Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Still waiting for someone I know on Foundphotos...

But in the meantime...

Anybody else find the Whacko Jacko Doco last night creepy?

No, not the actual show, we've seen all that shit before. I'm talking about the advertisements pretty much all featuring young children (including some Anne Geddes style, artfully arranged, naked babies - creepy in the extreme!).

What was the advertisers' target audience?

Monday, May 30, 2005

Great Mysteries of our Time #... um... 3?

Why do you have to make appointments with clairvoyants anyway?

Can't they just call you up if they happen to be busy at the time you decide to go see one?

The Lion King

Really, I have to link to this. Mike is right, the greatest Lion of all time, if not the greatest rugby player ever, was Barry John.

MiramarMike: Barry John: the greatest Lion of them all

I saw him play in 1971 during the Lion's tour of New Zild. The Lions were training in Wellington at Wellington College. My dad was teaching there at the time & we went to see them train. Most excitingly, my dad was also friends with their coach, Carwyn James & we got all their autographs.

John was a better kicker than Wilkinson even, and with the ball was simply untouchable - as the article Mike links to says, he pretty much ended Fergie McCormick's career in 1971.

There were times, when the ball would come to John & the All Blacks would stand still, waiting to see what he would do, as if there was no point at all in attempting to tackle him. On one occasion when this happened, John also stopped & stood there, and for an astonishing few seconds in the middle of a test game, without the whistle blowing, no-one was moving. And then he was off! And indeed there wasn't much point in pursuing him, not only did it seem he couldn't be tackled, but he couldn't even be touched as he ghosted through the increasingly frustrated defense.

And then out of the blue, at the top of his game, he retired, retiring the hopes of an entire rugby obsessed nation that they would ever beat the All Blacks in the near future at least.

The future of TV remotes

STUFF : NATIONAL NEWS - STORY : Smart shoe battles square eyes

This sounds SO stupid. But it reminds me of my uncle, who, irritated with the amount of time his teenagers spent in the shower, wired his hot water cyllinder up to an exercycle & decreed that 20 minutes cycling was required before a hot shower would be permitted.

You'd need a shower after that.

To be fair, he only took these steps after the illegal water wheel that he'd built on the stream that ran through his garden, and under his driveway, was discovered. I suspect such measures are encouraged now, rather than banned.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

36-6. This week's netball

The girls are so gracious in victory, "Man, we dicked them!". I feel obliged to counsel "Don't say that! Until they're out of earshot."

The score might say it all. Although truly, the team that succumbed this week was 2nd in the table. But didn't I say last week that M's team were 2nd? I can't remember, although it is true.

For some inexplicable reason, despite there being enough games in the season to do this, the tournament does not run by having each team play each other twice, and then ranking the table according to wins & points.

Apparently that would be unfair for the teams who are... useless. They may be demoralised & never play again. Hooey.

What they do is: At the beginning of the season each coach is asked "Is your team any good? Or not?". I'm not sure even, how they're supposed to know if thay're any good at the beginning of the year...

So they split the A grade into A1 & A2. Then they play 3 "grading games" within the two A grades.

At the end of the 3 games, the top two from A2 switch places with the bottom 2 from A1.

And so this weekend we played the top team from A2, who came up with an unbeaten record & a truck load of points - they'd won by considerable margins. And we crushed them.

Paradoxically, one of the teams that was relegated, and which we beat by a narrower margin - 33-15 or something, it's on this site somewhere, crushed their opponents too.

Now what will happen is that there will be all sorts of dicking around with the draw & the same handful of teams will play each other over & over to make it fair on everyone else. Possibly they will rejig A1 & A2 further.

Just ridiculous. Out of interest, do any other kids tournaments do it in this fashion? Or is it more usual to to play the whole field against each other once or twice & tally up the points?

Maybe I'm the one with the ridiculous notions...

UPDATE: M's rep team came 2nd in their tournament yesterday. They won 5 out of 6 games - beat one club's A team but lost to their B team, indicating that with a little more discipline, total victory was within their grasp! Good start to the rep season though.

Friday, May 27, 2005

More on music

When I was a teenager, I had an astounding revelation. I shared it with my initially sceptical friends, but they quickly came to agree as we tried it out with every appropriate song. More recently, I tried the theory out on my wife - I can't remember which song prompted it, but she remains sceptical (innocent that she is).

In any song, the word "Rock" is a euphemism for the word "Fuck".

It's true! Try it.

Was it David Cassidy who warbled?:
Ooh... I wanna ROCK you baby!
ROCK you all night long.

Abba similarly implored:
Gimme that kick now
Show me that trick now

On the other hand... Michael Jackson claimed:
I wanna ROCK with you
All night

See? Maybe you already realised this. I thought it was obvious, but I'm surprised that not everyone thinks so. Maybe there are exceptions...

I may add more during the weekend as they come to mind.

Although... what are we to make of the B52's Rock Lobster....

My music.

Everyone else is blogging music (I so can't be bothered to link to the rest of the Wellingtonists), so I may as well demonstrate how hip & cool I am too (like their parents perhaps).

But first, I want to ask what is it with tribute acts? Do I really want to see some guy who looks like both Elton John & Billy Joel singing their songs? Does anyone? Are they the same people who go & see stageshow versions with the original cast Are You Being Served? I don't even want to see the real Elton & Billy.

As for Queen tributes... and please, I don't want to hear from anyone who loved anything that starts with Abba...solutely, or anything.

Although the Beat Girls are cool.

A long time ago, a lecturer (Bill Manhire I think) read to us from Playboy magazine. And if reading from Playboy doesn't show that irony was alive & well in the 70s, I don't know what does). The point was that he read from an interview with Bob Dylan, and Dylan was asked "What are your songs about?" And Dylan's response was along the lines of "Well some of them are about... 3 minutes long, some of them are about 5 minutes long, and some of them even, are about 10 minutes long".

Well that might be fine for Dylan, but what are the Eagles' songs about? They probably represented perfectly the California sound of the 1970s. A sound preoccupied with a flashy, tropical lifestyle of sex & drugs & complete vacuousness. I so wanted to be there. Life in the Fast Lane. Etc. They also wrote songs about cowboys. How good can it get?

So I want to set the record straight about The Eagles, They seem to get a bad deal these days. In my final year of college, Hotel California was THE album, and THE song. So in a way, if my life has to have a soundtrack, songs from that album would probably cover the "coming of age" years. Frampton Comes Alive was the other big album that year. But I never really liked it. Actually, I hated it & history seems to agree with me in retrospect. Peter Wankton, we used to say.

My family won't let me play Eagles' albums. Not while they're around anyway. they're a bit iffy about the Beach Boys & b52s too. SO I never get to listen to "my" music.

But take any Eagles' song at random - say Peaceful Easy Feeling, which isn't off Hotel California, but who cares? Look at the depth in the lyrics here. I have annotated with their real meaning. In case you're slow or something.

I like the way your sparkling earrings lay,
against your skin so brown
and I wanna sleep with you in the desert tonight
with a billion stars all around

(I like sex outdoors with groupies)

'cause I gotta peaceful easy feeling
and I know you won't let me down
'cause I'm already standing on the ground

(I'm on a lot of drugs)

And I found out a long time ago
what a woman can do to your soul
Ah, but she can't take you anyway
You don't already know how to go

(Groupies are fine, but masturbation is best)

and I gotta peaceful, easy feeling
and I know you won't let me down
'cause I'm already standing on the ground

(2 stanzas in & I'm still off my face)

I get this feeling I may know you
as a lover and a friend
but this voice keeps whispering in my other ear,
tells me I may never see you again

(I'm so out of it I'm not sure if I recognise you, I hear voices and I have 3 ears)

'cause I get a peaceful, easy feeling
and I know you won't let me down
'cause I'm already standing on the ground
'cause I'm already standing...
on the ground
oooo, oooo

(My pants are really tight).

I should really do this for the lyrics to Hotel California, but let's face it, no-one knows what the hell that song was about. Probably groupies, drugs, sex & tight pants too. "Warm smell of WHAT? Rising up in your face"?

The Complete List - ALL-TIME 100 Movies - TIME Magazine

Cripes... I've seen 63 of these....

The Complete List - ALL-TIME 100 Movies - TIME Magazine

Must get cracking on the other 37 I suppose.

Autumn brings them out...

This is a bit late... the season must be over I think. But at certain times of the year it is not uncommon to see strange faces in the Botanic Gardens. I used to notice the same thing when I lived near the town belt in Vogeltown.

No sir, not me!Autumn always sees more people than usual, often wearing army surplus coats & hats, but not always (just allow me to stereotype for a moment). Have I mentioned this before? Anyway... they're mostly around & underneath the pine trees, and their eyes are rivetted to the ground.

I have always just assumed they're looking for magic mushrooms. I don't know what shrooms look like (truly - and it seems a dodgy thing to find out by trial & error, much like learning how to use an electric fence without the manual - which I know I HAVE mentioned before), but I assume it's not these, because no one picks them.

And now... back to SunnyO, briefly...

Probably been a while since you saw photos of sheep here... but here are the lawnmowers. Taken before the black one went bald though. And it's growing back, in case you were worried.

