Friday, July 29, 2005

Hen Wlad fy Nhadau - The Welsh National Anthem

Still the coolest flag in the worldHen Wlad fy Nhadau Geiriau Cymraeg (Welsh Words)

Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi,
Gwlad beirdd a chantorion, enwogion o fri;
Ei gwrol ryfelwyr, gwladgarwyr tra mad,
Tros ryddid gollasant eu gwaed.

In a way, I only post this because the Welsh language looks so... incomprehensible & amusing. I studied Welsh at school for a year & came last in my class. In my defense, I arrived halfway through the first year (it was compulsory I think), and left halfway through the second. The only phrase I can vaguely remember is the Welsh for "How old are you?" (Beth ydu henechy? - or something like that). And that caravan in Welsh, is garafan. And "Welsh Television" is "Teledy Cymraeg". Perhaps. No responsibility is taken for my dismal Welsh spelling here. But rejoice, the anthem was cut & pasted & should be OK.

I used to have to sing this at school assemblies (not the year I studied Welsh). I think we even knew what the words meant.

The website does advise that the English version is not a literal translation, I think there might be more mention of painful inflictions visited upon the English with sharp and/or red-hot implements. But that might be my memory playing tricks on me.

Still, I can tell you from experience how grand it sounded wafting over the terraces at Cardiff Arms Park... Go visit the site & have a listen by all means.

Hat tip to MiramarMike...

The coming weekend

Netball starts again tomorrow morning (at some uncivilised hour). The girls are playing a new venue this term.

They actually came top of their grade last term & tradition has it that the top 2 teams from each region move to Hataitai for term 2 & play against each other.

So the games will be much harder...

But bring it on.

The downside of this success, is that parking is diabolical at Hataitai. And the courts are so close together, it is hazardous to spectate.

Worse, we have to provide an umpire at each match, who will officiate in another game - this seems fair in one respect, but unfair for the parents who volunteer to umpire - they don't get to see their daughter's game.

Also... few if any of the parents of our team have the faintest idea about umpiring. It does mean that T will be able to focus on coaching though. And we have one volunteer already, but will be scratching for more (and if we get them, I hate to think about the standard of umpiring for those games...).

So onward & upward.

Then on Sunday, it's a rep tournament in the fair city of Wanganui. I'm not going (shame). The Wanganui netball centre is built like a WWII Stalag, very dog unfriendly. And we reason that the weekends are when Wilma gets her quality & quantity family time. So she & I will stay at SunnyO & get picked up on the way home.

I was going to be having a night to myself on Saturday... T & M were to be staying in Wanganui ready for an early start. I was going to feast on baked pork hock (a pork roast for 1). And probably little else... and watch Infernal Affairs...

But we've since discovered that the first game isn't till 11am. So M will still spend the night up there with the rest of the team, T will stay with me in SunnyO (bye bye pork... bye bye Asian Bullet-Fest), and drive up the next day.

Still, I daresay we'll watch something equally interesting & eat something equally delicious... if maybe not so heart-attack-inducing...

MiramarMike gets Free Stuff (TM)

MiramarMike: Thank you to J Trump, whoever you are

Someone is sending cool Free Stuff to Mike... and it reminded me to mention that the Free Stuff camera phone that I requested of any obliging donor has not yet turned up...

I might as well mention that I'm also just champing at the bit to enthusiastically endorse any one of those DVD/Hard Disk Recorders that comes my way... Just gagging for it....

So here I am...

Mythical beastsSitting at home waiting for a tradesman who said he'd be here at 8am.

Pretty annoying really, I've sent apologies & work to the troops in the office via Gmail... I've rung the tradesman's company to find out WTF is going on... and they've continued their long valued tradition of not calling me back.

All I need to do is leave the guy a key so that he can check we still have hot water after he moves the gas meter about 1 metre north. Simple really.

First time I called them to say I'd requested this job to be done & heard nothing back, a guy on their contact centre said "But that was ONLY a month ago.."

Then no-one called me back.

The more recently, I rang & complained (only 2 months since I logged it this time). When I got home I found a nice professional letter saying they'd be here today.

Then 3 days ago they called to reschedule to yesterday & told me they needed access (a minor complication). Them at 8am yesterday they called to say "Sorry, it'll be Friday again now".

Since then, silence...

Thing is, I need this job done before our gas fitter goes overseas in a week or two. He needs to do some work after that. Once that's donw, I can fill in the large trench that runs the length of our front garden & restore some semblance of order...


Thursday, July 28, 2005

...doctors had warned him that showing courtesy to anyone could be fatal...


RIP Edward Heath. (Hat tip to Morphess at Trivial Pursuit)

Toasty’s Futon: The People’s Edward

And there was much rejoicing in the Village...

