Thursday, December 18, 2008

Man dies after retirement party hijinks

What a bummer start to retirement.

Man dies after retirement party hijinks - Stuff.co.nz

In other weird news, a man has offered his daughter to the infamous shoe thrower. I hope she's hot.

And Satan's Santa's Army is on the march...

Light blogging for a month or so while I rest, relax, harvest nuts, strawberries, raspberries, avacados, mow lawns, write my novel & wonder where my money went.

Aside from the odd bereavement here & there, Chez Llew has had a great year & we expect an even greater one next.

I may post between now & then, but if not, have a really great Christmas & New Year y'all.

The TAWAs: All The Info | the wellingtonista

Aw man, I'm so slack I didn't get around to pimping this august occasion - the Third Annual Wellingtonista Awards (hint: next year will be the FAWAs).

In fact, I didn't even get around to voting!

Anyway, I can't make it, you should go though, if you can, they tell me I had a great time last year.

The TAWAs: All The Info | the wellingtonista

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

And Furthermore.

OK, I'm not yet used to being namechecked on Radio NZ National (they'll always be National Radio to me), but I'm working on it.

David was kind enough to bring this idea to Kathryn Ryan's attention.

The Parliamentary complex has a perfectly functional banquet hall & if the current regime are keen to see departments squander less money on "retreats" and conferences, perhaps they could offer the hall & the services of the in house caterers to all departments at a discount.

But furthermore, it occurs to me that there are several other grand "State Houses" around so that departments would not be confined to visiting the same venue year in year out. There's Government House for instance, Premier House, that place on the Terrace (or is it Bolton St) thet Bill English dossed in during the Great Potato's regime - feck it is huge.

But most of all, there's a venue that offers all* the experiential fun of Outward Bound - the Civil Defence Bunker beneath the Beehive. Those agencies tired of slumming it in a sleeping bag on a scout hall floor, can slum it in a sleeping bag on a wire bunk beneath the centre of this country's power.

And to digress for a moment, if this arrangement had been in place all those years ago, pause & momentarily ponder what sleeping bags & sleeping attire might be sported by Christine Rankin & 45 of her top executive team at the WINZ Hunker in the Bunker Annual Retreat (TM)

Radio New Zealand National : Programmes A-Z : Nine to Noon : 20081215

*Statement may be subject to gross exaggeration

Monday, December 08, 2008

House Guests

When we arrived home the other night, the front porch was strangely covered with dried weeds & grass. How odd we thought.

Later, Mrs Llew cleaned it up. The next day, I was on my way inside when a big blackbird seemed to launch itself out of nowhere in front of me.

Then I saw it.

Blackbird Central

Blackbird central

There are two eggs in there, and occasionally a watchful bird. It looks so like a christmas decoration we're going to embellish it slightly & try to remember not to turn on the light.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Not so Fast, a Possible Late Entry...

Mary-Kate Olsen reportedly pregnant - Stuff.co.nz

Game Over

We have a winner.

Big pay day for Ashlee's baby Mowgli - Stuff.co.nz: "Bronx Mowgli Wentz"

The long running game by the world's celebrities to give the most reckless, irresponsible & downright reprehensible name to their spawn has finally been won, by Ashley Simpson.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Soundtrack to your life.

So what is it goes through your head as you confidently slope around town? I must shamefully confess that on my way to work this morning, the offending song was "Long Haired Lover from Liverpool" by Jimmy Osmond. But that was a freakish and disturbing aberration.

Usually, of late anyway, and no-one who knows me will be surprised, I'm sure, it is SO me, it is this:

Paging Drs Splatt and Weedon!

Prompted by this excellent story on how men are the only winners in the prostitution law reform, featuring salient comments from National Council of Women of New Zealand president Elizabeth Bang, I asked my colleagues at the Wellingtonista if they know of a word that covers surnames appropriate for certain professions or office - like for instance, Dr Payne the dentist.

There's no single word, but a term has been coined: Nominative determinism.

And there are some great examples, Cardinal Sin, Lord Justice Judge, but my very favourites are Drs Splatt and Weedon, world famous urologists and experts in incontinence.

Monday, November 10, 2008

DIY Tips from SunnyO #1

Trust the man with the experience.

Weed Spraying Tips:

Beware of spraydrift.

No SPraydrift

Be careful where you walk, especially do not tread weedkiller throughout property.

Footsteps

...

Bugger

New Zealanders living longer.

See, one day into a new Conservative government & the news is all good. Thank you Mr Key. And Mr Hide. And Dr Jekyll.

New Zealanders living longer - New Zealand news on Stuff.co.nz

Fantastic comment

Over at Kiwiblog.

Crimes have been committed - money stolen, people hurt and killed for no reason, the country betrayed.


Winston | Kiwiblog

Must get me some of those category things so that I can categorise things under "idiocy" and the like.

The need to swiftly arrest and bring to trial Labour and Green MPs, as well as that fat slug Jim Anderton, is imperative. Some of them are already planning to flee the country with state assets.


Who knew things had got this far?

Friday, November 07, 2008

And, it's educational.

Steve Crow & the Boobs on Bikes Team demostrate the difference between "For Sale" and "For Rent".

Available by the hour

Click for bigger image.

'Boobs' parade ends at Parliament - Stuff.co.nz

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Campaign Slogan that Wasn't.

I don't have photoshop, if you do, you're welcome to this:

Live Free - Die Hard, New Zealand First

Harder to kill than Rasputin

NZ First Cleared By Police

Friday, October 31, 2008

All Hallows Eve

When I was a kid, there wan't any trick or treating. Or at least, not where I lived. For starters, we lived in a cul de sac on a hillside bordered by a canal on one side & woods on another & open fields on a third.

In those days, in that place, Hallowe'en was about ghouls, witches & monsters roaming the woods waiting for hapless children to catch & eat. It was all a bit Hansel & Gretel. I daresay in my grandparents' days there'd have been wolves in them thar woods (now those woods are a massive ticky tacky housing development & probably have more ghouls & witches per hectare than there ever were then).

