Reflexion by Odilon Redon

This being human is a guest house

This being human is a guest house.Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness,some momentary awareness comesas an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all!Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,who violently sweep your houseempty of its furniture,still, treat each guest honorably.He may be clearing you outfor some new delight. The dark…

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Travel: Wellington’s Chinese New Year Lantern Festival

Despite all of the media beat-up around Corona Virus, the Lantern Festival to celebrate Chinese New Year went ahead on Wellington's waterfront the other night. It was really beautiful, bustling full of people and one of those sacred and special Wellington evenings where there was virtually no wind and all was peaceful, balmy and summery.…

Book Review: The Future by Nick Montfort

Book Review: The Future by Nick Montfort

As long as people have been on this planet they have been formulating, imagining and planning for the future. And their individual and collective visions of this – their future-making and how they frame the future says a lot about the present. The Future by Nick Montfort is a fascinating look at futurism. From the…

Day in the life: Facebook is destroying our understanding of normal life

Mind-expanding books that opened up the world to me as a teenager #Booktag

Some books help you as a teenager to move beyond the claustrophobic and limited world you were born into. We can't help where we were born or who our family is. However, when we are young, if we read the right books, we may just be able to transcend challenging beginnings and see the world…

The 'Kissing in the dark' Valentine's playlist

Kissing in the dark: The non-corney Valentine’s playlist

I just love these songs though, they have something sexy and slightly dark and thrilling to them, a perfect antidote to the sugary-sweet pop that masquerades as modern music and the more cliched romantic songs you would expect for Valentine's Day. There's a bit of house, disco, chill-out, jazz, rock, funk...all of it is pretty amazing in my opinion, let me know what you think. Are there any songs you can remember that remind you of certain romantic encounters? let me know...

Book Review: Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace by Kate Summerscale

The author of the award-winning historical mystery novel The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, Kate Summerscale is back with another novel,this time based on a real life infamous divorce court case of 1858. The first registered divorce in English history. Back in the era when divorce was well and truly a dirty word. The chief exhibit…

Wolf: Lessons from the Wild on Love, Death and Happiness by Mark Rowlands

Book Review: The Philosopher and the Wolf: Lessons from the Wild on Love, Death and Happiness by Mark Rowlands

Every person who loves animals will enjoy this book. Humans are drawn to the silence of animals, the way they physically express their personality through movement and body language, rather than words. The way that they intuit us so deeply and feel what we feel so keenly. The mystical and invisible velvet rope that connects us to animals is sacred to many people.

Exotic Ads of the Past: Candy Cigarettes so kids can smoke like dad

80's kids from Australia or New Zealand will remember cigarettes you could buy at the shop called FAGS. Yes- that's correct, FAGS. Just to make pretend smoking sugary-sweet versions of fake cigarettes even worse, they went ahead and made a gay taunt. And did it make eight year old me feel cool while smoking FAGs…

Book Review: The Art of Gratitude by Jeremy David Engels

Book Review: The Art of Gratitude by Jeremy David Engels

This book totally blew my mind and exploded everything I thought I knew about the nebulous concept of gratitude! The Art of Gratitude is intellectually rigorous, challenging and fascinating. Instead of a new agey spiritual and vague approach to ‘being grateful’, this book traces the history and origins of gratitude in all of its shady forms.

Film Review: Corpus Christi (Boże Ciało)

*Contains no plot spoilers 4.5 stars Readers of this blog will know that I do love Polish culture and Polish films. Here’s another great Polish film that has come out recently and is currently nominated for an Oscar for best international feature film. Corpus Christi, or Boże Ciało as it’s known in Polish, is a black…

Strange Victorian Journeys Into the Fourth Dimension

Strange Victorian Journeys Into the Fourth Dimension

The last gasp of Victorian spirituality infused cutting-edge science with old-school mysticism. Theosophy was all the rage; Many weird and and wonderful ideas being developed at the turn of the century around death, ghosts, the fourth dimension filled the Victorians with a palpable sense of possibility.

Book Review: The Ice Master by Jennifer Niven

Book Review: The Ice Master by Jennifer Niven

This is the ultimate Arctic voyage novel, based on real events. The 1913 Canadian voyage on the Karluk was the worst planned arctic mission in history. The captain declared the boat unsuitable on seeing it and the crew consisted of a rag-tag bunch of wannabes with no experience in Arctic weather. The scientists on the voyage had never stepped out of a classroom.

Book Review: A Beginner’s Guide to Japan Observations and Provocations by Pico Iyer

Book Review: A Beginner’s Guide to Japan Observations and Provocations by Pico Iyer

Time magazine journalist and author Pico Iyer has lived in Nara (land of the rabid deer) in Japan for the past 30 years. In this book, Iyer follows his instincts to uncover the depths of the Japanese psyche, Japanese soul and character. This is fascinating to me because I am (in case you didn’t know)…

Here be the Viking Hoard: The Mystery of the Lewis Chessmen http://wp.me/p41CQf-ItW

Here be the Viking Hoard: The Mystery of the Lewis Chessmen

The Lewis Chessmen were likely to have been made in Trondheim in Norway from walrus ivory. This kind of bone was hard to come across at the time (1150-1200 A.D), as it required hunting during a brief window of time per year in the Arctic Circle, using primitive hunting tools of the time and in…

A frog in a well never knows the vast ocean

A frog in a well never knows the vast ocean

A frog in a well never knows the vast ocean There is an ancient Taoist expression that 'A frog in a well never knows the vast ocean'. This is a reminder to be humble and to accept the world as being vast, with our own knowledge of it limited. We must never assume to have…

Mt Egmont Taranaki from the sky. Copyright Content Catnip 2020: A year of hope, peace and adventure

2020: A year of hope, peace and adventure

Too often when we have busy lives we can easily become over-wrought with anxiety and worries about whether we are doing enough, achieving enough or making the most out of every moment in life. Life becomes a to-do list or a check-list of tasks instead of a pleasure. I vow to listen to my body and mind and take it easy when I need to, just simply being instead of doing or creating things.

Olaus Magnus’s Carta marina of 1539

Ancient word of the day: Kraken

A Kraken is a mythical behemoth. A man-eating and fearsome gigantic cephalopod that drove fear into the hearts of sea-going Scandanavians. The word kraken comes from the Swedish word “krake”, which means twisted. Seen traditionally as a beast to be feared and respected, it also embodied a sense of deep oceanic magic and mystery. Kraken…