Just asking for it...Jubilation in the village last night. Feasting, drinking & carousing. Friday will be worse.

That's Kelburn Village, the hub of a suburb populated with a mix of white, middle class citizenry, and the fledgling middle class citizenry, not so white as they used to be, the students. Tomorrow's leaders....

And the Village was buzzing last night. Students clogged the shops buying... food, it looked like. I didn't check, but it was likely that the licquor store was doing a good trade too. And the topic of conversation? Aside from everyone (I kid you not, everyone) opining that Mark Blumsky fell down the stairs in a drunken stupor* (and this was opined in not necessarily unadmiring tones), was Labour's interest free student loan (blatant bribe - and opinion was not necessarily unadmiring of this either) promise.

Even the shopkeepers were in good spirits. Especially the ones with children with student loans.

Everyone laughing, and shouting, and pumping the air like Katie Holmes is waiting at home in the hot tub....

And me & Wilma? We were morose. Wilma, because she hates the shops anyway, and especially people trying to win her over & pat her... Me, because happy students do not bode well for peace & quiet & property damage free weekends.

When we first moved to Kelburn, it did not escape my attention that none of the houses in our part of the street had letterboxes. The next door neighbour told me that there was no point, when capping week came along, your letterbox disappeared. And every two weeks or so, all the cars parked kerbside would be vandalised. Drunken students coming home the universal suspects.

Our wheelie bin was taken one night, filled with concrete and dropped off the Kelburn viaduct. We drove home from SunnyO on the Sunday & laughed as we passed it "Some loser has lost their wheelie bin! hey, where's OUR wheelie bin?". Actually that happened twice, despite it being chained up after the first incident.

Fortunately, I paid a significant sum of money for a group of professionals to demolish our letterbox as part of a small suburban renewal programme a couple of weeks ago. SO aside from a sleepless couple of nights listing to revelry, we probably have nothing to worry about.

* To be fair, and to avoid DPF's righteous wrath, I can't see why he'd make up a bogus story if he'd had an accident like that. Blumsky is well known & liked around town & so such unkind speculation somewhat surprised me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Emmanuelle Beart Pole-Dancing

Hello Google!

Such a talented girl...I've long realised that what this blog needs is more pictures of Emmanuelle Beart. You might remember her from countless quality French movies such as... Manon de Source, in which she danced naked with a herd of goats... La Belle Noiseuse, in which she posed naked for approximately four hours (the time just flew) while Michel Piccoli painted her portrait.... and Un Coeur en Hiver, in which she phunked badly with Daniel Auteuil's (her real life husband) heart.

Nathalie is about Fanny Ardant discovering that her husband, Gerard depardieu, is being routinely unfaithful. So one night she visits a "gentleman's club" and engages the services of a beautiful prostitute, Nathalie, to catch her husband's eye & report back what melts his buttons...

Pretty soon (a little faster than the wife intended - "I wanted Nathalie to be a normal girl?" - "Maybe she's also an easy lay" is the reply) the younger woman is recounting lurid details of steamy trysts in hotel rooms, and Fanny is inspired to commit her own infidelities.

But is everything as it seems?

Nice performances, talky script, naked French hottie. Pole dancing.

Go ogle.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

This week's cute animal stories...

But first, the inexorably sad one. See that poor donkey in the paper? Awww....

Now for the survivors...

I think I blogged a while back that Wilma the Wonder Labby can somehow tell which of us, in the mornings, is on dog walk duty. Well the school holidays posed a problem for her. Neither of the first two people up in the morning was on duty. And each morning, after the usual bit of happy dancing around each of us in turn, the realisation sank in... then she'd sit there, drooping, waiting for the third family member to get out of bed & do the honourable thing. Labs are creatures of habit.

Worst thing is, because we were all out of routine, one morning I forgot to feed her... had to go home at lunchtime to rectify the situation when I realised & txted everyone to see if anyone else had.

Fortunately, holidays are over & we're back to our usual routine. Happy dog.

But speaking of drooping, you should see her when we put her car restraint on. It's a bit like when she had to wear a halter for walkies, it's like all the fun gets sucked out of life. I don't know why, but she hates the car restraint. Sulks.

And ooh... nearly forgot... up at SunnyO last weekend, was checking on the sheep - they're probably in need of shearing, but I will wait till spring is imminent... this being the depths of Winter I was expecting the guys & gals to be a bit... underfed perhaps, lacking in energy. But they surprised me no end, at dusk on Saturday night, by putting on a long display of gambolling. Whichis, a sign of healthy & happy sheep.

Way to go guys!

Where's the dope?

They arrested him.