It is autumn in those parts, and in those days, daylight saving was unheard of & so we'd huddle inside from the dark & the cold & play rustic games like "bobbing for apples" (involved trying to eat apples floating in water withpout using your hands) and something with toffee apples hanging from a string (which you also had to consume without hands). My dad would roast chestnuts on the open fire.

And in a week's time the entire neighbourhood would congregate on the fields around a massive bonfire setting off fireworks ^ sparklers, and yes, roasting chestnuts (and potatoes) on an open bonfire. Didn't seem to worry about ghouls & witches on that night.

The Hellingtonista! [maniacal laughter] | the wellingtonista

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Without a shred of evidence - I am certain of this.

Winston will already have been approached by the Dancing with the Stars people. They'd have to give him Rebecca (the others would be too tall). He's probably declined because I can't see him in skin tight fishnet shirts (more to the point, I won't watch that).

But I am certain he's been approached.

Sas' Magical Mystery Tour: separated at birth: #2

Is it just me?

Everytime I hear this:



I hear this:



Yes, that's the Eddie Munster kid in Lidsville (funny, I always thought it was the execrable Jack WIld (RIP, I just found out).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oddest thing to cross my desk (so far) today.

Views & News from Continence Conference

The biennial conference of the New Zealand Continence Association took place at the Kingsgate Hotel, Te Rapa, Waikato from September 12 to 14. The general theme for the confernce was Investigating Incontinence - Humanity and Technology. A wide range of topics were discussed. This magazine presents selected and edited reports.

I don't think we need to get into the er, business of the matter.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Aliens will fix world's problems - later today.

Relax, it's all going to be fine, a psychic called Blossom Goodchild says so., In fact, she says that benign aliens will "come in love", today, and sort things out for us. Possibly with vibrators.

I only hope they're really hot & wearing lycra.

Aliens to arrive today - psychic - Stuff.co.nz

Monday, October 13, 2008

Crackdown on Christmas crackers

Hee - I could wear a sensible water flow regulation (6 litres per minute isn't it though), but if the Gummint is trying to play down the "nanny state" aspect, they need a new strategy.

Crackdown on crackers - Stuff.co.nz

Following years of carnage exacted in freak Christmas cracker accidents, I'm astonished to learn only now that they are classed as "fireworks" and subject to importation of explosives regulations.

Cool.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Yay!, season 2 of the Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles starts next week. And bonus, there's a new T-1000 on the block, and it's played by Shirley Manson.

Shirley Manson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Oh - and yes, Torchwood is improving - I skipped the one with the dead guy/ghost, because that looked silly, but I really enjoyed the one with the people who took off in 1953 & landed half an hour later in 2006, that was quite moving (although the guy who plays Owen is a dweeb). And the one where Tosh & Jack end up in 1941 meeting the real Capt. Jack Harkness was good too - in fact, for a moment there I thought the old man/caretaker who seems to be able to travel through time might be the original Dr Who!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Goose is Getting Fat

Cripes, Christmas is coming faster than expected.

This year, Christmas will be hosted at SunnyO - it's a big enough place that we've successfully hosted up to 50 people in the past, and there's a motel 5 minutes walk away for people staying longer who can't be accommodated onsite.

Mrs Llew is from a big family... 7 kids (I think, at last count), there'll be 4 generations of her family on board. If you watch the series Brothers & Sisters you'll know the drill - the gay sibling, the addict, at least two of them not talking to each other at any given time, the brother who left his wife for Sienna Miller, and years & years of secrets, intrigue & grievance *.

I'm from a family whose numbers are fewer & dwindling... I offered to host because I thought it'd be nice for my mum to spend her first Christmas without her daughter among family. My brother was committed to another excursion & can't make it unfortunately. And to complicate matters, my Mum is determined to spend Christmas alone.

It's shaping up to be a goodie already.

* Not all of these apply in real life.

Apologies for the lack of photographs recently, it's a long & boring story, but I'll find a camera & make the effort soon - the garden is very photogenic in Spring, especially when the lawns are mowed.

New Toy Alert

Cheetah Plus
I'm not a huge fan of lawnmowing. Nor am I a huge fan of lawn mowers. Nor any machinery really.

Which is ironic, because I have nearly 2 acres of lawn & more small engined machines on the property than most people have in their lifetimes.

And in my defense, I inherited most of these machines when we bought the property.

I brought my own chainsaw and a linetrimmer, but in addition to that I now have:

Another chainsaw
Another bigger (you have to wheel it around) linetrimmer
A chipping machine
A cheap lawnmower
An ancient ride-on mower (Countax brand, although remove the "a", and move the "o" and you can guess how I pronounce it) which no longer picks up the clippings & mainly flattens the lawn rather than cuts it.
An old farm trike, which we've only managed to start twice because the pull start is so munted.

And there are sundry electric devices too - a yard blower, which is a waste of space, and a nut de-husking machine, which looks like junk thrown into a heap & bolted together, but it works real well.

The ride-on has caused the most trouble, it's estimated at 20 years old & has already cost us more than $1k getting the catcher fixed, which lasted nearly a year.

We've muddled through Autumn & Winter with the mowing, but the spring flush beat us this weekend.

It takes, they say, 5 hours to mow all of our lawn. I wouldn't know because I've never done the whole lot in one go. And the last few months have hardly seen 5 hours of sustained dry weather.

This weekend we bit the bullet & decided we needed a new mower - not just a mower actually, but something to tow the trailer around the property since we can't get the trike running.

So down to Borat we went (Note, he just looks like Borat & has an unidentifiable European accent). I was thinking a John Deere, because everyone tells me they're the Stihl or Husqvarna of the mower world - ie, reliable & long lasting. We've put this purchase off for a while because quite frankly, we could buy two relatively new model Japanese cars for what one of these things goes for.