Habitual consumers of grass

And penultimately (there IS one more photo to come later). I mentioned a while back I'd walked up & down the beach taking photos of beach sculptures. This is the only one photogenic enough to bother posting. Even the one that looked just like a bosom wan't worth it (and actually, it was the middle part of a daisy), it just looked dodgy.

We danced naked around it & still it didn't rain...

Streetlight by fog... or fog by streetlight...


Streetlight by fog

Dogs & toys...

It's always a good idea to take a ball on a rope, or even just a rope, on a dog walk. If you run into other dogs someplace where you can (covertly) let them off the lead, ropes come in handy for them to chase & play tug o' war.

Wilma loves being chased by as many dogs as possible with a rope in her mouth. She dodges, and hides, and comes running out from unexpected places in bushes. She loves it.

Usually, I'll tie the rope to the lead so I don't have to carry it. The other day, she was playing at home with a ball on a rope that I usually don't take on walks. So this time, since it was a toy in favour again, I took it with us. It didn't tie very well onto the lead. And by the time I got to the lawn, I found it had fallen off somewhere along the way.

Had a bit more time than usual that day, so I decided we'd retrace our steps & find the ball. We'd wandered far & wide throught the gardens on that occasion, so it was a long walk.

Ready, aim... No sign of the ball anywhere. Until we got right back to the gun emplacement near the Met Office & Carter Observatory, which is about 2 minutes from the start of our walk. And someone had found the ball we dropped pretty much straight away & placed it where we'd notice it.

Time for some photos!

I had a couple of hours to myself last night (skived Tennis Club - well actually, I forgot all about it & wondered where everyone was when I got home), so I took advantage of having access to the PC to down & upload some recent pictures.

Also... while I'm here, As this site closes in on 10,000 visitors (only 6000 or so of them will be me I'm sure) I continue to be astonished at what people google in looking for (and I guess, what they find). A big one recently has been the phrase "best dressed dogs". "Nipples poking" continues to be a favourite. And of course "Nicky Watson". Nicky is clearly this year's Rache Hunter. One guy (I presume anyway) came in on "Her clothes fall off". And another was looking for... "spanking Faramir". Good stuff.

Onto the photos... from various dog walks.

What city?!

Panoramic view of the harbour. The airport was indeed closed that day.

That's better

Same view, other end of the day

Slightly different angle

Obligatory cute animal shot

Well you can't have just one after all!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Questions... always with the questions...

And further...

How come Vader (at the beginning of... Star Wars - the first & fourth one) doesn't even recognise the planet he was born & raised on? And his uncle (or step-father, or brother-in-law, or whatever) Owen, who brought up Luke?

Is it at this point I should just be suspending disbelief? (Breathe in & out, it never actually happened.... it's not true). it's just one of those accepted symptoms of unexpected success & sequelitis...


STUFF : ENTERTAINMENT - STORY : Star Wars fans burnt in light sabre duel

A Star Wars Question.

Here's one for the mega geeks I suspect. Something I don't understand...

In the original star wars films, I mean the ones with Luke & Leia & the gang, how come Darth Vader didn't recognise his old pals R2D2 & C3P0?

Meanwhile, here's the best review I've read of the new one so far.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

This guy goes into a sauna...

The best joke I have ever heard. If you've a long memory, it was once one of Steve Braunias' Listener columns. I told it to high acclaim at a black tie party at Lake Ohau Lodge on December 31 1999. Everyone had to speak after dinner, I had planned to lecture them about why the real turn of the century wasn't until Dec 31 2000, but at the last second told this joke instead. Man, we got trashed that night. Then set off fireworks.

These are not Steve's exact words, and if some of them are, it's because they were so memorable they stuck in my mind.

So this guy goes to a sauna. It's Friday night & he's had a really heavy week. He's driving past the place & thinks "Hmm... that's what I need, a nice unwinding sauna".The sauna that a guy went into. Maybe.

He pays his admission, takes off his clothes & stows them in a locker in the dressing room, wraps a towel around himself & heads on into the sauna.

And it's nice & relaxing. He's there about 10 minutes, when the door opens & 3 guys look in. They see him, then close the door, and the guy can hear them discussing something outside. Then the door opens again, and the 3 troop in & say gidday.

So, they're all sitting there for another few minutes, when one of the 3 men says,
"Hey mate.... do you, do you fancy getting stoned?" and he holds up a really fat joint.

The guy thinks about it, then he says,
"Aw... no thanks, but you guys go ahead"

The man says,
"Are you sure man? It's really good stuff, and it's a real blast to get stoned in a sauna."

The guy thinks about it a bit more. It's been a really bad week, and suddenly he decides "Fuck it, why not"
"Ok" he says, "Why not"

So they all take a few deep drags, and one of the men is prattling on about what quality gear it is, hydroponically grown and all that. And the guy is thinking to himself "They're right, it IS a real blast to get stoned in a sauna. This is REALLY good stuff!"

He lays back, and after a few minutes he drifts off to sleep. He wakes up with a jolt & it looks like some time has passed. The 3 guys have gone. He thinks to himself that it's time he got moving too.

He goes out to the dressing room, and to his horror, he sees that his clothes, including his wallet & car keys, are gone from the locker. Panicked, he looks out the window & he sees the 3 men getting into a car. One of them sees him & waves his trousers at him.

"Oh shit!" he thinks, as he races out into the carpark wearing only his towel. The men are driving off now, but the guy manages to flag down a passing taxi.
"Follow that car" he gasps. And the chase is on.

They travel for miles. The guy is really scared, his heart is racing, and he's really, really, stoned. His one hope is that the men in front will throw his clothes & gear out of the window so he can get dressed, pay the taxi driver & go home. And never, ever mention this to anyone.

They're miles out into the countryside now, and the car ahead shows no signs of stopping. the taxi driver asks the guy what he wants to do periodically, he keeps telling him to keep following the car.

Then they lose it. They're in the middle of nowhere & they have no idea where the car ahead got to. The taxi driver stops & turns around & asks the guy,
"Where to now?"

The guy doesn't know what to say. He tells the taxi driver that he has no wallet nor money, and he can't pay for the ride. There is over $500 on the clock.

"There's only one thing for it." says the driver, "Get out & bend over the bonnet."
"What?" says the panic stricken guy.
"You heard me. Bend over & take it like a man"

And he does. When the taxi driver has finished with him, he rather meanly takes the towel, gets back into the taxi, and drives away. Leaving the guy naked, humiliated & cold, standing in the middle of the road.

This is the worst day of his life. No contest. He starts to walk back the way he believes town is. He walks for quite a while, his feet are sore, other sensitive parts are sore. And then it starts to rain.

He moves to the side of the road & tries to shelter under a bush. Suddenly, he feels the need to take a huge dump. He is feeling really sorry for himself.

He squats down & starts straining...

Suddenly, one of the three men comes swimming out of the darkness towards him & says,
"Hey man, I know you're really stoned, but you can't take a shit in a sauna."

Swimming Pool

Saw this DVD called Swimming Pool, with Charlotte Rampling, Ludivine Sagnier & Charles Dance, & directed by Francois Ozon. And it's your typical art-house French film about naked aging & young hotties lounging around a swimming pool, except it's in English.

Honestly, is there a movie where Charlotte Rampling keeps her clothes on? But to be fair, it's a short scene & she's looking pretty flash for 60ish. Sagnier on the other hand, is naked pretty much the whole time. And looking REALLY flash for 20ish.

Rampling is a prim British crime novelist along the lines of Ruth Rendell. Her publisher gives her the use of his house in France so she can work on her new book. At first, everything is just peachy, but then, the publisher's over-sexed daughter turns up to ruin the peace with loud music & even louder sex.

The women detest each other at first, but slowly begin to warm. Then there's a violent crime. And then... there is a scene near the end that causes you to question everything (yes, everything) you've seen so far.

This is a nice easy film to critique actually, because saying anything is out of the question without spoiling it.

The pace is languid. The scenery, including the two leads, is highly decorative. The acting is great - Sagnier holds her own with the more experienced Rampling too. The swimming pool itself is... a metaphor! Yes! See if you can spot it.

Ozon also directed the amusing 8 Femmes which had Sagnier in the ensemble cast, and Sous le Sable, with Rampling.

Anyway, have a look.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

So I need a new job - hire me goddamit!

Sigh... I suppose I'll have to get off my chuff & do something. Much as I hate to have to admit my wife has been right all along.

Problem is... well there are two actually: 1. I'd really like to do something that I really enjoy, can get passionate about even; And 2. it has to pay quite a lot of money, because the job I'm bored with, does & me & the bank have this symbiotic relationship thing going on. I owe them a truckload of money, and they seem to insist that I keep paying it back.

So what do I do now? Hmm... how to explain it... I run a little team of analysts that do all the statistical reporting for a largish corporation. You often see the results of my work in the newspaper. But you woudn't know it probably.

Anyway... how did I get here? Accident really.