STUFF : ODDSTUFF - STORY : Texan arrested after reporting dope theft

Scoop: Dennis Hans: Super-spy Tom Cruise Outed Plame

Scoop: Dennis Hans: Super-spy Tom Cruise Outed Plame

I knew it.

Monday, July 25, 2005

I see Mallards...

Duck!Weird weekend.... did you watch Lance Baby cross the line at the end of the Tour de France (did you laugh or cringe as the commentators repeated... repeated... contentions that the other guy - Ulrich? - may have started out too fast & run out of steam? And then 30 seconds later, the other commentator repeated... repeated... the same contention as though it were fresh news? And later, they both trotted it out again several times in case we missed it. I hope Ulrich watches the replays, he may have learned something from this year.

I hope Ulrich watches the replays, he may have learned something from this year. You see he started out too fast and ran out of steam.

Anyway... Armstrong. Heh, and this isn't even about him. Did you notice that in the telephoto closeup of Lance racing towards the line & Ms Crowe... that car full of grim & burly men that looked like extras from the Sopranos following closely behind? Well I swear it looked like Trevor Mallard driving that car.

Later, because it was a slow night, and the DVD we got out to watch - The Ladykillers, starring that nice Tom Hanks guy... turned out to be pretty crappy & waaay... too gross for family fare (no kidding, it sucks - watch the old UK original starring Alec Guinnes, that one is great.), we found ourselves watching one of the half a dozen or so channels that plays CSI.

It was the one set in Las Vegas, except it was set hi Los Angeles this week. Teh crusty cop with a heart of gold was in LA visiting his estranged daughter, who has become a hooker. her best friend & colleague goes missing & is later fished out of a lake. meanwhile, somehow, one of the CSI guys is also in LA (we missed the beginning, and so why this came about was beyond our understanding).

but the thing that struck me this week, and I have no idea why I have never notriced it before... is that the crusty cop with a heart of gold & an estranged daughter who has become a Hollywood hooker... appears to be played by Trevor Mallard.

A surreal end to the weekend. Wondering where Trev will turn up next now...

Friday, July 22, 2005

And still they come...

Doesn't everyone "know" already? (inverted commas indicate that I for one will not be entirely convinced until name suppression is dropped. Particularly some of the more peripheral names that are coming up...)

Celebrities take drugs? Who'd have believed it? I hope they're having a lot of sex too & generally behaving badly, otherwise where is the incentive to become a clebrity in the first place?

Meanwhile (and completely unrelated)... not a single person has (ever) googled in here looking for news on Jason Gunn or Hayley Westenra...

InsideSauce -> Sportsmen and drugs (no names disclosed)


But how interesting...

InsideSauce -> Sportsmen and drugs

I had a truckload of "young professionals" visit over the last day... is this what they do all day? :)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Tip to bloggers

Psst... wanna know the latest goss? Seeing as I've mentioned one or two celebrity names in the past on this site, as well as (unrelated to them) phrases similar to "drug addled" and "name suppression", I've been fascinated by the google referrals that have swung by over the last day or two.

I'm considering a post comprising of nothing but a list of celebrities - including past & present casts of Shortland Street, anyone who has ever been an All Black, Silver Fern, Black Cap, or medal winning Olympic athlete, news readers, reality TV show contestants, game show hostesses, Charlotte Dawson (what, exactly IS she famous for anyway?), and Public Address bloggers...

And then see what turns up....

We have Ignition...

mmmm.... heat....!Word has it that a small group of gasfitters, fireplace installers, wives & children were shouldered aside to make room for a yellow retriever to claim her rightful place inches away from a newly installed jetmaster heater...

Disclaimer: Picture does not depict the actual yellow retriever or heater in question.

Tonight's the night!


I am promised (solemnly) by punctual & industrious tradesmen! (Yeah, right).

And we're apparently heading for a stratospheric high of 9 degrees today...

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

7 words you can't say...

I'm sure William Torkington sends his apologies to George Carlin....

Cheers Kev, for the link (Quicktime required).

And after...

Garden assimilated by the Borg... (geek credentials established)

Lights in the sky...

M was in Auckland visiting rellies last weekend. They took her to Don Giovanni, her first opera ever!

On the way home they were treated to the spectacular lightning storm I've read a few people rave about this week...

M recounted this to us when she got home..

"... and I said, Wow! That's the most exciting thing I've seen all night!"

And T then asked her: "What did the opera fans in the car say to that?"

"Oh" said M, oblivious "I don't think they said anything..."

Not "THAT" Ben & Olivia...

So far as I know anyway. And since these guys have been responsible for a truckload of referrals here, I feel honour bound to return the favour. Perhaps.

Public Address | Hard News - White Collared

Although... it made me recall an incident shortly after we bought our first SunnyO retreat... I discovered a hatch at the back of a cupboard that led underneath the house. Just a few feet within the hatch, were a bunch of crumpled clothes... and I had this awful feeling about what I might find. Anyway... it was just some old clothes (phew!).