But Borat recommended a Kiwicat Cheetah II, which looks like the sport version of the Cuntox (did I say that?). He said the things never break down & they're made from standard parts, and a Honda engine & they do a great job.

So we took him at his word, we could have bought 1.5 2nd hand japanese cars for the same price, but what the hey!

Anyway, bottom line is Mrs Llew is pleased with the croquet lawn for the first time in 2 years. It was worth it.

I still hate doing lawns, but this thing has twice the cutting width & should therefore get through the lot in 2.5 hours! We'll see.

Oh - and it is Kiwi made!!

Next week perhaps, adventures in selling old ride-on mowers & farm trikes on Trademe.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

No grounds to censure Peters

Oh well... if you can't beat 'em....

No grounds to censure Peters - Cullen - Stuff.co.nz

Dr Cullen said the evidence had to be greater than MPs believing it to be true, because Mr Henry and Mr Peters denied it.


If I am ever up on charges in court, I sincerely hope that the judge subscribes to the same logic.

I mean seriously, What. The. Fuck?

Road-rage driver burns to death

Another contender for the Darwin Awards.

Road-rage driver burns to death - Stuff.co.nz

And this reminds me of a story I read in one of the local (Kapiti) newspapers recently, I wish I'd kept it as I can't find it online.

Anyway, some young guy was burning rubber doing doughnuts in the street, he had a bit of an audience, so showing off, he opened the car door...

...and fell out of his moving car (WAY COOL & CLEVER), which narrowly missed running over & killing him. The car careened across the road & into a lampost. An injured man limped to it & shamefacedly drove away.

Police found him shortly afterwards, at home, bleeding profusely.

They did name the doofus, but I can't remember what it was.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Anger over demise of Kiwi lollies

I wonder how many of those angry at the end of these (in my view, horrible) confections, have actually bought them in the last few years?

You vote with your wallets if you want things to remain on the market.

Anger over demise of Kiwi lollies - Stuff.co.nz

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Mum, the Prize winning gardener

I popped out to see my mum yesterday, she's been laid low with a bout of bronchitis - the first time she's ever suffered that particular ailment. She's had a rough year, but she's pretty resilient.

Anyway, she looked & sounded better than I expected, the drugs must be working.

And she told me an amusing story (which, fingers crossed she doesn't check here...) is not always the case :)

Last Friday, while laid particularly low, she got a call from a friend urging her to enter her camellias in the Lower Hutt Horticultural Show on that weekend.

Mum is a bit of a gardener, but not hugely so, and she was sick at the time of the call & so she told her friend that she wouldn't be bothering, she didn't even know the show was on & she was not a particularly dedicated camellia grower - it is possible that the only attention these bushes have ever received was when they were planted a few decades ago.

Her friend persisted, and irritated, mum told her she was welcome to come & pick some flowers, but she herself wasn't at all interested.

And that's the last she thought of the matter, until she got another call on Sunday telling her she'd won 1st & 2nd prize in the "Novice" section of the competition.

camellias - Google Image Search

When I told this to Mrs Llew last night, she pointed out that it is conceivable that some decades ago I was called out to dig holes & plant the camellias in the first place.

I considered that for a moment & it dawned on me that I am the prize winning camellia grower!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Caribou Barbie

Absolutely priceless

College OTR OTR: Sarah Palin as "Caribou Barbie" Realized

Hat/tip to Kerry Weston

All competitions should be like this

I just won a Snapper card which has been pre-loaded with some amount of money that I can't quite recall.

Entry was via an email link from the e-magazine of a company I do business with. All I had to do was click the link & answer some (forgotten) skill question in the subject field & click send.

A second or two later the message bounced back with an error. A little sniffing around revealed that they'd made a typo in the email recipient's address.

I corrected it & sent it back.

I surmise I was the only one who bothered to rectify the error :)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Torchwood - I have an issue

Been watching a couple of episodes of Torchwood - the one with the fairies at the bottom of the garden (liked it), and the one set in the Brecon Beacons (a desolate place that I've mentioned before on this blog someplace - it's the Welsh equivalent of the Desert Road, complete with army manoeuvres, and that episode was so-so.).

Anyway, here's my issue:

If Capt Jack is invulnerable & immortal, how come he lets Gwen crash through the farm door first, so that she collects a shotgun blast? Doesn't it make sense to send the unkillable one in?

Sheesh. It's little things like this that can ruin a show. Aside from that & the feeling that a couple of the cast at least can't do action to save themselves, I like it.

BBC - Torchwood - Homepage

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Meet the Governor.

Meat the Gov

Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska reclines on the carcass of a Kodiak bear she has just killed with her bare hands & dragged in from the backyard after the luckless beast wandered into the Gubernatorial mansion looking for salmon in the fish pond.

A weary but satisfied Gov Palin then tucked into a King Crab lunch prepared by her staff.

Next issue: Old Youtube footage of a bikini clad Gov. Palin machine-gunning elks.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Brian Lochore on Political correctness

It may well be the reporting to blame, but can anyone make sense of what Sir Brian is saying?

Brian Lochore: Political correctness destroying NZ - Stuff.co.nz

"We are living in a PC world which is destroying us, where you actually can't put the hard word on people when they have digressed and committed bad blunders," he said.

Um... Just let us know who's transgressed (I presume that's what you mean) Brian, and we'll send a few of the boys around. No sweat.

He said his daughters went to a rugby game at three weeks old, and later played in the mud while their dad downed a jug in the bar after a game.

"In the evenings we went to the rugby parties with the kids, who slept in the back of the car. We can't do that any more because we haven't got rid of the perpetrators that actually destroy our society."

Say what? I kind of get the first bit: people are no longer free to get pissed while the kids play outside in the mud (was the motorway not handy?) and later sleep in the car, bacause the olds are STILL in the club pissing up large. I'm not quite sure who he's blaming for this state of affairs though. Unless by "perpetrators" he means the Gummint.