I studied English Lit at varsity. I was not the most dedicated student, but university did wonders for my self confidence & social life... My first job was with State Coal Mines.. part of the Ministry of Energy at the time. Actually, my first job was buying & importing mining machinery. But after a a year or so, I blagged my way into their Information Unit - and there my job was producing the in-house magazine, writing speeches & press releases, a short history of coal mining in NZ which got sent to schools & for all I know might still be being used somewhere, and generally having a grand old time. When the whole gig ended, one of the Deputy Secretaries of Energy gave us all a pep talk, said he hoped we'd all enjoyed ourselves... looked straight at me & said "I know you did."

Then... we were "corporatised". I mean, I'm not going to go into the mechanics of the thing, but we were the first government agency to be... laid off essentially. I spent about 3 months lazily cruising for a new job, I imagined I'd probably end up in an advertising agency (don't ask me why) or something. I think I saw myself lunching & carousing with models & actresses... don't even bother telling me advertising isn't like that - a job's what you make it right?

What I actually did was get an interview for a rotating shift computer operator job with a sharebroking firm. It paid well, Summer was coming (it was a great summer that year) and I could see some advantages to having days off...

The sharebrokers was fascinating... when I was interviewed, they made a big thing of mentioning the lucrative profit sharing scheme. Man... it sounded great. Figured I'd get a real job in Autumn. So I signed up & started working with these flashy sharebrokers. One of my most embarrassing professional moments involved a room full of attractive female wannabee Dynasty foreign exchange dealers. I was trying to fix their computer system. I came running down from the computer room upstairs, fronted up to this room full of 80s big hair, breasts & shoulder pads, took a deep breath, and said "Sorry, I can't get it up." There was quite a long silence actually, before they all fell about laughing at my expense.

It was early October, 1987.

In some ways the worldwide sharemarket crash made things even more interesting. in about 6 months, I went from being the lowliest member of their 6 person IT unit, to being the entire IT Unit. The learning curve was steep, and in a couple of years I was marketable enough to score a Systems Team Leader position with the NZ branch of a Fortune 500 company. That was interesting too, but in a different way. And I've been stuck in the IT field ever since.

Back to the sharebrokers though briefly... our Computer Room was on the 3rd floor of a building in Panama Street (it's not there anymore), next door to the corporate kitchen, and across the hall from the corporate wine cellar. Our corporate chef was a lovely woman called Wendy - I think she's got a cool restaurant going in Martinborough at the moment. It meant that the kitchen was eminently raidable in the early hours.

Additionally, Wendy's affable son, John, and some others (including a cute law student called Sue, and a funny guy who was involved in Canteen called Brendan), would come in in the evenings & stuff envelopes for mailouts. We'd all sit around the boardroom table, drinking corporate wine & eating left over corporate lunches, watching TV. To explain a little, my job involved endless hours of waiting for backups to complete, so I wasn't necessarily skiving off.

Wendy's son John eventually became a trainee sharebroker. then he finished his masters & decided to become a journalist. The firm's partners warned him he'd never get anywhere in journalism. You be the judge. (Actually, I used to attend the brokers' monday morning briefings & I formed the theory that if you did the exact opposite of what they recommended, you'd make a lot more money. I really should have tried to prove that I think.)

So... back to me... I need a new job. Something I enjoy doing as much as I enjoy stuffing around with these blogs. does such a thing exist? Would anyone hire me?

What can I do... well, let's ignore the IT thing for now, I'm just a technocrat these days. Staff management & checking their work (we have to be right) takes up most of my time.

Possibly I can write a little - I like to think so anyway. I'm not sure if I could do technical writing though. I'd probably wizen up & die if I tried. I reckon I could do a column... but I also reckon that market is pretty much saturated at the moment.

I CAN actually do the public speaking thing too, not so flash if I have to prepare a speech - I've found I'm boring & stilted then. But if I know what I'm talking about, it seems I can engage a group, and pretty much wing it for as long as you like.

Also... now that I think about it, I'm a great problem solver.

How does this translate into big bucks & financial security? I haven't the slightest idea.

Advice please! I throw the problem over to the floor....

I'll try not to make a habit of writing about myself. Or family & friends (although there is a short story about my mum & a guy who liked safari suits that I've been kicking around in my mind. - younger bro - does mum still read this?)

Monday, May 23, 2005

Some thoughts on that dancing show.

First up: Mrs Llew is hooked. Once we surf on in, you surf on out at your peril.

Besides, we took dancing lessons for a while. I know what I'm talking about. Trust me.

Dancing With The Stars | TV ONE PROGRAMMES | TV ONE | tvnz.co.nz

So those thoughts I mentioned.

1) It's harder for the men - they have to lead (theoretically) and think ahead. I don't know about you guys, but I find that pretty challenging.

2) Why is Bernice so crap at this? She looked brilliant last night doing those cartwheels on the beach.

3) Why is Norm so good at this? My theory (scoffed at in the confort of my own home) is that he's (or was) a professional athlete, well used to taking instruction on where & when to put his feet. His partner is a bit scary though.

4) No. 3 does not seem to apply to Bernice.

5) Who the fuck would name their son d'Artagnan?

6) I'm pretty sure Theresa Healey was in some of my English classes at Varsity. Why does she look 10 years younger than me?

7) The "They're in Foveaux Strait" comment from Tim was pretty funny.

8) That Nerida is pretty cute. Have you noticed that she's got pointy ears? Mrs Llew told me off for being rude when I mentioned it, but I wasn't. I think they're pretty cool. Nice eyes too.

9) That guy when asked who was his favourite pair, who answered "Nerida". Hah! Hope his wife was watching.

10) Who is responsible for giving work to Jason Gunn, anyway?

11) Wasn't it hilarious that Nicky got sent home first, after all the primping in the mags?

So go to the link above & download the wallpaper...

Stand the hell back, I'm gonna post it!

Apologies for the mild profanity above. I've been sitting on this post for soooo long now, and being so unable to resist tinkering with it that I was about to add in the tale, from when I was 13, of when I nearly saw my first pair of female breasts.

It may not be apparent yet, but this is part of a Wellington Blogosphere initiative to tell the world why we love Wellington, and for those of us not born here, what brought us to this fair city.

Kind of like that one guy who does a mexican wave all by himself. Or not. Alan over at Half-pie has his ready too. The Wellingtonist may very well link to everyone who has a go. So have at it Wellingtonians.

I was brought to Wellington by my parents, in January 1968. I spent the first 8 years of my life in a smallish village in South Wales.

As far as I'm aware, we emigrated from the "Old Country" because my dad got bored. I have hazy recollections of destinations being discussed: South Africa, Canada, Australia, and some place that sounded like "Hawkeland", in New Zealand, which sounded intriguing. But before we knew it, dad had a job lined up in cosmopolitan Wainuiomata.

Legend has it that my great grandfather "Pop", warned my mother to reconsider the move to this "Lower Hutt": "You're used to electricity." he advised. Other, equally well-travelled relatives assumed that the Hutt Valley consisted literally of two huts, Upper & Lower, and the latter was to be our home... grass skirts not included. And don't mention the natives... luckily, my dad was raised on a diet of John Wayne, Randolph Scott & James Stewart pioneering westerns, he was confident he knew what he was doing.

We travelled to NZ on the Shaw Savill liner, Southern Cross. If memory serves, the voyage took 6 weeks, with stops at Panama, Curacao, Trinidad & Tobago, Fiji, Tahiti, and possibly some places I've forgotten too. Long voyages on ocean liners are colossally boring.

Jan 1968, a cargo of Xmas Airmail from the Old Country arrives late My first recollection of Wellington was as the ship sailed into the harbour & berthed at the Overseas Terminal. I remember how bright all the houses in Oriental bay looked. It must have been a marvelous Summer's day. We were met by the principal of Wainui College, who whisked us out to the Hutt, over the Wainui hill road, and dropped us at the fabulous Empire Hotel. Where we stayed for several days until someone rescued us & took us in until a house was found & readied for us.. Swinging 60s, Lambton Quay, Mr & Mrs Llew Snr explore their new home

Meanwhile, our furniture was still in Southampton & remained there for several months due to a wharfie strike.

In the first few months in our new country, Wellington experienced quite a large earthquake - I remember the clock fell of the wall at school & hit some kid on the head - while the rest of us quailed under our desks, and the Wahine Day storm. My mum asked her friends if it was always like this...

Four years later, we returned to the UK for a year. Once again by ocean liner (I did not fly until I was 25, and that was in a 4 seater piloted by a mate), this time Chandris Line's Ellinis (4 weeks), travelling back much the same way we had come 4 years earlier. I think my parents were testing the waters. Deciding once & for all where they would like to live. One year later, the choice having been made, we were sailing back once again, to NZ, stopping at Rotterdam, the Canary Islands, Capetown...

Another boat load of whinging Poms heads for the Antipodes Once again, I was struck by the bright colours of the houses in Oriental Bay. And once again, we were ensconced in the Hutt Valley.