Also... I don't need to know the names of these two sportsmen/TV celebs... I especially don't need to know in the comments section... OK? I know who they sound like...

Cool Movie Alert! Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... and Spring.

I've had a major deadline looming at work the last few weeks. One which I've successfully ignored (aside from a few guilty feelings in the weekend). Today... it got brought forward a day... and so I started the work involved. Since I find that 90% of the burden of any job is actually starting it... I fully expect to finish it by lunchtime.

Remember that old Lily Langtree series? When Oscar Wilde says something along the lines of "I've had SUCH a busy day, this morning I inserted a comma, and this afternoon I took it out." I know the feeling.

And so it is I feel justified in goofing off for 10 minutes to tell you about this movie.... which I missed from last year's film festival.

I just don't have the words to describe how gorgeous this is. Set on a small Buddhist temple floating in a lake, somewhere in Korea, it concerns the lives of an old monk, and his young charge who we see grow into adulthood (the Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter of his life, geddit?).

When this film takes place is indeterminate for a long time into the running, could be yesterday, it could be 3000 years ago. It's not until visitors arrive at the temple that the period can be guessed at by their clothing.

SummerAt the start of the movie, it is Spring, and the old monk is teaching his apprentice a hard lesson in life, that will have its final repercussions decades later. Skip forward 10 years or so to Summer, when the apprentice is a young man & he and the old monk are caring for a sick young woman. When she is cured, lust rears its head & this episode ends with the young man leaving the temple to follow his heart (and the young woman). The old monk warns that "Lust leads to possession, and possession leads to murder." Which later on gets you wondering about what happened in HIS earlyier life.

Come Autumn (or Fall, as the subtitles insist), the young man is now 30, and back at the temple on the run from the law. His master's words were prophetic. In this episode he must work the anger from his soul & confront his destiny.

Some years later, and it is Winter. This time the young man, now middle aged, is able to walk across the frozen lake. He finds his master has died in the intervening period, and he has come home to take his place. Before Winter is out (following an unexpectedly tragic incident, which will make you gasp!), the monk takes charge of a young apprentice... and it is Spring again. Life is circular. Etc.

Believe me, telling you the plot won't detract from your viewing experience in the slightest. This is just beautiful.

There are some fascinating details too. There are doors that the monks & visitors diligently use, but no walls. There must be some symbolism that I'm unaware of. And by golly, I don't know if snakes share the same representations in Buddhism as Christianity... but there sure are a lot of them in this movie.

Oh yeah - addendum... Mrs Llew states she is getting heartily tired of "Asian" movies (a staple at the SunnyO household). But what she really means is that she's so over the tippity-tappety flying through the air martial arts thing. Which is a pity, I've got House of Flying Daggers lined up...

But Spring, Summer etc, has none of that... except for one brief, ambiguously mystical occurence that answered the question we'd had most of the way through... "How does the old man get across the lake to keep tabs on the boy, when the boy has the boat?" I'll keep you in suspense. But suffice to say, we all looked at each knowingly... because we've seen these guys tippity-tappety & fly in other movies... although, that's not what he does...

Anyway, you could do a lot worse than spending some time with a couple of Buddhist monks in the middle of a lake.

I promise I'll watch something with a car chase soon...

Monday, July 18, 2005

Intimate Strangers - Cool Movie Alert!!

Picked Intimate Strangers up to watch in the weekend & was very pleasantly surprised. It's directed by Patrice Leconte, who also directed one of the most enjoyable French films I've ever seen - The Girl on the Bridge (which is about a knife thrower - Daniel Auteuil, who comes across a depressed young woman - a luminous Vanessa Paradis, about to commit suicide by throwing herself off a bridge. The knife thrower offers her a job as his assistant reasoning that it might be a win-win situation for both of them. It's brilliant.)

Anyway... Intimate Strangers isn't such a black comedy as that one. It concerns William (Fabrice Luchini), a staid tax accountant specialising in messy divorce cases, who is visited at his office/apartment by Anna (Sandrine Bonnaire), an attractive woman who has mistaken his office for that of the psychotherapist down the hallway. Since she's there to talk about her unhappy marriage, William thinks she's just unloading & doesn't realise the mistake until after her visit.

In fact, even when Anna realises her mistake, she finds she values their meetings so much, that she continues to visit.

In turn, William is captivated by Anna & lives for their appointments. She becomes an agent for change in his life - William lives in & works from the apartment & office which was owned by his father, who was also a tax accountant. In fact, there is nothing of William in the place, his secretary even, was his father's, he has kept his parents' bedroom just as it was when they were alive. William grew up in the place. When Anna asks him who a picture on the wall is of, he confesses he has no idea - someone his father knew he presumes. The picture is gone by the time Anna next visits.