"The one thing I believe is important in life is respect. They respected authority, they respected teachers, I respected the teachers. We lack a great deal of respect for authority nowadays, there's always someone protesting."

He says that like it's a bad thing. I have little doubt that protesters protested in his day too. But hey, he's free to state his opinion, even if he thinks others shouldn't.

Sir Brian admitted to smacking his children, "but I've never hit them".

"Yes, I smacked other people's children, but I never hit them. But we are not allowed to do that any more in this PC world."

Dear me. And good.

So to summarise:

NZ is being destroyed because people who respect authority are no longer allowed to take vigilante action against those who may have transgressed, parents can't leave their kids unsupervised while they get pissed somewhere else, we can no longer physically "discipline" our & others' children, and too many people are protesting.

It's a disgrace I tell you!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The F-All Plan Diet. And Labradors.

The Kelburn Vet Clinic rang me the other day to remind me (I hadn't forgotten) that Wilma was due for her 12 monthly checkup and vaccinations.

Actually, I had been a bit remiss, I got the reminder a month ago, and only last week I found lump on her side that I thought should be checked out promptly.

My reservation was that Wilma is clearly a little... stout at present, and could do to lose a few kilos before coming under the watchful eye of one of the vets (they seem obsessed with weight & teeth - of your pets of course, although just as an aside, the two primary vets are very svelte and attractive, and have exceptional teeth, so maybe this is some sort of unconscious projection.)

The clinic is a few houses along from our place, but a few houses in the opposite direction to that which Wilma & I take on our daily walks. So she was apprehensive the moment I corrected her trajectory with a breezy "This way." She knows that means to change direction.

She started to get really worried when I shortened the lead as we approached the vet's, she's used to taking a very wide berth past their doorway.

And in we swooped! Wilma spinning slightly as she settled to patiently, and rather optimistically, face the exit.

While no-one was looking, I coaxed her onto the scales. 34.4 kg. Bugger. Fat Bitch. A receptionist appeared at the computer terminal & enquired as to her weight. I was entirely honest.

And I was slightly gladdened in one way, to see that we were to be attended by a new vet who wasn't familiar with Wilma's history. And slightly disappointed that we weren't to see the hot female vet (not that I make a habit of channeling Jon Arbuckle or anything). And then totally disappointed to discover the new guy had a printout of her history.

"ooh. She's put on some weight!"
"Um. Yes."

Wilma was pretty much dragged across the polished floor into the consultation room. Every time she was urged to stand up to be examined, she kind of slid down with her back to the ground, a puzzling but highly effective manoeuvre

Her teeth checked out - we've been keeping her from the macadamia nuts this year. She was led out the back & had a biopsy performed on her slightly worrying lump (fat deposit, nothing to worry about). She took her vaccinations like a brave little dog should.

And then I took the lecture about fat pets. Although this was from the new guy & not so bad as usual, the Fat Pet Lecture from the boss is infamous around Kelburn. You should hear the guy whose lab is 47kg moan about it.

And I learned that avocados are poisonous to dogs.

"They can't be that poisonous!?" I queried, "Wilma has eaten LOADS!"

But anyway, in the interests of regaining her waist, and her preferred upper limit of 30kg, she's now on the avocado-less diet. And the carbo-free diet (aside from whatever is in dog food naturally). And reduced rations of the labrador specific dog food I only bought the day before yesterday. Whatever will they think of next to part me from my money? Although to be fair, I bought it because it came with a free doggy travel bed. They have cool free stuff with dog & cat food now & then.

And it won't take that long to get her down to 30kg, we've done it before.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Phil Lewin

It's fair to say that the death of my sister in March has cast a pall over this year. The pain from the loss of someone close never really goes away, but it does get easier to bear. However, it may be a while before I regain the spontaneous inspiration to post that I used to enjoy. Somehow this year hasn't been as funny as others. That happens, I guess.

And onwards...

Early in 1973, a skinny kid with an angry scar on his face & a funny accent was introduced to his new school and classmates. Among them was a guy with a permanent grin & an irrepressible wit, his name was Phil Lewin & he befriended me.

Phil would march between classes with a merry "Ta ra ra boomteyay, I'll take your pants away, and while you're standing there, I'll steal your underwear." or a version of John Denver's Country Road, into which various gynaecological terms had been seamlessly integrated.

I knew almost no-one, but Phil knew everyone. Like most conservative old schools, it had something of an underground bully culture, there were some kids you just steered clear of. Not Phil though, on spying one particularly feared hulk (who looked for all the world like the bully character in the Dennis the Menace cartoons), Phil would bellow "Duuuuh! MacPhee you moron!". For some reason MacPhee would merely curse & walk away.

I was only at that school for half a year or so, before my family moved into deepest Hutt Valley & I changed college. But as chance would have it, we moved to a place just around the corner from Phil's grandmother & so as the years passed, I'd often see him & other family members on their way to visit.

Later, we caught up at University, he was studying English Lit & French. He told me he took French because there were 300 in the class, of whom 296 were women, whilst the other 3 guys were gay.

A clever guy, he appeared on University Challenge, was a Rhodes Scholar, career diplomat and business lobbyist. I heard rumours that he was being urged to enter politics. He would have been a dream Wellington Central candidate.

It's been a few years since we last spoke, probably shortly after he returned from a posting in Moscow. I always figured we'd catch up one day again. I was wrong.

My sympathies go to his family, his wife & kids, his sister, and his mother. Mothers shouldn't have to farewell their children like that, but it happens.

So long Phil. You went far too soon.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Apostro-catastrophic tornado

Have they outsourced the sub editors already?

"There's only one wall standing at the woolshed and our garage roof was ripped off so it's pretty much a right off."

The family home also suffered extensive roof damage and the Bell's believe the tornado lifted their house off its footings.


