – an event organised by Random Acts Charity, this is all about thinking about other people. We’re encouraged to make th 21st March a day of random acts of kindness, whether it is handing out chocolates on the street, volunteering in a soup kitchen or visiting and cheering up some elderly folks. Or baking your friends a cake.

That’s why I’m up at half past two in the morning, trying to think of how to articulate my gratitude towards my parents (because it’s really time I told them properly. With words.) As a student living in a hall, I don’t have very many resources at my disposal – not even paper, as I discovered! (I went and got some) it was a bit hard to think of what I could and wanted to do – baking was, unfortunately, out of the question, and the soup kitchen doesn’t need volunteers. So, my plan is 4-fold.

  1. Fold paper cranes. Write cheery colourful messages on paper cranes. Put them in the cubby holes for people’s letters in the morning, so whoever goes to check the mail will not be disappointed, because they will find a paper crane with a colourful message on it (or so I hope).
  2. Make a sign. My window points directly towards a main road, and the walkway/footpath is level to my floor (I have to be careful when taking my clothes off, let me tell you! The blinds are very important.) I painted colourful letters (an A4 each) and have stuck them to my window, so that tomorrow, when people walk past and stare, as they inevitably do, or when cars are waiting at the traffic lights and their drivers glance over, they will see my sign and, hopefully, take something from it. (I have no camera to take a photo of this to show you, but it says Smile. You are amazing. Colourfully :) )
  3. Write emails to my friends and family, letting them know what I admire and appreciate about them. Because I don’t normally express these things in words, and I should.
  4. Go for a walk in the cbd and see of anything pops up – buy a meal for someone, or help carry something. Who knows?

 

This is another reason why my studying is being neglected. It’s a good way of procrastinating, don’t you think?

 

I hope your weekends are full of unexpected acts of kindness, and that you take a moment to think about what you could do to make someone’s life that little bit brighter or easier.

-Let’s call me Lily

 

 

So much universe, and so little time…

I discovered Sir Terry Pratchett almost by accident. I read The Wee Free Men sometime late in primary school, or early in intermediate, enjoyed it a whole lot, especially his autobiographical paragraph, and then looked at the inside covers and discovered that I’d started with, oh, just the 30th book in a series. Well.

First off, I was impressed that I even understood what was going on. Then I was awed that he’d written so many books. Then I wanted to read them all.

I didn’t actually, not for another year or so at least. His name sat with a pile of other authors who I wanted to read. Because I wanted to do this properly – for once, read a series from start to finish in the right order (of course, I was completely ignoring that there were separate storylines and threads, and that the Discworld novels were, therefore, ideal for not reading in the order that they were written in). Just before I started highschool, I ordered them all in from the library. They came in droves – and I ordered them in the way I wanted to read them, waited for the middle books to hurry up and arrive, read other books in the meantime … it seemed like a colossal endeavour. I was lugging two full bags of books from the library each week, and more than one bag (not plastic, made of cloth) ripped as a result of the weight as I walked in the hot sun, sweating the full 30 minutes back home. I devoured those books. As I started high school, they were there, in piles beside my bed, and I discovered, to my delight, that my Visual Arts teacher was a long-time fan, who owned all the audiobooks and had a collection of Sir Terry Pratchett’s books, and recognised the reference when I began an email with five exclamation marks (a sure sign of an insane mind). That was how I found out that Neil Gaiman was Neil Gaiman - the person who had written the screenplays for Stardust and MirrorMask, who also happened to be an AUTHOR, with other books! Through Good Omens, that door was opened.

I adore Sir Terry Pratchett’s works. I tried to make all my friends adore them – I foisted books off to them and made deals with them, and right now a friend of mine is about to raid my empty room (with permission) and borrow The Colour of Magic, because she promised that she would read the books one day.