William consults the psychotherapist down the hallway about the situation & finds himself not only acting as the Doctor's proxy, but the subject of analysis himself. I found these scenes highly amusing, the doctor is a dry fellow who manages to extract either a consultation fee, or lunch, from William every time

Despite the salacious sounding title, there is no sex or nudity, the intimacy refers to the conversations they have.

Do by all means, check this out.

The Front Lawn... Before....

Excuse me, are you Arthur Dent?

Good morning!

Somebody order a digger?

You should see it now....

Friday, July 15, 2005

Day 3 - Rain stops play...

Problem seems to be foundations need to be deeper. Unavoidable. Might cost more (but would have anyway), but progress will not be slowed too much.

Still haven't checked my lotto ticket from last week (delaying the crushing, yet probably inevitable moment when the machine says "Not a winning ticket". They need a cheerier, or at least more personable rejection I think.

"Sorry, you're a loser".

But I hate being rejected by a machine anyway. Fuckers.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

HAH! (Hysterical guffaw). Day 2.

Word has it the builders, having destroyed our property, have packed up for the week because the ground is "too puggy" for the proposed foundations.

Architects have yet to be informed by said builder, but I have already asked them to find out what is going on & solve the problem without any further impact on costs.

Day 2! Shiiiiiiiiittt! We have 10 weeks of this to look forward to. I am already resolved never to have anything built, ever again.

Also, Mrs Llew had a minor fracas with a neighbour & HER builder who were reserving carparks in the carpark deprived street, for a delivery man.

Then, the fireplace guy announced he's finished until next Thursday (after telling me this morning that everything would be up & running by the time I got home today...), and has decamped to his other client in our street, the neighbour fracassing with T...

At least Dr Who is on tonight.

N.Z. Restaurant Puts Mr. Ed on the Menu

Think this is true? You may have to click through a brief ad to read this. But essentially, a Hamilton restaurant is serving chargrilled horse... according to Wire Story - N.Z. Restaurant Puts Mr. Ed on the Menu: "

All over the place this morning...

The front garden looks like a big digging machine has scraped it flat (odd that). The dog is so excited, she doesn't know which bit of mud to roll in first.

We gain access to our property via temporary steps from the next door neighbour's place.

There is chaos in the garden, and slightly less chaos inside where a fireplace man is struggling to get our two heaters up & running by the time we get home tonight. It should have been yesterday, but 1. The water suddenly dried up so he was unable to mix mortar, and 2. there was no way for him to get his 30kg bags of mortar down to the house, even if he got water from next door.

I have amused our architects immensely by declaring "Sheesh, this is only day 1! Will there be a day down the track when you send me an email to say you've discovered the project will cost $3000 less than thought?". I think my email is probably being circulated around the NZ Architects Institute to give them a good laugh.

And so the evening was spent debating between ourselves (the clients) whether "contingency" and "slush" funds should be synonyms. And wondering where I could find a photo of Audrey Tatou dressed as Zorro.

I have made it clear to everyone that things had better settle down for a few months now or we're all in trouble, as far as budgets are concerned anyway.

I have loads to do at work also. Loads... fortunately I have finely honed & sophisticated work avoidance techniques to counter this. I developed rudimentary skills in this area early on, at college certainly, possibly before. I refined them to a level approaching Art at university. I am not the sort of person that plans a project out, prepares, and has it completed well before the deadline. I'm a "Holy fuck, it's half an hour before my 6000 word essay on DH Lawrence's The Man Who Died is due, I'd better read it." kind of guy. I once had to run a seminar on the NZ novel Man Alone. I hadn't finished it, but led a rousing session by asking the class what they thought of the ending. Winged it quite successfully. The tutor, the scary Father Francis MacKay even complimented me. I'm still not sure how it finished, the class didn't really seem to agree.

And so what was the point of that anyway? Oh yes, I have lots to do but this morning I was instantly distracted & moved by this post on Public Address. BusyBoy has figured out that his parents & everyone he knows will one day die.

MiramarMike sent me a meme some time ago, 5 things I miss about childhood. I never completed the meme. For one thing, there was a lot of faffing around with links to do. For another, when I first read it I thought I only had to think of one thing & move everyone else's entries one place up.

The truth is, there is one thing I miss from my childhood. I miss my dad.

I can remember, like BusyBoy, when the concept of mortality sunk in. It seemed important then, not just that my folks remain alive for a long time, but that they remain some good distance from death, that they remain young.

I can remember quizzing them: "Will you still be a young man & woman when I am a young man?" I'm sure the answer was in the affirmative.