Family terrified as tornado rips through home - New Zealand news on Stuff.co.nz

Chainsaw Frenzy

I was starting to get a bit worried about firewood this winter. I mean, we've enough for this year, but it's been getting near time to sort out next year's woodpile. The options were:

1. Cut down a few expendable trees which aren't particularly great burning wood, but which are free, or

2. Buy some macracarpa in, but winter isn't really the best time to be buying firewood.

Anyway, last Wednesday's storm has solved the problem. When we arrived, there were bits of beech all over the front garden & I thought "Cool! Firewood!". It wasn't till an hour or so later that I looked in the orchard... needless to say, I haven't even got to the front garden to clean up the beech yet.

Storm damage

Storm damage

Storm damage

Another metre & the berry house would have been totalled.

Storm damage

Storm damage

Storm damage

Storm damage

There used to be a young macadamia tree here. Oh well, we had too many anyway.

Storm damage

The neighbourhood was without power for 36 hours. We weren't there, but if we had been, our biggest problem would have been water, we have gas & gas water heating, but we're on bore water & the pump is powered by electricity.

Every time the rain eased this weekend, the peace in the neighbourhood was disturbed by the sound of chainsaws firing up. Not least at SunnyO. There's now a large woodpile weathering away in the orchard, and I should have the fence upright by the end of next weekend - when I get the last of the stump from the big pine tree off it.

I need to think of a back up solution for the water, but I'm sorted for firewood.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Curiously sad.

This has done the rounds before, but I came across it again today & it really is a most curious thing - remove Garfield from the cartoons & the strip oozes pathos.

Garfield minus Garfield

Click for bigger image.

garfield minus garfield

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Talking of dogs...

Last Saturday, we were a bit too late to take Wilma down to the beach for a run, so I walked her a kilometre or so to a local public park. This park is bordered by State Highway 1 & used to be home to a couple of horses. In the last few years, it's been converted into a lovely little park area, with native trees, grasses & a couple of streams running through it.

Occasionally I come across other dogs & their owners, but not often.

This night though, as I arrived, there was a lanky character ahead of me, black jeans, tatty jersey, leather jacket, a beanie & white gumboots - he looked like a gang member out without his patch (that sounds judgemental, but bear with me a moment). He was with a dog that looked like it had some Staffordshire Bull Terrier in it.

As we approached, his dog came running up to Wilma, and so I let her off her lead. She & the staffy roamed ahead of the guy & as she passed, Wilma gave him a big smile.

The guy was still ahead of me, he'd looked around, but otherwise ignored us, and as he crossed the rickety bridge over one of the streams, he slipped. Turning, he gestured to me to be careful. I said "Thanks, I noticed you nearly slipped."

Over the bridge, the dogs played for a few moments, the Wilma went off looking for the other stream to splash in mud.

The guy approached, and as he did I noticed that he was bearded & had a droopy eye.

He asked me "Are you from SunnyO? I said that "yes, sometimes I'm from SunnyO, why do you ask?"

He said "Most people keep their dogs away from mine. For some reason they're scared of him."

I had to laugh to myself, because I'm quite sure people are more nervous about him, than his dog. I might have been myself, but Wilma giving him a big smile, when she'd take a wide berth around anyone posing a threat convinced me he was almost certainly harmless. As was his dog, which tellingly, was called "Ricky" rather than "Vengeance" or "Satan". A dead giveaway.

Give a dog a home.

Abused pup marks one year at SPCA - Stuff.co.nz

Monday, July 14, 2008

A missed opportunity

So Brad & Angelina have produced twins. They've given them relatively normal names - a boy called Knox Leon and girl called Vivienne Marcheline.

I tend to agree with the first commenter at the bottom of the story:

How disappointing, these two could have used their superstar status to really push the boundaries of ridiculous celebrity baby names.
#1 Posted by housemonkey — 09:14 AM | Monday , 14 July 2008


Should further superstar issue ensue, and presuming the surname will be "Pitt", may I humbly offer the obvious choices:

Bear
Olive
Cherry
Peach.

I'm sure there are more.

Jolie's newborn twins named (+pics, video) - on Stuff.co.nz

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Whoop whoop - train wreck alert!

Sacha Baron Cohen & Will Ferrell to play Sherlock Holmes & Dr Watson, in a new spoof of the Arthur Conan Doyle super sleuth.

Seriously, no Sherlock Holmes spoof has ever been remotely funny, not the one starring Pete & Dud, nor the John Cleese one, and especially not the Roger Moore one. Additionally, almost nothing with Will Ferrell in it has been remotely funny either.

Just the idea of Sacha and Will as Sherlock Holmes and Watson makes us laugh," Columbia Pictures co-president Matt Tolmach said in a statement.

Ha ha ha! Just the idea of some smug, ignorant prat saying this makes me laugh. Muahahaha!

Did someone say "Bewitched?". Jeez Matt, just announce these two are in a new remake of Casablanca & be done with it. And your career.

Borat to wear Sherlock Holmes' hat - New Zealand - Stuff.co.nz

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Myth Busters - Population and Sustainable Development

Fascinating stuff - while searching the website of the Dept of Statistics (that's what I call fun), I came across this page examining a number of myths associated with the New Zealand population - the "Brain Drain", the "browning" of New Zealand, and more.

Worth a look.

Myth Busters - Population and Sustainable Development

I wonder if the Dept of Justice have one on crime spiralling out of control?

Friday, June 27, 2008

I'm enjoying the new Terminator series

Scary RobotTerminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles takes place immediately after the events of Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Lena Headey plays Sarah Connor, Thomas Dekker is her son John, the soon-to-be saviour of humankind.

In the pilot episode, John's laying low in a school in New Mexico, in 1999, when a new teacher reveals himself to be a terminator sent back in time to kill him.

Luckily the weird girl in his class also reveals herself to be a terminator (they're all over the place in this series) sent to replace the T-Arnie model destroyed at the end of the 2nd movie. This terminator, Cameron, is played straightfaced, by the awesome Summer Glau (NB: this photo is absolutely not from the series).