When of a sufficient age that I could travel with my friends from the Hutt into Wellington for movies & the like, it was to a Wellington much different to what it is now. For a start, there were no cafes, there were a handful of "milk bars", like the Lido, and the Paramount, so named because they were adjacent to cinemas of the same name. Indeed, those two cinemas were different places too, both specialising in it seemed, alternate programmes of European "Art House" (Ingmar Bergman), and soft core pornography (The X-Rated Adventures of Pinnochio - It's Not His Nose that Grows), although to our novice viewing tastes, there wasn't much difference between the two genres. The eponymous milk bars also did very hearty breakfasts, which came in handy in later years when suffering from hangovers... many a Saturday morning was spent consuming balck coffee & "grease" at the Lido, "brunch" being a poncy JAFA term not yet introduced to these parts.

Dining out in the evenings was usually a case of queueing for fish & chips, burgers or Chinese takeaway on the way home from the pub. Until the legendary Mexican Cantina came along, with its innovative booking system which allowed you to leave your name & number of diners on a blackboard, head to the nearest pub for 2-3 hours & by the time you got back, you were at the top of the list & seated nearly straight away. That place was the best.

Friday nights were spent at the historic Barrett's Hotel (pretty much where Michael Hill Jewellers is beside Plimmer Steps - a dodgy looking street preacher was usually outside handing tracts to passers by & calling out "Jesus Saves" even then. Goodness knows how long he'd been there). I swear to you that it was possible to get tanked, enjoy an open beef sandwich & still have the trainfare home from $5.

I eventually moved to a flat in Aro valley when I got sick of commuting to Victoria University. And I've been in Wellington city ever since. It is doubtful now that I would live anywhere else, although I flirted briefly with the idea of moving to the South of France, but had I made that move, I'm quite sure Wellington would have remained my home & that I would have returned in time.

There is much I love about Wellington. The fact that you can pretty much walk anywhere (excluding the barbarian suburbs) within half an hour. The cafes & restaurants. The Embassy Theatre, and indeed the bustling cultural life that I really don't dip into as much as I should - but I love the fact that it's there. I love where I live - about 1 minute's walk from the top of the cable car. I love where I work - about 30 seconds walk from the bottom of the cable car... not to say that I love what I do at work...

I love that the Lord of the Rings was made here, and I love that a man like Peter Jackson calls Wellington home.

I love the harbour, which really cannot be beaten on a good day. I love that it is only a very short drive to the Kapiti Coast and the Wairarapa, traditional playgrounds for city folk like me.

Tu-lips from Well-ing-ton... SING IT! I love the Botanic Gardens, which I visit as often as twice a day...

I love the politics... and the possibility that you might see some errant politician punch out a journalist, or member of the public, in a pub or cafe.

I love my family, and my faithful dog... these are Wellington for me. And the 10 year collection of projects that comprise our (will be one day) lovely house.

I love the (periodically) magnificent Summers. Summer here gets bad press on the whole, I think, but by late January, you can pretty much be assured of a couple of months of long, barmy days. Sometimes it starts earlier, sometimes it lasts longer. And I don't think it can be argued that we have very mild Winters.

I could do without the wind at times. Particularly that evil nor'wester that whips in & around the city & tests my patience. That nor'wester is a sod in my opinion. At least Southerlies know what they're doing - blowing from the South! I can dress up warm, or stay indoors for those.

I'm sometimes dubious about the quality of our mayors & councillors. But you get that I suppose, in cities, with mayors & councillors. Someone should do something about her hair. And I can't really see the point of The Bypass. 90 seconds off a trip to the airport? Woo-effing-hoo.

Best & worst times? To be honest, I'm a glass half full guy & I can only remember good times. I daresay there were bad days... when my dog or cat died, the first few times I got dumped from a relationship (then I got pretty practised at getting dumped, pretty darned good at it in fact, I hesitate to claim that I could have been dumped for my country - World & Olympic Champion Dumpee!!, but I may have been the Beckham of breakups - except he scored (a lot) more. I'm so over it now though. YOU BITCHES!!. The point being that it didn't seem to matter so much as it did the first few times). So...the bad days didn't last long. Ahem, anyway...

What does Wellington mean to me? It's home, where I've spent most of my happy life. It holds a good portion of the people that I love. It is a pleasure, with or without V8 car racing (get over it already!).

Welcome to Blackball.

I only link to this because the editorial in this week's Listener by Bruce Ansley discusses this affair & ends with the following words:

"One protester declared: "We don't want to be known as a bunch of vigilante morons."

Too late."

And I thought that was worth a blog.

STUFF : INSIGHT - STORY : Welcome to Blackball


So... first loss of the season. T reckons it's not bad to have a loss early on, stops the girls getting overconfident. Also... since it looks like the team we lost to is the one to beat this year (they've positively caned everyone else they've met), it was a good result. And since we lost by less than 5 goals, we do get a point. Depending how the other teams went, we should be 2nd equal on the table. Can't complain about that.

A draw would have been fair - it was one of those games where neither team ever got more than 2 ahead of the other & it swung either way. Very exciting... If the hooter had gone a minute earlier, we'd have won!

Oddly, the same crap umpire that presided over last week's game, presided over this one. We don't know how that came about since it wasn't her team this week... but she was marginally fairer this time, which probably reflects that she was neutral. But we will find out why that was, as we'll be seeing the other team's coach at the rep tournament next week & I will ask :)

Now we're waiting to see what the organisers do with the draw for the next few games, theoretically, we should now have a string of relatively easy games, as we've played the top 3 teams already. Theoretically...

Friday, May 20, 2005

Conversations overheard.

I'm on hundreds of overseas visitors holiday videos. And in thousands of their holiday photos. I don't think any of these people know me. I wonder sometimes if, by some cosmic coincidence, they'll get home & show their holiday pictures to someone who does. That would be cool. I'm also waiting for myself to appear on Foundphotos.com (see link to the right). All this from regularly catching the Cable Car up the hill.

Say cheese! Kind of reminds me of a beautifully composed (IMHO) photo I took at the Palace of Versailles. When it was developed, it seemed entirely dedicated to this Japanese guy who was smiling broadly at the lens. I swear he wasn't there when I pressed the button.

But anyway... conversations.

1) "Oh no!.... Noooooo.... Oh no..." etc. All the way down.

This was this morning actually, I was late & forewent my usual stroll down the hill. The lady in question was looking at the front page of the World section of the newspaper. I had a look, but I can't figure out what the offending item was.

2) Pretty girl: "I've just been to listen to Dr Cullen present the budget"

Pretty girl's friend #1 "How was it? Anything for students?" there ensued several minutes of very comprehensive coverage of the budget. Then some banter that revealed that the three people conversing were political science students. All three...

Pretty girl's friend #2 "What is "The Budget"?"

Well it amused me. And it was yesterday.

3) Man to elderly german tourist woman just before journey began, "Hang on! It's like a roller coaster!"

Maybe you had to be there...

4) 6 very fat young women. Very fat. Talking at the top of their voices in a packed car:

"...so Brian came round last night & I f*cked him stupid"
"Yeah? Was he any good? I did Ewan last week. He was OK"
"Awww... I was going to do him, maybe I'll f*ck Jimmy instead."
"Jimmy's got a really big dick"

The rest of the car was abnormally quiet & averting their eyes. I mentioned this when I got home & we had a little discussion about what was the ickiest thing about the whole incident - was it because they were loudly & graphically describing their sex lives in a crowded public place? Or was it because they were loudly & graphically describing their sex lives in a crowded public place & were all really fat & ugly? Would it have made a difference if they were loudly & graphically describing their sex lives in a crowded public place & were hot? And I chastised myself mentally for clearly being of the opinion that fat & ugly people should not even have sex lives.

To tell the truth, we came to no conclusion. But regardless, it was definitely icky.


Personally, I think that instead of getting on the health conscious bandwagon with the McCaesar Salads & McDeli Rolls or whatever they're called. McMumbles should be positioning themselves to a niche market who care nothing for such things.

Welcome to McDonald's New Zealand

I mention this, as I just toss away the wrapper & environmentally friendly cardboard box in which came my McLumpoLard with extra butter, fries, & diet coke.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

IBM - one hit wonders!

So I dunno... it'd be Wellington, New Zealand, circa 1991.Unbelievably IBM!

I'm at work. The phone rings. I answer.

"It's your mum here."
"Hi Mum!"

"What are you doing tonight?"
"Depends what you've signed us up for"

"Have you heard of IBM?"
"(pause)... yes"

"I got a call from your cousin Alan, from the Forest o'Dean. He works for them now"

"He's here. They're playing at the university tonight and he'd like us all to come along & see them. He's their roadie."
"(pause)... let me just check the newspaper & call you back."

"Hi mum, it's me"
"That was quick"

"They're called EMF. They're kind of famous at the moment"
"Alan said that. I'd never heard of them"

"OK, we're in. What time?"
"He said 8pm downstairs. There'll be tickets for us with the bouncer. Do you know the Student Association building?"

"Know it? I lived there for several years"
"Well see you there at 8"

So we arrive... me & my wife. And we're met by my mum & my sister & her hubby. And I'm at least twice the age of the average fan there. My mum stands out, despite being tiny. Actually, we all stood out. It's like The Waltons came along that night...

And the bouncer has never heard of us... Mum says "Can we speak to Alan the roadie please?" The bouncer tells us there is no roadie called Alan.