Really, what I hadn't factored in at that stage, was that death does not only come to old people. He made it to approximately 6 months older than I am right now. Still young. I was a mere 19 at the time. We really weren't young men together for long enough. Younger brother & younger sister were, and are of course, some 4-5 years younger than me. Now, if he were alive, he'd be in his early 70s. Although if my mum is any indication of how he'd have aged, he might still be considered young.

I possibly get my work ethic from my dad. Certainly, I squirmed recently when my mum observed that it would have been a lot easier for her & her young family, if my dad had had some ambition, he was immensely talented, academically & sportingly, dux at school, scholarships, captain of the first 15 & eleven... I could see my wife looking at me out of the corner of her eyes & pennies dropping into place, and I knew she was thinking about the ambition thing :) Hey, I have ambition! I just haven't yet figured out what I want to succeed at. In the meantime, be assured, I wear lots of sunscreen.

I have a wonderful photograph of my father, taken when he would have been in his early 20s, and it looks like he & the group of men he is with have just finished a shift in a coal mine. He looks for all the world like a young John Lennon (without the moptop). If I had a scanner....

So anyway, I don't really want to dwell on this, I should get back to work, or if not, scour the web for Audrey Tatou dressed as Zorro.

I'll finish with just a very quick story about my dad, which might be indicative of something. Or not.

When we were back in the UK for a year in the early 1970s, dad, who was a mining engineer turned maths & physics teacher, had scored himself a job at a local secondary modern school, pretty much babysitting a hard case class of underachievers, and even teaching, of all things, given he was the least practical engineer who ever walked the face of the earth, metalwork.

After some months, the local school inspectors visited, and were obliged to mention to dad, that one enterprising young fellow, down the back of his metalwork class, had for some months, been quite competently & diligently, building himself a fully functioning revolver.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


AmelieWe watched Amelie again (for two of us) last night. It was the first time M had seen it & she loved it.

For those who haven't seen it, it's a delightful, magical tale about a shy yuoung woman in Paris, doing good deeds for those who need them, striking retribution for those who do not, and engineering true love for herself with Nino (Matthieu Kassovitz - who also directed (and starred in) the hard hitting La Haine).Amelie et Nino

So it's a feel good tour de force (de Paris).

Anyway, all I wanted to say was that what struck me, on this viewing, is how unbelievably hot Audrey Tatou looks when dressed in a Zorro costume.

I always wanted to hold a Zorro party.... one where everyone, men & women, have to come dressed as Zorro. For some reason I've always thought that'd be cool. Might have to drink nothing but tequila too.

More on my Zorro fixation when I finally read the book....

Things you just don't want to hear from trained professionals doing a big job on your house & property:

1. Oo-er, bit steeper than I remember.
2. You know that watermain we said we had to be careful not to sever?

I had an Arthur Dent moment this morning. Opened the front door to be confronted by 4 burly guys & a big digging machine looking over our front fence....

Said hello & went back inside for a few minutes, came back out & the fence was gone...

As I left for work, I did snap a picture of the digger advancing down the hill (which I will post in due course)... even though the gradient is steeper than he remembered... he told me not to worry, it'll all be OK "It's GOT to be!" which I decided not to mention was still not the most reassuring thing to say...

M came up our garden path to take Wilma for her walk. By the time she got back, apparently, the path & steps were gone too...

At least when they rang later, it was only about the water & our newly forming front lake. I had visions that they may have slid the digger down the hill & into our lounge via the four 12 foot high windows out the front... (Memo to self: DON'T EVEN SAY THAT!!)

So, for the next 3 months we will be coming & going via our next door neighbour's garden path & some temporary steps. It could be worse.

It occurs to me now that I haven't actually thought about what to do about the letter-box that got demolished this morning. Hopefully the postie will improvise (as if). Later, a lot of other things will occur to me that I hadn't considered. I guess that's progress.

We were lucky that all the preparation was done in time. Or most of it anyway. The power & phone now go underground. The gas company had a meter to replace, and move, so the digger could get in. I noted last night that they visited yesterday & replaced it, but hadn't moved it. (Hence the digger took the alternative, steeper route). Since the gas company don't return phonecalls ever, and the guy I need to speak to is never, ever in the office, I have no idea what the story is. They were supposed to quote on the job too, before doing it. But that seems to have gone by the way... I guess I'm a captive customer in this situation... (Hello Contact Energy, I'm talking to YOU!)

At least the owner of the house next door & his tenants are happy to have us trooping down their steps to get to our place. We'll invite them to our car deck warming party. And the builder, and the electrician. But not the gas company man. That'll teach him.

Monday, July 11, 2005

World News

Man - my toe is STILL a problem! I know you needed to know this...

During the week, it morphed from a stunted purple kumara, to a yellow one. With a purple grape growing off it.