Forget Terminator 3: The Terminatrix (or whatever it was called), that didn't happen. Because what the T-Summer does, is transport Sarah & John 7 years into the future (thus, avoiding for the time being, Sarah's death from cancer that was reported in T3), to 2006.

The game's still the same, protect John from a legion of robots sent back to eliminate him, and try to find the origins of Skynet (now a prototype chess playing computer called The Turk).

CameronIt's violent, it's funny & it captures the same atmosphere as T2 - plenty of juxtaposing the petite Ms Glau with all manner of mechanical objects, and the same sort of humour is derived as the benign terminator learns to pass as human. It's worth watching the series just for the magnificently perfunctory "grief counselling" Cameron suffers after being the last "person" to speak (surreally) to a suicidal student. Emo, she's not.

There are also some nice nods to the earlier films, for instance, Cameron patrols LA in police uniform, rayban aviators (in the dead of night) and a motorbike. Sarah quips "Somewhere there's a naked policeman bleeding in an alley".

Oh, and that guy that always stuck me as a martian in Beverly Hills 90210 - Brian Austin Green, is also in it - he's Kyle Reese's brother (John's uncle).

Glau's a trained ballerina & one episode has her undercover at a ballet school. Later, a character muses that once machines learn to appreciate art, they may not feel the need to wipe out humanity - and cut to: Cameron alone in her room practising her ballet moves in the mirror.

Smart, violent, funny, and not unimportantly, a talented & attractive cast.

Series 2 has just been commissioned. Yay.

More Summer Glau photos (SFW) for your entertainment.

summer glau terminator - Google Image Search

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lookout Daniel Radcliffe

I've yet to see a film featuring Sienna Millar, so I'm not qualified to comment on her acting talents. But I can put 2 & 2 together & divine that Ms Miller has top class talents in other areas.

Consider - if you happen to be a young, presentable actor, and especially if you're British, it's probably only a matter of time before Sienna will get around to you.

SO look out Daniel! (Or perhaps more likely, Rupert Grint.)

Rhys Ifans throws phone tantrum after Sienna split - Stuff.co.nz

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Dark is Rising - now a major film!

Actually, given it jettisons most of the original plot & changes everything else, it's more like the "major" film that they made out of The Wizard of Earthsea. A steaming heap, in other words.

The Seeker (film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Why do they bother?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Winter Harvest

Hanging nutsWinter Harvest has commenced. That’s the harvest of 4 of the macadamia trees that are ready in the middle of the year. In Winter, in fact. There’s another harvest later in the year, we call that one the “Not the Winter Harvest”.

Some macadamia trees drop their nuts. These are the Winter Harvest trees. The nuts on the other trees hang tight until Not Winter.

Last year, we harvested 49.9kg from all 4 Winter Harvest trees. That seemed like a lot at the time. This weekend, we harvested 62.5kg from two of the trees (not counting some 20kg of windfalls picked earlier in the month). That was two trailer loads (ok, small trailer). We only had time for two of the trees because as soon as they’re picked they have to be run through the smelly & noisy de-husking machine, or the husks will taint the nuts.

De-husking is a long & tedious task. My arms hurt today from hours & hours of cajoling & wrestling nuts through a tiny opening. But there’s something satisfying about the 6 sacks hanging in the drying room now. They’ll hang for 3 months, before being given a bit of a booster drying through the ovens (very low temperature). I expect them, at that stage, to weigh about 45kg.

Harvesting any kind of home grown produce is satisfying, Mrs Llew managed to find time this weekend to finish picking the granny smiths, about 5 20 litre buckets full, she’s given a fair few away, and stewed & frozen what she’s kept. We enjoyed apple crumble the other night, first apple crumble in decades for me.

We’ve also now got a pantry well stocked with quince jam, quince paste, quince & apple jelly, crab-apple jelly. Mrs Llew bought herself a stainless steel preserving pan which sits proudly on the stove top (because we don’t have a cupboard big enough to put it away.)

I remember my mum doing all this stuff when I was a kid (she still does, actually), but I was still staggered at how much sugar goes into preserves... I can see we'll be buying it by the sackload next year.

Aside from processing our own produce, the other old worldey sort of thing we do is make our own stock – in fact, there is a large stainless steel stock pot sitting proudly beside the preserving pan, every few weeks I simmer the collection of chicken carcasses that we keep in the freezer, along with whatever else I can find to chuck in – leeks, celery, herbs , carrots, onions, salt & pepper. I simmer the whole lot for a day or two, before straining the stock off (the sludge gets fed to the dog, by now any chicken bones are the consistency of chalk.)

The stock will set to the consistency of jelly. We freeze it for later.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Save Central - NZBC

If someone would be so kind as to click through this link, save the picture within & photoshop some wind turbines onto those ranges...

Save Central - NZBC

...I will post a companion piece.,

Tax cuts blamed for mortgage rate rise

Banks Blame Tax Cuts for Mortgage Rates Rise - Stuff.co.nz

I don't get it - tax cuts have been announced, but not yet implemented, how can they be responsible for increased interest rates?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Civil Defence Bunker down, we're all DOOMED!!

It's probably 15 years since I was last in the famed Civil Defence Centre that's underneath the Beehive. You know the one - it's where the government retire to in the event of the Big One, so that they can govern the country in safety. Or something like that.

Nats call for inquiry into Civil Defence power lapse - Stuff.co.nz

But anyway...

I was disappointed that the place was like a tramping hut, bunks, rudimentary cooking facilities (& PCs bolted to the desks so that they survive earthquakes.) No high tech communications, the PCs weren't even networked, no big screen from which to monitor the catastrophe through satellite images. Of course, it may well have changed since then.