"No, that's right" says mum "He said his name is Buddy now. He's got a pony tail."

So we sit tight as hordes of teenagers swim past us & up the stairs. We look especially hard at anyone coming down who has a ponytail. No-one pays us any attention.

Then this guy comes down, and he looks all around, right past us sticking out like... really old conservative people at a hip concert... and he's got a top knot that sticks up approximately 2 feet in the air. Suddenly recognition enters his eyes, "Auntie!" he shouts.

And to be fair... they were quite good, in a loud & obnoxious sort of way. the kids loved them. My mum & my sister lasted half a dozen songs, then mum fought her way to the front of the hall like she'd been doing it at Rolling Stones concerts for years, caught Buddy's attention, asked him to give his mum her love & told him they were off.

We stayed right until the end. Buddy caught up after it was all over. Gave me the drumsticks as a souvenir (which I still have actually) & bade us farewell.

I had to ask though: "Where are the drugs & the groupies?"
He laughed "They'll be along soon I expect"
My wife added "But we won't"

Darn it. Although on the way out some cute teenagers offered us a good time for the drumsticks. I declined & directed them back upstairs "Ask for Buddy, say his cousin sent you".

The best dressed dogs

This season's must have accessory on the dog circuit:Pet Blinker
It's actually quite handy, because it's pitch black by 6pm these days, and dogs do disappear from view very quickly.... This particular model blinks two different colours & the effect is quite nifty. Wilma's model blinks green & red.

Dog owners who have not kitted out their dogs with a Pet Blinker (available from New World Thondon & Animates - please do let me know if you've seen them anywhere else) are so last year.

There are variations available - the mad Staffy Havoc has a fantastic blinking collar, that blinks a dozen or so red LED lights whenever he moves. You can get those from Cranfields.

Only problem is that the batteries do not last very long. So note to Pet Blinker manufacturers: something that either requires no batteries, or is rechargeable, or solar powered even, would be a good enhancement.

I'll keep you posted.

And while we're at it, a range of lit up dog accessories would be great - luminous tennis balls, luminous tug ropes... etc.

Have at it guys. I'll buy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Who cares about Scotland? Wrote Mark Riley of London

This made me laugh. The BBC have just adopted NZ TV1 style weather graphics & received a "storm of complaints", most whining that the depiction of the curve of the Earth means the graphics emphasise Wales & England at Scotland's expense.

Some, however, praised the new graphics, including Mr Mark Riley of London who wrote in saying "Who cares about Scotland? It's always raining there anyway." Brilliant!

Many also complained that the graphics are confusing. And look, I have to agree, based on TV1's weather graphics, I can never figure out where & what the hell I'm looking at. Nor when - was this today? Yesterday? Tomorrow?

NZ Met Service developed & installed the system apparently (no offense J). And way to go the sale, but really, if it's like TV1... not that TV3 is any better.

STUFF : NATIONAL NEWS - STORY : Storm of Complaints over NZ BBC Weather

So... Scotland is the Northern Hemisphere's Chatham Islands? TV ignores the Chathams I think, but you can get their weather from Radio NZ. I always have to suppress a giggle when listing to the Nat Radio long range weather forecast. It runs about 15 minutes. I start listening intently. I tune out around about Whangarei, miss Weliington's weather completely & wake up just in time for "...and rain in the Chathams". In fact I defy anyone to listen to the entire broadcast.

The one exception to Chatham Island's weather that I can remember was December 31 1999. While the rest of the country was cloaked in cloud & rain, the Chathams were bathed in summer sun. Go figure.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A great hoax

Somewhere, possibly not too far from Palmerston North's Massey University, someone is shitting themselves.

Their's is not the great hoax. Their's is proof that there is a fine line between fantastic jape, and abject stupidity. And proof that Foot & Mouth disease does not come near the top of popular comic subjects in an agricultural economy like New Zealand.

But this is not their story.

In April 1999 it came to light that a 4.5 metre python skin had been found in Wellington's Botanic Gardens. Burmese Python

Pretty much everyone realised it was an April Fool's joke. Experts raised doubts - if there really were a 4.5 metre snake in central Wellington, neighbours bordering the Gardens would have noticed their cats & dogs & possibly children going missing. However, they said, to be on the safe side... if the snake existed, it would most likely spend its rest time wrapped around someone's hot water cyllinder.

The possibility caught the public's imagination. Snake hunts were organised through the gardens at night.

In May that year, Mrs Llew & I bought a nice sunny house just a few doors up from the gardens. I can admit now, that when inspecting the hot water cyllinders in that house, it was with some degree of trepidation. Mrs Llew had been warned that if I wasn't back in 5 minutes, and if a lot of noise indicating a mortal struggle was heard from the back of the house, she was to ring 111, and then bring me a large knife.

This, was a great hoax. A magnificent jape. And I confess to some disappointment when the news broke that it was indeed, not true.

Great Wellington Python Mystery Solved

The Full Monty

Sunday, May 15, 2005


In the first major upset of the season, M's team came back from a 4-0 deficit in the first few minutes, against what are considered one of the two top teams in their grade, and were never trailing from there on in. It was a hard fought game, with the opponents drawing even on several occasions.

Near the end we were willing the full time whistle to blow... the opposing umpire, who is also their coach was getting rattled, some of her umpiring is dubious anyway, and parents from her team have been known to apologise to opponents' parents for her blatant bias... at one stage she told T (our umpire) off for what was a very reasonable call & one of our vocal supporters shouted "Don't argue with the ref!"

Anyway, we won. The girls were stoked & some wore their team tracksuits for a post-game shopping trip through town.

Next week... it's an even harder team judging from their record so far. Beat them & we're the GREATEST! On past experience, we can also then expect the draw to be rejigged to stack the odds against us. Not everyone likes the underdog it seems.

That might sound paranoid, but some very odd things happened last year & we ended up playing the same handful of very hard teams all the time instead of the rest of the field... I'll keep you posted, because regardless, we aim to prevail! To FIGHT! WIN!

And we've started the right way.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Thinkers anonymous

This just in by email. I'm afraid the sender will have to remain anonymous...

Do You Think Too Much?

It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then to loosen up. Inevitably though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker.

I began to think alone - "to relax," I told myself - but I knew it wasn't true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time.

I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don't mix, but I couldn't stop myself.

I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau and Kafka. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What is it exactly we are doing here?"

Things weren't going so great at home either. One evening I had turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent that night at her mother's.

I soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day the boss called me in. He said, "Skippy, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don't stop thinking on the job, you'll have to find another job." This gave me a lot to think about.

I came home early after my conversation with the boss. "Honey," I confessed, "I've been thinking..."

"I know you've been thinking," she said, "and I want a divorce!"

"But Honey, surely it's not that serious."

"It is serious," she said, lower lip aquiver. "You think as much as college professors, and college professors don't make any money, so if you keep on thinking we won't have any money!"

"That's a faulty syllogism," I said impatiently, and she began to cry. I'd had enough. "I'm going to the library," I snarled as I stomped out the door.

I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche, with a PBS station on the radio. I roared into the parking lot and ran up to the big glass doors... they didn't open. The library was closed.

To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night.

As I sank to the ground clawing at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye. "Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?" it asked. You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinker's Anonymous poster.

Which is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was "Porky's." Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting.

I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home. Life just seemed... easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped
thinking. I think the road to recovery is nearly complete for me.

Today, I registered to vote Republican.

Talking TV penis gets chop

The story to go with this excellent headline is surprisingly boring. But who am I to turn down a headline like that.

Talking TV penis gets chop | ENTERTAINMENT | NEWS | tvnz.co.nz

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Yoohoo!! We're over here!

Shameless Plug sorry:


Dentists are cool.

I don't mind dentists. Maybe I have a high pain threshhold (my wife would disagree, but I think, forms contrary opinions to the available evidence at times).

But dentists solve urgent problems for me, toothache (very infrequently), and sharp edges irritating the insides of my mouth after old fillings fall out. My dentist & I agree that I have my share of fillings. In fact, I think there must be more fillings than tooth by now.

I spent my early life in the UK, growing up in an area that did not add fluoride to the water.

My earliest visits to the local dentist involved exchanges like this:

"Take a seat."
"This one?" - I still ask this, it never fails to amuse me. No dentists have ever been amused by it though.
"Open wide... How are you today?"
"Don't try to speak."

"Ohmigod!... you have teeth! I'm afraid I'm going to have to drill most of them away & fill them with unstable & poisonous metals. because frankly, I'm just out of dentist school & I need the practise."
This DOES look like my dentist
When I came to NZ, the metal to tooth ratio was increased slightly by the school dental nurses I encountered. But not so much.

For the last 3 decades however, I have had almost no problems with my teeth, except for ancient fillings falling out & needing to be replaced. Oh.. and a couple of crowns as a result of their not being enough tooth left to fill, and one or two root canals.

My tolerance of dentists is such that I rarely even have an anaesthetic. They usually hurt more than the drilling. My current dentist was amazed by my tolerance when he was diagnosing the root canals. But then he discovered the nerves in the teeth in question had been drilled away years ago by some enthusiastic predecessor.