One week down the track the grape is a bit smaller. So progress I suppose. Oh... and its a lot less painful. Pity, I was getting fond of the limp.

And so the Lion's tour is history. Saw no red jerseys or jackets on the street today. I miss those guys already.

Spent the weekend profitably - cleared as much as I could from the front section, in advance of a digging machine coming on Wednesday to clear what's left. I moved bricks, terracotta pots & plants. A huge camellia, and a lot of decorative native grasses. What's left can be scraped now, I'm done.

Extended my trench - part of which already has phone, power & a redundant Saturn cable sitting in it ready to be cut over tomorrow - down beside the house where the gas line diverges from the rest of the utilities.

Goodness knows when the gas company will be moving the meter... a very grumpy man came up (the builder was on site & he & I made faces behind the gas man's back) to tell us all the problems & obstacles involved. Fortunately, another gas man came along a few minutes later, took a quick look & cheerfully announced "Easy". Yay! We'll take that guy's second opinion thanks.

Have I mentioned I'm a landlord BTW? Got another house down the road, which is home to 5 young "professionals". A TV reporter, two lawyers (to keep a landlord on his toes), a PR company something... and someone else, whose vocation I can't recall. That last guy though, seems to travel in the company of an ever changing selection of quite attractive young women. So maybe he's a racing car driver (wild guess).

Actually, they're a nice bunch, some of them are cute even. Although they are DIY impaired. I know it's a landlord's job sometimes, but I think the first person on the scene can probably competently press the button to reset the circuit breaker... but apparently not.

And changing a lightbulb did actually involve a small rewiring job (I lived for 5 years with only one of those bulbs working.. now I no longer live there, I finially mounted ladder & fixed it...). SO I can't really complain about that.

They are amusing at times though. SO I'm up a ladder, and one of them comes home & says hello & tells me how cute Wilma (waiting outside) is. She enters the kitchen. A few minutes pass & there is a conversation heard. I call out for someone to try the light switch. There is sudden silence. Then the one who just recently passed me says, with a note of mild panic, "Whose voice is that? Is someone here?". On told it is just me, completely blocking the hallway, and she just clambered past me... "Oh yes... I forgot." (Patent lawyer).

And so lots accomplished this weekend. Sore & tired again. I need some time off...

Friday, July 08, 2005

The Triforce : Tubes really are cunts. So are terrorists. And Tony Blair.

Scarfed this from the comments section on Alan's blog...

The Triforce : Tubes really are cunts. So are terrorists. And Tony Blair.

It's from a survivor of one of the tube blasts.

A Letter To The Terrorists, From London :: The London News Review

Better than a stiff upper lip....

A Letter To The Terrorists, From London :: The London News Review

October 14, 2066

Norman Horseman. Pleased to meet you.Been reading a few sites & articles recently trumpeting the London win of the Olympics over Paris. Some of them bizarrely, even tie that back to the recent Battle of Trafalgar re-enactment.

"We beat the French! We beat the Germans! We beat the Dutch! We beat the Zulus!" etc. And we're not talking football.

Anyway, fair dues. And one site did mention how gracious the French ambassador was at the Trafalgar commemoration, "It's history, Nelson had a very good force & game plan. The better team won. Naval warfare was the winner on the day." Or something like that, it loses a bit in translation.

So... I'm wondering if the UK & France will be commemorating the Battle of Hastings in 2066, which was the last time the UK was invaded I believe, successfully or otherwise.

I'm quite sure the Brits will be equally as gracious as the French Ambassador was at Trafalgar.

BTW: I mean, I don't want to look like I'm blagging the Brits on a very tragic day for London. I'm not. In fact, I was impressed watching the emergency services people last night, and even the survivors, at their attitudes & pluck.

And I was impressed with Blair & his words. Haven't heard Red Ken yet, but I have read that he's very moving too.

I just don't understand this antipathy between France & England. Get over it already.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Dungle-a-dung Dungle-a-dung...

...Dungle-a-dung dungle-a-dungle-a
Dungle-a-dung Dungle-a-dung dungle-a-dung dungle-a-dungle-a


Dungle-a-dung Dungle-a-dung dungle-a-dung WAHOOOO
Dungle-a-dung Dungle-a-dung dungle-a-dung dungle-a-dungle-a


Dungle-a-dung Dungle-a-dung dungle-a-dung dungle-a-dungle-a
Dungle-a-dung Dungle-a-dung dungle-a-dung dungle-a-dungle-a


Dr Who Rocked!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

White spot on black background.

Nooo, silly... it's the moon....

I see... a ba-ad moo-oon rising...

Shine on, shine on harvest moon... up in the sky...

Blue-oo moon....