One thing I remember the Civil Defence fellow telling us, which doesn't seem to have been imparted to Helen & John, is that this bunker exists in order to manage the aftermath of a disaster that occurs outside of Wellington.

Think about it, if (or when) the Big One comes, do you really think Civil Defence staff will be able to dig their way through the rubble of the collapsed Beehive? The CD guy showing us around was scornful of the chances of that.

No, apparently (and I am prepared to be corrected if this is wrong or has changed) there exists another Civil Defence bunker somewhere in Auckland, possibly it's above ground, that's the one to be used in the event of a disaster befalling the Capital.

Nat MP Hone Carter (remember him?) said, through a hole in his head:

"It's not acceptable that there's a gap. This is our civil defence emergency headquarters that we are talking about here. These guys should be able to respond immediately."

The place isn't even staffed around the clock as far as I know. Hone's as full of wind as he always has been.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lurching into the new millennium

I finally have a DVD recorder. I note that in September 2005, my technological priorities were over-ridden:

SunnyO: Technological priorities

But now, thanks to an unchaperoned visit to LV Martin (to buy vaccuum cleaner bags), and a quick survey of the Consumer Org website, I have a brand new Panasonic something or other.

I will note, that the reason for this reckless purchase is the death of our previous DVD player the other night, and the temporary absence of the backup player, the PS2 mentioned in the link.

It remains to be seen if I can wire it up so that I can record from MySky. Could be a frustrating evening.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Newspaper Editor Blames "System".

Rob Olsen, the editor of the Wellingtonian has responded to my request that my "Addressed Mail Only" sign be respected:

What is your house address?
Rob Olsen, editor, The Wellingtonian474
0147editor@thewellingtonian.co.nz

To which I replied:
Does that matter?
It's the one with an "Addressed mail only" sign.
Please respect my wishes.
Which got me this:
Is it 1 Woodward Street? It matters if you want the paper stopped.

It's not, and I think it unfair to all the other "Addressed Mail Only" sign owners that we have to personally plead with anyone, to stop putting unwanted stuff on our property.

But Rob says it's out of his hands. It's the "System".

Without an address I can't act. We have to instruct the company that delivers the paper not to deliver to specific addresses. "Addressed Mail Only" is obviously not enough info. I am sorry to have to labour this point but that's the system. Otherwise I suggest you take it up with my manager Diane Clayton on 474 0362.
Rob Olsen, editor, The Wellingtonian474
0147editor@thewellingtonian.co.nz

The first unstamped Foolscap envelope bearing the two copies of the Wellingtonian that were delivered last week should be arriving on Rob's desk today or tomorrow.

Friday, May 16, 2008

To the editors of Capital Times & The Wellingtonian

That sign on my letterbox which says "Addressed Mail Only" means that until you start addressing your junkmail to me personally, it does not get put in my letterbox.

I'll be addressing every copy that arrives from now on, back to you, without postage.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Teen steals dad's credit card to buy hookers - Stuff.co.nz

When I read the headline I thought: "This kid should go into politics." Then I read the article & it turns out: "Hardy said that when he's older, he wants to be a politician.""

Mouaha. And get this:

"The teens reportedly told the prostitutes they were 'people of restricted growth' working in a travelling circus, and couldn't refuse them because it would be discriminating against the disabled, which is against Texas law.

The two girls sensed something was wrong when the boys preferred to play Halo rather than engage in their services.

US teen steals dad's credit card to buy hookers - Stuff.co.nz:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My final word on the Hobbit films

They will go like this:

The Hobbit should be fairly short... unless Jackson & del Toro decide to splice some backstory from the appendices of the Lord of the Rings & the Silmarilien. But it's my guess they'll leave that for the second movie.

The Hobbit will cover exactly what's in the book - In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit... through to Bilbo returning home with the ring & some treasure.

The 2nd "Hobbit" film (which probably won't have many if any hobbits in it) could go on for weeks. He's got plot to fill it, but otherwise a blank slate. There're about 80 years to cover between the end of the Hobbit & the start of the Fellowship of the Ring. And here's my guess how it'll go.

The 2nd film will start with a 25 minute run through of the creation of the world according to Tolkein & events up until approximately 90 years before what happens in the Hobbit.

We'll see the Valar & the Maiar, including a chap called Morgoth, who turns to the bad side & becomes a Sith Lord (or something) and his sidekick Sauron. These guys are Maia gone bad. Morgoth is defeated, but Sauron lives on - he's a shapeshifter who can make himself exceedingly beautiful & charming.

Sauron makes gifts of rings of power for the kings of Men, Dwarves & Elves. Secretly, he also forges The One Ring, which binds the others to his service.

The Istari will enter Middle Earth, they're Maia in the form of wise old men, wizards in fact, chief among them are Saruman & Gandalf. The Valar send them to help the denizens of Middle Earth oppose Sauron.

The dwarf Durin will create the underground city of Moria, but he & the city will wake a Balrog which will destroy them all.

We'll see excerpts from the LotR where Isildur & Elrond defeat Sauron. (By now, Sauron's lost the ability to look beautiful & charming & swans around in black armour, covering burnt black skin.)

Then skip thousands of years & we'll see Gandalf enter the dungeons of "the Necromancer" and discover that he's Sauron returned. And Gandalf will find a captive dwarf called Thrain (father of Thorin Oakenshield), a map & key.

All this happens before the stuff in the Hobbit.We'll skip the rest because it will be in the first film, except for a bit where the White Council drive Sauron out of Mirkwood.

Saruman will begin to turn to the dark side.

And then we'll return to Middle Earth to see a very young Aragorn being brought up by Elrond & meeting Arwen, they call him "Estel". We'll probably also see Aragorn serving in the armies of Rohan & Gondor, but under the name Thorongil.

Aragoen will meet Gandalf & they become firm friends. Gandalf asks Aragorn to keep a watch on the Shire.

Gollum will leave his mountain lair & begin to hunt for the thief Baggins. He will meet Shelob, but be caught & tortured by Sauron, who sends his forces to look for Bilbo. Gollum is freed.