What about The Shepherd’s Crown? What about all the other gorgeously funny, procrastination-enticing stories that I am sure he had fermenting in his brain with the leftover fruit the bat left as the century turned into that of the Anchovy? I’m selfish enough that I regret his passing, more for my sake than others. I want to read his books. I want to grow to adulthood with them; I want to know that no matter how much I browse through every second-hand bookshop, I will always have another one or two books to go, because he would be forever writing new ones. I want a constant, in a way that other people had Harry Potter from a very young age, or Lord of the Rings (both of which I was also reading at around this time; far too late). Of course, I am deeply sorry for the loss of others, knowing I am not the only one affected by his death, and definitely not the most profoundly – I never knew him as a man, only as a voice that talked to me out of the pages of books – an insubstantial ghost which hovered and layered tones of satire over Death’s announcements of wanting to FORGET ANYTHING. EVERYTHING.

But what I will do is take the two Discworld novels I have on my desk, borrowed from the library as a means of comfort in a strange city and a new institution that I am not especially thrilled about at present, and take out more. And reread them all. (In spite of everything else I should be doing) Because they are amazing, and funny, and mock the world in a comforting way that makes me smile, and roar with mirth, and get strange looks from other people.

May his legacy live long, prosper, and anthropomorphise into a brilliant, breathing thing. One that takes even rats into consideration.

Wonted Wake-up

I tugged on the blinds, so that they moved up,

an inch, a bit more than an inch;

how much is an inch anyway?

so that I could peer through the gap

(I bent and lifted the blind outwards  a little)

and check whether it was sunny or not.

I needed to know,

so that I could get dressed.

Two people, standing on the sidewalk opposite me, across

the motorway off ramp –

waved

hello. I did not want to see you there.

I happen to be wearing a shirt and undies

my pyjamas,

and that is why I am awkwardly peering around my annoying blind

(why not curtains, or blinds that have slits?)

I certainly don’t want to be waved at by strange people

staring at my dark window (why are they just standing there?

Weirdos) that I … may know?

I get my glasses to make sure.

I am still in just a T-shirt, but I manoeuvre. They will not see that.

I check again. Yes. they are strangers.

I squint at them for a bit.

I get dressed.

Mr Turner Review

Directed by Mike Leigh, this biographical drama of the eccentric-yet-great British painter, J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851), is 150 minutes long and in my opinion, drags out rather a bit. Lauded with praise by critics, a bevy of nominations for accolades such as Best Director, Best Actor, Best Costume Design and Best Cinematography, as well as two wins in the 2014 Cannes Film Festival (amoung other awards), Mr Turner also received enthused reviews of The Guardian and our own NZ Herald. Nevertheless, wider audiences seem underwhelmed by the film, with many commenting on the lack of structured plot and relatively slow pace (including me).

Something everyone agrees on, however, is Timothy Spall’s fantastic performance as leading man, known to us as the irascible “Mr Turner”. Though he slightly recalls ‘Wormtail’ from the Harry Potter series in the animalistic nature of his character, the physicality of Spall is transformed into a great, grunting boar, rather than a timorous rat. His vigorous painting style capture the frenetic genius of Turner, and his taciturn, piggish nature gives a tremendous performance on screen, especially when paired with Marion Bailey’s more maternal and jolly Mrs Booth (his mistress). He and his father, “Daddy”, played by Paul Jesson, make quite a matched pair. Indeed, the drama lives up to its name with the two monumental death scenes of Messrs Turner, complete with rattling last breaths, bright yellow light transfiguring a dying face and the breakdown of the loved one left behind. The other supporting actors and actresses all give strong performances, well-outfitted with appropriate Dickensian prose and costume.

Mr Turner is very technically beautiful, with a well-articulated Victorian feel to it, and haunting music which swells as the camera pans across the gorgeous vistas and stunning landscapes which Turner frequents. The cinematography is a poignant visual reminder of the advancing nature of human endeavours, complementing the film’s narrative offerings of Turner’s reactions to the introduction of steam engines and the camera. Quite self-reflective as a whole, Mr Turner also includes some hilariously magniloquent talk of art. It describes the tensions of the British arts scene at the time with both humour and tension, picking up on Mr Turner’s respected position and fondly accepted advice as well as his royal humiliations as a member of the Royal Academy of Arts.

The final word? If you like Mike Leigh, you’ll like this. If you’re after a gripping, tear jerking drama, perhaps not. But it certainly garnered a good few chuckles from my neighbours.