My dentist also has pictures of his latest overseas trips displayed around his surgery. As if to say "Look, you paid for this!" (See also: Veterinarians' sportscars). These photos have changed, every visit. (At least the vet keeps the porsche for a few years before upgrading). He even has photos on the ceiling, so you can admire his picaresque lifestyle while supine, with a lot of instruments in your mouth, and an old man's face about an inch from yours, with some really weird looking magnifying devices strapped to his head, and a bright light shining in your eyes.

That's the other thing, dentists have some very cool & inexplicable looking gear. Just those seats for instance. An old flatmate & I always wanted a couple of those seats. For watching TV from. Or possibly other recreational activities that might occur, since they recline like that. (Hey, you're reading the blog of a man who once bought a Fiat Bambina because he fancied the sister of the seller & could vividly imagine her & him in the back seat. Or dying trying anyway. And it never happened sadly. Although I was saddled with a derelict bambina for several years anyway). But I digress...

My dentist is a very sharp dresser. Those suits did not come off the rack. He lives not far from me (in the same overpriced street as the vet, actually), and so I run into him a lot & he can manage with just a "Hello" and a lift of one eyebrow to convey the same old message everytime "Been a few years since I saw you & your rotten, dirty, decaying teeth, Sonny!"

He sends quite cool & funny cards to remind me that I heven't been in a while "Missing you! Haven't seen you in ages! Can't remember your face!" etc. And so when I do get around to seeing him, he can pretty much be relied on to say "How are you? Haven't seen you in yonks? Whereabouts did the old filling fall from this time? Take a seat."

"This one?"

And he barks some really weird, dentist jargon at his lovely assistant.

That's another thing too, my dentist always has a lovely assistant. Usually a different one every visit. Maybe he picks them up on his overseas trips?

Can't wait for my next visit! (Tuesday).

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Basra, 1991

"Bet you 6 goats against your camel that the monsoons will begin before Ramadan" said the curiously ageless man holding a copy of the Quran.

"I have no need of goats, my camel is already spoken for, but I will wager my baboon." Replied the woman.

Contact established, the two made their way to a discreet coffee house to talk.

With his dying breath, the Fez had told the preacher of a plot to disrupt the pipelines feeding oil from Basra, to the USSR. Armed with new orders to assist the anti-Saddam rebels in any way possible, the man made his way South from Baghdad in the company of thousands of refugees. It would be a bonus for his masters if his efforts bore fruit & inconvenienced the Russians.

On arriving in Basra, which had been largely untouched by US bombing, but still bore the ruinous marks from the Iran/Iraq war in the 80s, the man set about establishing his cover. It actually paid to make his face known a few days before getting down to business.

Firstly, he found a good, central place from where to begin his preaching. Secondly, he made sure his primary & backup escape routes were in place. Thirdly, he prepared a secondary disguise, "Luck favours the prepared.", he always said.

The woman, Soraya, had been born Barbara Billingsworth, to a wealthy family in Ohio nearly 35 years previously. Educated at Yale, she'd grown up with attitude, and a reckless father fixation. She'd been recruited after a Led Zeppelin concert at the backstage orgy, by a roadie affiliated with the CIA. Stoned out of her mind & wrapped around the bass player, she'd signed on the dotted line & been shipped to the Middle East the following month.

Her missions had initially been of the "honeytrap" variety, staged to seduce wayward Iranian clergy. She was very good at her job & after the beginning of the Gulf War, had been promoted to "insurgency consultant" & Iraq.

At the coffee house, the preacher paused to take her in like a long drink of ice-cold water after 3 parched weeks in the desert. Then got down to business, "By Allah", He thought, " she's built like a brick minaret!"

"I'd like a long drink of ice-cold water", he said to the waiter. "I've just spent 3 parched weeks in the desert".

Soraya meanwhile, viewed the newcomer with interest & a little suspicion. He didn't look like much, but this man had quite a reputation & not just for business. Agency rumour had it that this preacher man would as soon as looking at you, give you the last rites while applying the garrotte. "Efficient" she thought, "Definitely not a time waster." In addition, more than one of her "honey" colleagues had spent post mission extended vacations in las Vegas with him. He was known as a high roller & generous tipper. Besides, there was something about his creased face & sly smile that was charming.

"Have you ever been to Vegas?" he asked.

Ignoring him - for the moment anyway - Soraya suggested they return to her place not far away to get him cleaned up & brief him on the plan. On the way out the preacher noticed Kiwi journalist Peter Arnett at another table, and it made him homesick for Lambton Quay...

While he bathed, Soraya sat beside the tub & filled him in. The attack was scheduled for slightly more then two weeks away, but there was to be a meeting of all concerned in about 8 hours time. She described her fellow insurgents & detailed their backgrounds.

"There's only one problem we have" she said, "We need to know the movements of the secret police before during and after the operation, and we have no spies to rely on at the moment"

"Got it covered" he replied "I have a steel plate in my head, a souvenir from Burma a few years ago. Before I came here, the boffins managed to tune it to the secret police radio frequency."

He suddenly surprised her by standing up & motioning for a towel.

"Oh mummy" thought Soraya, "he's built like a brick minaret!"

"There's more to you than meets the eye" she finally quipped.

"Oh indeed" twinkled the preacher "Now how can we entertain ourselves over the next 6 or 7 hours...? Without standing up."

Where is he now? - Alasdair Kincaid

He's here... another reason to watch Maori TV by the looks of it.

Christchurch Star

The trouble with public transport.

It's all crystal clear now...

The no. 17 bus to Karori that runs by after school finishes is completely out of the question for a young girl travelling to netball practise.

It is full of Wellington College boys on their way home.

Plan B is needed.

T & I decided this is fair enough, & we'll worry when she gets a short skirt on & actively campaigns to catch the bus.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Clearly, the bird has to go...

It doesn't get any more self referential than linking to your own post.

SunnyO: A no-brainer, surely?

But it occurs to me, with the weight of their audience entirely against a silly idea, the only thing left for Radio NZ to do is send the bird the way of Wayne Mowatt.

Does anyone remember a truly brilliant TV programme called Friday Night? Must have been on in the late 80s. On... Friday night oddly enough.

It was a - I don't know the technical term for it, which no doubt will exclude me from ever producing a TV show - a show which contained other shows within it.

A brilliant & funny guy called Alistair Kincaid fronted it & he & his co-hosts would tour the country in a beat up old station wagon (which was the prize in a competition of some sort), looking for, amongst other things, the best fish & chip shop in the country.

It also presented such overseas produced programmes as Red Dwarf, Jane (1940s period comedy in which the hottie heroine is engineered into situations where her clothes fall off), and several others.

it was smart & clever in much the same way as the later Ice TV was.

hell... I even stayed in on Friday nights to watch it.

So of course, it was canned in very short order & Kincaid has never been seen on our screens since.

Way to go TV people.

And a whipping was administered...

Netball 2005 kicked off last Saturday. M is the captain of her school A team, and since they seem to have gotten their acts together really early in comparison to last year, is also already selected & the designated centre for the rep team.

We have as yet, no idea when rep tournaments start, and suspect nervously that we might be spending our weekends in remote & half-arsed towns as soon as the week after next.

However, last weekend, at 9.30am, we were at Marsden College, in a half-arsed suburb, catching up with all the other parents, some we haven't seen since last season, while the girls warmed up, and their coach, Sunnyo's very own T, barked instructions at them.

We've got 3 very hard games (if last year's form is any indication - and it isn't necessarily, since many who played this grade last year, have moved on to college) up first. Luckily, we have a stronger team than last year. We're in with a chance. And the traditional 2 top teams... seem quite lacking in the height department. But we won't get too cocky just yet.

M's grandparents turned up to watch. They're very supportive, if a little easily distracted. Grandad spent the first 20 minutes marvelling at the Marsden College architecture, and the 10 minutes after that, engaged in conversation with Mark Blumsky* "Do you know who that WAS?" he demanded of his more attentive wife. "Of course I do... it was Blumsky!" she wearily replied. Later, he pointed out to me, at length, the awesome vista that are the hills above Karori. And then sought the opinions of all who were near on the results of the British elections (oddly, while his nephew is actually a Liberal Democrat MP for some obscure electorate in Cornwall, he didn't know how he had done (romped in). BTW: That Lib Dem's story is absolutely fascinating, but not really mine to tell... but I'll consider it for a future post. He is no relation to me.

Anyway, first opposition was up & to be frank, a whipping was administered. 33-14. A very good start to the season. T & I were very pleased, though M was critical of their performance. Prospects for the next few games were the main topic of discussion through the weekend, with several variations on Edna Mode's (I only just found out that it's not Edna Mole!) rousing speech from the Incredibles were voiced "Fight! Win!", with T asking "What's that from? How do you guys remember it?" And like, "It's the bit we replayed about 50 times?"

Rep practise is proving a difficult hurdle. M wants one of us to take time off work to get her from school to the courts. We have suggested she might like to get a bus from right outside the school gates to right outside the practise courts, and back.

"But you guys" she protests "This is my CAREER we're talking about!". To which we have replied "This is OUR careers we're talking about too!"