Somewhere in here we'll also see Balin & company recolonise the abandoned city of Moria but be defeated after some years by Orcs.

Aragorn will capture Gollum & the goodies will become aware that the Shire & Bilbo are in danger. Gollum wil however, escape from the dwarves in Mirkwood where he was held captive.

Gandalf will go to persude Bilbo to give the ring to Frodo & the story is complete.

There. Easy.

If I'm correct, that must deserve comps to the World Premieres right?

Darth Hughes vs Jedi Jones

It doesn't say where in Britain this happened, but judging by the surnames... it's somewhere in Wales.

Mr Hughes drank 10 litres of wine (!!??). dressed as Darth Vader & then attacked members of Britain's first Jedi Church as they prepared to duel each other with lightsabres. As you do.

Apparently there is video footage somewhere.

Man dressed as Darth Vader attacked Jedis - on Stuff.co.nz

Monday, May 12, 2008

Classic prison escape - Yeah Right! You can't fool me.

I've seen the Shawshank Redemption!

My guess is that the ridiculously neatly knotted rope hanging from the tower is a smokescreen, the guy is really hiding in a cupboard or somewhere, still inside.

Police warn public after classic prison escape - Stuff.co.nz

The witness who saw the escape is a plant.

You heard it here first (although you may never hear it again)

My Pick - The Quest For Erebor will be filmed for the Hobbit movies

Tolkien Geek: The Quest For Erebor

I'll take a punt & guess that these events will be filmed for the 2nd movie, even though they deal with events that occured before the Hobbit.

I got the chronology wrong in my earlier post - so um... don't take anything I say as gospel (or check with the learned TolkeinGeek.)

Friday, May 09, 2008

So what's likely to be in the 2nd Hobbit film?

Well for starters... not many hobbits, if any. I suppose there might be some sightings of Bilbo in the Shire doing not very much in the 80 years (I think the LotR movie made it 60 years) between the events of the Hobbit & the Lord of the Rings. I guess we might see him adopting Frodo at the end.

I must admit I'm doing this from memory & what I've gleaned from different sites in the last few days, but there's enough plot in the appendices of the Lord of the Rings to make a decent movie, just no dialogue nor characterisation.

So what've we got?

From events that took place during the Hobbit, but only mentioned in passing by Gandalf, we will almost certainly see the White Council meet to discuss the "Necromancer" at Dol Guldur. The Necromancer is Sauron returned. Gandalf leaves the dwarves & Bilbo at Mirkwood, and enters the Necromancer's lair. Later, the White Council drive him out & he regroups in Mordor. (this will be in flashback as it occurs either during or before the events of the Hobbit).

We should see Galadriel & Saruman in the White Council scenes.

From the appendices of the Lord of the Rings:

Aragorn meets Arwen. Serves with the Riders of Rohan & also in Minas Tirith. Spends years hunting for Gollum in the wilderness.

Gollum searches Middle Earth for the thief Baggins. He is tracked and caught at various times by both Aragorn & the Rangers, and Sauron's forces. Gollum is tortured by Sauron for news of the ring & Sauron begins hunting Bilbo.

Gollum meets Shelob (the big spider).

Balin, one of the dwarves accompanying Bilbo on his quest, leads a group & recolonises the lost undergound city of Moria. Remember, there's a big fight at his tomb in LotR? So we should see Moria in all its glory, then being destroyed by the Balrog that fought Gandalf.

Saruman begins to turn to the Dark Side & becomes a Sith Lord (Oh wait....).

Gandalf begins to suspect what Bilbo's magic ring really is.

I'll add more as it occurs to me, or I spot it elsewhere.

Mr Spock & The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins

Really, there ought to be a law against actors singing.

The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Most impressively, Nimoy performs, Spock haircut & all! They should've let him wear his ears though.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Hobbit casting

This is amusing - fan speculation about who will or should be in the upcoming Hobbit films. Please note, the only characters from the Lord of the Rings that explicitly appear in the Hobbit are Gandalf, Bilbo, Gollum & Elrond. Although part of the action involves Thranduil, Legolas' father, so it is feasible that Legolas could make a cameo. And should a scene with the White Council be filmed (it gets mentioned in passing), we might also see Galadriel & Saruman. (The appendices to LotR do state that Aragorn & Arwen are not at Rivendell when Bilbo & the dwarves visit (in fact, by the book's chronology, Aragon would be 10, and Arwen a mere couple of thousand years old.)

However, the planned second movie could see lots more return.

MTV Movies Blog » Will Martin Freeman Hitch A Ride To ‘The Hobbit’?

But really, what's most amusing is that these people don't realise most of these parts will be filled by actors we in NZ know from Shortland Street & Outrageous Fortune.

And what's the chance James McAvoy plays Bilbo? At 76 or so Sir Ian Holm probably won't want to be doing the stunts involved.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Cash in chips, we're off to Oz

The link takes you to an opinion piece on chippies, healthy eating & getting mugged for an Super 14 card.

BTW - I never eat chippies, if I started I'd never stop, so I don't start.

Cash in chips, we're off to Oz - Opinion: Stuff.co.nz

So here's my (modestly) brilliant idea for saving the world - fat kids anyway.

Give Super 14 cards away with purchases of fresh fruit & vegetables.

Feck, I amaze myself sometimes.

Next post - saving the world by giving Super 14 cards away with carbon credits.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Scrub Fire

Last weekend there was a scrub fire near the beach between Otaki & Waikawa. The DomPost reported that the fire was 50 metres wide, and 1.5 km long. It ran along a natural gully just back from the beach. Not far from houses...

The smoke & flames were visible for miles & miles.

On our way back, we saw the first of two helicopters arrive with monsoon buckets. These photos were taken at dusk & I think they'd have been busy through much of the night.

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On the positive side, there was a great sunset that night.

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