So I have a bag full of bus time-tables to pass on tonight.

* I hereby promise never again to link to anything on the National Party website

And one other thing!

I heard it on TV last night from someone who should know better probably.

And now someone here has just sent me an "invite".

It's "INVITATION", dammit! Verbs do not make elegant nouns (to paraphrase my English Lit 101 tutor, who, much to our horror, marked us down on grammar & spelling).

To be fair, creative use of the language might be acceptable if it's novel & witty, I'm prepared to wear "a la mode-ing" it. Just.

And formal disclaimer - if you spot anything ungrammatical on this site, it's either novel & witty, or a typo, so don't even think about mentioning it.

A no-brainer, surely?

You decide if that's the exec in question, or the decision to be made...

STUFF : ENTERTAINMENT - STORY : Chorus to keep birdcalls on National Radio

Anyway, not that I'm overly bothered, I'm not even up by the first play, and at work by the second.

In followup news, TVNZ to can Coro Street & play extra episodes of Celebrity Treasure Island.

Could the Auckland bus strike be settled like this?

The pizzas or your life!

STUFF : WORLD NEWS - STORY : Pizza delivery ends Australian prison siege

Forget the fries & the extra anchovies & the deal is off.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Baa baa bald sheep.

In unrelated animal welfare news...

I can confirm that a certain black sheep is still bald, but otherwise perfectly healthy.

An enormously sad moment...

Flying the Skoda (not actually speeding, I hasten to add, it's just so close to the ground that it seems like it) back to Welly yesterday. On that patch of motorway by the Taupo Swamp (between Pukerua Bay & Plimmerton.

We were in the left lane, fortunately, there was nothing in the right lane beside us.

Suddenly saw up ahead that a bird must have been recently bowled. A pukeko in fact. It was pretty mauled, with mangled wings sticking up.

And its mate was coming back onto the road to see what was the matter.

I missed it, but in doing so made sure that in the unlikely event the first one still breathed, I would have put it out of its misery. And the girls were wailing.... "Eeeeeeeee!!"

I don't give much for the live bird's chances after that, there was a lot of traffic. But I felt a fist grip at my heart as we sped past.

Do pukekos mate for life? What happens when one dies? In the unlikely event that this one got back off the road...

Friday, May 06, 2005

Current events #2

I don't want to make a habit of this...

But slap me silly & call me Aaron Batt... Aaron Bahtn... Aaron B... This guy... No offense... it's a figure of speech...

I was abandoned by a cat once.

In the mid 80s I was living alone & went & got myself two cute little kittens. One was a weird looking, finger painting patterned furry meatball I called Dougal. the other was a pretty little tabby I called Florence.

And we all lived happily through several flats, houses, girlfriends & a wife for many years...

Then the three of us were all alone again...

The two cats got on well initially, but as they gre older, Florence got a little more surly with her adopted brother & merely tolerated him. She was a good cat though.

But after about 10 years, I went to see the movie Se7en, which if you've seen it, is not the cheeriest movie ever made. So... I was not in the happiest mood to start with that evening. When I got home, Dougal was lying beside the garden path apparently asleep. So I gave him a nudge & he just flopped over. Panicked I picked him up, and the big furry meatball gasped & died in my arms. I don't know why. The vet said it just happens now & then.

I thought Florence would get friendlier after that, but quite the opposite. She started spending more & more time away, dropping by only to eat.

And then dropping by not even to eat, but clearly quite healthy & well fed. I did canvass neighbours, but no-one nearby was feeding her. I decided she'd taken up residence in some other home & left it at that.

She contined to drop by, but less & less frequently. After about 3 years, I was in another relationship & preparing to move. By chance, I'd sold my house to a colleague & asked him to look out for her & if she was looking abandoned & troubled, to give me a call.

He told me she continued to pass by now & then, happy, groomed & well fed. So I stopped worrying about her.

But I've always wondered if I did the right thing....

Current events

Is it just me? Or does anyone else think that marital relations between Mr & Mrs prebble are entirely the business of Mr & Mrs Prebble (and any extra personages who may have come between them).

I mean... Mr & Mrs Pitt are manufactured plastoids & therefore their marital relations are rightly classified as "entertainment" because that is their profession, and possibly such events are specified in their contracts, who knows? Also, they are HOT!

But Mr Prebble is a politician & the vicissitudes of his domestic life do not class as politics. Nor entertainment.

That said, if anyone knows who Prebs is rumoured to have been shagging, please email me (to avoid invoking any libel laws). Unless it's deborah Coddington, I just had lunch you know).

In further current event news... GO The 'CANES!!!

Great Mysteries of our time #2

Demi Moore's career.

All round disclaimer #1

Just because I label any post with the suffix #1, does not mean there will ever be #2. This is partly because I only ever blog whatever comes to mind at the moment (not actually true... I do write them up in the early hours, stockpile them & email them in now & then... sometimes... - BTW: this is my standard disclaimer within a disclaimer format - but hey, all means believe it if you prefer. Or if in fact, you are my employer, wondering what I do all day). And partly because I am really lazy. It's unlikely that by the time I get to #2, that I will remember what I've blogged about before.

Or possibly, if you insist on logic, it is because the numbers represent priorities, and the next #1 signifies I have reprioritised the importance of an event or fact in the context of the list (this is not, however, true).

That said... there have come into my possession further memoirs of a certain Wellington Street Preacher & his exploits during Gulf War #1 (Gulf War #2 may be the exception that proves the rule however). (Or not). Which may well be transcribed & posted sometime this century.

Just so we're clear on this.

While we're on the subject

That advertisement, where someone mentions "The legendary pie sandwich".

Has anybody tried one? Or is this one of those instant "legends" created in the advertising world.

Have to admit... chances are I will do it one day. Possibly just for the reaction it would get.

Llew's meals to impress men #1

The esteemed Public Address blogger may well be on to something. What this blog needs is clearly a recipe section.

Although Che's motives are obviously to help men get sex. So to balance the equation, here's one that... well... gives him the energy.
So an alround win-win situation IMO.

Note: Unlike Che's target audience, I will be assuming that women (or
men even) wanting to impress men have some basic knowledge of how a kitchen functions... for instance, how to boil water. Not that there is any boiling of water involved in this recipe. But by all means if you like boiling water, go ahead.

Dunno what it's called..

Gratuitously Blokey Pork & Apple probably covers it though.


As many lean (or fatty - over to you really - check with your doctor
if unsure) pork steaks as you think the bloke will like. And one more
for yourself.

1-2 crisp apples.

As many bacon rashers as there are pork steaks. Or more if you feel like it.

A handful of chopped sage. Dried stuff from a packet if you must.


Core the apples, don't bother peeling them. And slice then into half
rounds, then lay them out onto a non-stick oven dish. Sprinkle with
the sage.

Wrap the bacon around the pork steaks, and place on top of the apples. Dust with pepper (let's be honest, the bacon will provide the salt (if in doubt, check with your doctor again).

Bake at 180 degrees for around 45-60 minutes.

Serve with oven fries, and vegetables or salad of your choice. Or if your target man is particularly blokey, baked beans into which a handful of chopped parsley has been tossed. Make him eat the parsley too.


Thursday, May 05, 2005

Che Tibby's Meals to Impress Women

Public Address | Club Politique

I was going to reply to the blogger above with this. Because by my calculations, I only have a few dozen of the world's bloggers that I have not either replied to or left a comment for, left to bother.

Then I thought that I have nothing else to blog today & might as well share it with all.

Also, I WILL reply, but with a link to this page & then Mr Tibby may be obliged to pimp my blog. Perhaps. Or I may obliged to send an associate of my uncle Don Vino Ministrone round to him to make him an offer he can't refuse.

No, just kidding. I say that to everyone.

Now... I'm a great cook actually. Not only do I not expect cooking to make me a "homo", I expect cooking to make me a meal! (anagram of male - notice that?). Anyway - reminds me of some grafitti in the women's loo at the Victoria University Student Association - ground floor (was published in Salient, I wasn't actually in there reading it). ALthough a friend did have a look & confirmed it

"My mother made me a lesbian!"
and underneath someone had added:
"If I gave her the wool, can she make me one too?"

My wife is also a great cook. Although we have completely opposing culinary styles. I will look into the pantry & fridge & take note of what we have at hand, get out one large pot, and over the course of the next hour or so concoct a memorable repast. I do not consult recipe books.

My wife looks through approximately 2 dozen recipe books & decides upon the meal that most suits her mood. She then gets out the entire cupboard's worth of pots & pans & implements, and THEN discovers that we have only 2 of the 45 or so obscure ingredients in the house. At this stage, I am sent down to the local superette, which is the only shop, aside from the video store, open within a five mile radius, on the off chance they happen to have smoked paprika & galangal, amongst other things.

Ah.. now I've lost my train of thought.... Oh yes... going to flash restaurants & ordering the steak.

I did this on my 35th birthday, in possibly one of the nicest restaurants I have ever been in, in a fairy tale town in France called Carcasonne

We stayed in this castle! It's the old town & there is a newer town spread all around it. But the castle has hotels, and shops, and homes even. It's weird watching cars commuting to the city below driving over the drawbridge.

It is also where they filmed a lot of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. In fact those fairy tale pointy bits on the turrets were put up for the film.

oh... and there are restaurants there too.

So, for my 35th birthday, my first wife & her sister (told people we met that I always travel with a spare), took me to dinner.

There were two dishes that I really wanted to try in my time in that lovely country - cassoulet, and steak frites. This restaurant had both on the menu.

Sadly, none of the waiting staff spoke any English. And so in my schoolboy french I asked if it were possible for me to have the cassoulet as an entree, and the steak frites as a main. They nodded.

They also asked me if I wanted ketchup. I have already mentioned somewhere below that my strategy when confused is always to answer "oui". And from that moment on, I could pretty much see the thought cross the minds of all the waiting & cooking staff when they looked at me - "Quelle cretin".

But in my defence - if they're going to have it on the menu, and if they're going to ask if you want it... why get all superior?

The cassoulet arrived. And it was DIVINE! It was also enough to feed 15 people, and I could see them all watching me carefully to ensure I did the dish justice.

I invited my companions to try some. Invited all the other diners to try some. I was stuffed by the time there was only two thirds of the dish left...

And then the very best steak and chips that I have ever encountered hove into view. It was DIVINE! It was enough to feed 3 people. Unfortunately I was no longer in any sort of state to do it justice.

The contempt of the restaurant staff was no longer veiled. I slunk out & recovered about 3 days later... but I will never forget that meal.

Oh... and where was I? Oh yeah... Che, recipes for dum dums trying to impress or pull chicks need to have no more than 6 very common ingredients. Just my advice there.

But great idea actually, I will be watching & probably cooking with interest.


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Although my chances...

of being nominated for awards might be improved if I admit that this, is me.

No wait... that was overly... sleazy... should I change it?


Recent photo of the author at home

"Author" heh... gives me goosebumps... if I say so myself.

Great Mysteries of our time #1

The Olsen Triplets.

Have I blogged this before? I know it's an oldie that I've foisted on more than one person... but I never tire of it. And your kids will never tire of arguing with you about it. Trust me.

How come we never see more than two of them at a time? Is it the one with "food issues" we never see? And is that Mary, Kate, or Ashley?

Apologies if I've mentioned this - I did a quick search & couldn't see it if I did.

Meanwhile, I continue to be perplexed about which posts attract comments. And which don't. I've decided that comments are really just confirmation that someone, is reading this stuff. But anyway... Don't make me have to tell more shagging librarian stories!

Well then... if no-one is going to bite at the idea of Michael Jackson as the new Arnie... "Go ahead, make my day!" (OK, I'm well aware that that is Clint, get over it)

So how about giving Jackson the lead in CSI: LA? "Take a swab, Bubbles!"

You have to drink, every time his nose falls off.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Such a weird idea, it just might work...

Could Michael Jackson save his career by reinventing himself as an action movie star?

This idea (and others) tossed into the ring, run up the flag-pole, put on the train etc... by Vern in his review of XXX2


Nicky Watson in knickers, lampshade & Free Huey.

You'll have to check the links within to see Huey. And Nicky.

Public Address | Yellow Peril

This is Tz Ming Mok from Public Address & IMO, she totally rocks.

No idea who Huey is. Or why s/he/it is free.

UPDATE: I consulted the author & Huey Newton is/was a Black Panther "Minister of Defence" jailed for voluntary manslaughter after an altercation with some police officers.

Also... while I'm at it... if such events do occur in Wellington, can someone please get me onto the invitation list?

Monday, May 02, 2005

Tall tales from another century

I came across an old flatmate on the web a few months ago (did a quick search, after another flatmate wondered what had became of him). I made contact with this august gentleman, now living & working in the Middle East & there followed a flurry of nostalgic emails as we reminded each other how reprehensibly we behaved a century ago...

And today, out & about, I saw a woman who featured in one of those nostalgic reminscences...

Warning: I will be taking off at tangents as I tell this story. Try to keep up.

I don't know what year it was... 1982 or 83 perhaps? I flatted with 4 others on the 9th & 10th floors of a city council flat. It was an awesome place. 4 bedrooms & a bathroom upstairs, a master bedroom, lounge, kitchen & 2nd bathroom downstairs. And a sizeable balcony running along the front of the place.

We spent a lot of time at the Southern Cross Tavern. In fact, one flatmate got himself a job there & is now happily married with 4 kids, to our regular barmaid...

And so we decided to hold a tequila party. I think tequila was decided upon because... well who knows why actually, probably because we saw it as the quickest way to obliterate ourselves.

Invitations made it clear that ONLY tequila would be consumed on the premises. Although the first guests to arrive brought copious bottles of THE red wine of its day Fairhall River Claret, and made an impressive start on this. Which in retrospect - red wine followed by tequila - was a mistake.

I'm starting to feel queasy already...

Anyway, the red wine drinkers were a bunch of women of my acquaintance. One I went to school with & always harboured a crush on. Her best friend, was also at the time, my on & off girlfriend. I was never really sure if we were on or off until the end of any given evening we were together actually. Accompanying them were a tall, attractive librarian (who may or may not have settled down eventually & spawned a daughter called Natalie), and another woman called Josie, who was pretty, and skinny, except that she sported what I shall obliquely refer to as one of the great briskets of her time.

More guests arrived, mostly from the ranks of a very bad rugby team I played for. We were possibly the most motley & worst rugby players to ever take the field.

At some stage early in the evening, Josie asked if she could have a guided tour of the flat. Josie usually came equipped with an overly cool & haughty looking boyfriend. But this night, he wasn't in evidence.

I showed her the downstairs bedroom first, which was not my room. She exclaimed "What a fantastic bed" and launched herself onto it, bouncing up & down.

And to this day I regret that I didn't think "So what if it's not my bedroom & my off & on girlfriend is in the next room, and where's her boyfriend anyway?" and get on the bed with her.

But there you go. I didn't. The rest of the tour was a non event, as was my acquaintance with the attractive Josie, my bed was not bounced upon by anyone & shortly thereafter we were back downstairs.

Whereupon, the librarian asked if she could have a guided tour. And of course gentleman that I am...

This time we got right past my bedroom & into that of another flatmate. At which stage the librarian began casting off her clothes & womanhandling me across the room.

Naive & innocent that I was, I fled downstairs to see if I still had a girlfriend. And she wasn't fazed at all, joking even "my tour of the flat didn't take that long".

But in fact, her initial tour of my flat took much longer. On about our third meeting, she & I had gone home from the Cross... and well... actually, the visit might have been shorter except that in one of those magnificent Wellington coincidences, she had gone downstairs in the middle of the night to get some water, then came bounding back up in a panic to whisper "My ex-husband is asleep on your couch!". And it turned out that my flatmate's boyfriend (NZ Chunder mile Champion at the time) had been best man at her wedding several years before & his mate had come to our place with them to crash.... So in fact we were stuck in my room then (bummer) until this guy & my flatmate's bf had left, sometime late the next day...

Back at the Tequila Party... my Middle Eastern flatmate, who was there with his girlfriend, was halfway up the stairs chatting with other friends, when a naked librarian descended, grabbed him by the arm & dragged him upstairs.

All we knew in the lounge was that someone upstairs was making a hell of a lot of noise. Later, when we pieced the whole story together we realised that first of all a bedroom was trashed, and then they moved to the bathroom, attempted to have a shower together & flooded the 2nd floor. Then they regained the bedroom & passed out.

Meanwhile, in the downstairs bathroom, his unsuspecting, and very intoxicated girlfriend was leaning over the toilet bowl feeling very unwell & introducing herself to one of our rugby comrades who was doing pretty much the same thing.

These two later married, but I wasn't invited to the wedding, possibly because I would have told their parents how they met.

At the end of the evening (not long before dawn), the girls turned their attention to what we were going to do about the librarian & how we would get her home. On inspecting the 2nd floor, we realised pretty much what had transpired & the one sober person present (the Southern Cross barmaid who had been working that night, not drinking) offered to take her home.

But we couldn't find her clothes. So we ended up dressing this woman in a mix of my & my flatmate's clothes, then he & I bundled her into his girlfriend's mini & off we drove to Miramar. And there, we sneaked her into her parents house & left her comatose on the couch dressed in men's clothes.

The next day, we did find her gear, spread all around the flat & in different rooms... & I put them all into a shopping bag & decided that I'd drop them to her at the library on my way somewhere else. When I got there, I asked another librarian if she was in today "No, she phoned in sick" was the unsurprising response. So handing a bag full of clothes, including underwear, jewellery & watch over the counter I said "Can you give these to her when she comes in next? She left them at my place last night."

Always kind of proud of that moment :) The librarian did cross my path again on a couple of recreational occasions, but she never, ever mentioned this episode.

Never saw Josie again as far as I can remember, with or without her haughty boyfriend. My off & on girlfriend was mostly off after that. My school friend, on whom I harboured a crush, and I never managed to both be single at the same time, although I do run into her & her family now & then.

And things in the flat were quiet for a while after.

Until we decided to hold a Home-made Sake party...