SunnyO at Dusk

SunnyO 1

SunnyO 2

SunnyO 3

SunnyO 4

SunnyO 5

SunnyO 6

SunnyO 7

SunnyO 8

SunnyO 9

Kapiti Island at Dusk

Kapiti 3

Kapiti 2

Kapiti 3

Too hard! My head hurts...

Cripes... ever tried to fill in a form for Contract Works Insurance?


My toe hurts too (unrelated). It looks like a purple kumara actually. Since I twisted my foot painfully on Friday night. Limped around for a bit. All much better by Sunday night.

Wore my business shoes to work monday... started limping part way through the day again. Got home, inspected badly chafed, bruised & swollen big toe & bandaged it up.

Been in civvies ever since, since the only shoes I am able to wear tolerably would look pretty knobby with a suit.

Been telling anyone who asks that I'm affecting a limp to see if it looks cool & suits me.

OK... back to the contract works insurance form. Waiting for Nellie, from NZI to ring & assure me that 80% of the form doesn't need to be filled in... we live & hope.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Wasteland...

The builder visited this morning.

"Looks like a bombsite" he observed of our trench, bright yellow gas line & debris littered front garden.
"You should see inside", replied Mrs Llew, indicating the soot covered front room where yesterday, a fireplace expert was working on the site of one of our soon to be installed Jetmaster 700 gas fires...

The upshot of it is that this week, electricians will visit & relocate the overhead power & phone lines to the trench, and the electricity meter to someplace discreet outside of the house.... At some stage, possibly not this week (such is the speed the gas company moves at) the temporary gas line will also be relocated to the trench & the gas meter moved one metre north...

And early next week, a digging machine will visit the garden to remove said debris & prepare the site for the proposed car deck...

It's very exciting.

Next Wednesday!When the fireplace guy arrived, a very soft spoken, cordial & considerate fellow who has kept us informed of the process the whole way through, and although he is neat as a pin, as much as he can be, I have heard my wife tell people that we have this guy visit twice a week to spread a film of soot all over the house... I told him that it was very important that he tell the gasfitter (his accomplice) that when the gas line is buried, he is under no circumstances to fill in the trench, unless the power has already been relocated.

"Oh don't worry" said he, "He's not a shovel man. He's gentleman of the gas works..." Which I thought was a pretty droll observation of his colleague...

That settled... I also got some very good news. Today is the last day that soot will be distributed around the house, we are free to vacuum at will. And also... by Wednesday next week, we will actually be firing up the beasts (depending on the gas company moving the meter and increasing the pressure.)

As at this stage, we have no idea how we will be getting from the street to our front door, once the digger has removed the existing path & steps. But the builder tells me he'll "think of something" between now & next monday. We are also impressed with this guy because... in the whole process involving architects, builders & landscapers, he's the only one who has looked at the mature punga ferns in our garden & expressed admiration & optimism that we won't have to cut them down. We like him.

Disclaimer: The above photo looks nothing like our place. Not now, not next Wednesday. Aside from there will be one of these things in the dining room & lounge.

Mmmmmmmm.... heat....

Mind you, seems to be warming up a bit.

BTW: One thing I forgot to mention... the fireplace guy needed to demolish & rebuild the brickwork in the two of our 5 fireplaces (we even have the original "copper" in the basement) that we are using (the grand one in our massive bedroom will stay there for now, looking magnificent & antique, but unused, until we figure something clever to do with it). He needed more bricks & I mentioned we have a truckload at one of our er... other houses. So last weekend, I made a special trip down the road & piled the car high with nice bricks.

It was on about my 10th trip down from the car to the front door, that I noticed that I was having to be careful not to trip over on the 70 or so... loose bricks that run along the garden path that is going to be demolished next week...

Flangello for sale - - New Zealand

Um... words fail me...title=Believe it or not... home grown by Younger Brother.

Flangello for sale - - New Zealand

Monday, July 04, 2005

Newyorkality: Sex it up

Quick! Everybody - go here now, before she sobers up & changes her mind.

Newyorkality: Sex it up

the wellingtonista: The Best Bang Since the Big One?

Watch the skies... TONIGHT!.

the wellingtonista: The Best Bang Since the Big One?

Crowds just wild about William

STUFF : NATIONAL NEWS - STORY : Crowds just wild about William

I dunno what you guys think, but If I'd been invited to an after match function at which royalty would be in attendance, I don't think I'd have considered a rugby jersey, jeans & ugg boots suitable attire, regardless of whether there was a dress code or not. Maybe I'm being churlish....

But I have to admit, if I was a(n English) visitor here for the tour, I'd be pretty chuffed that there'd be a chance I'd run into a prince in my wanders about the city.


Haven't I said that already? In one of those freak occurrences, the girls beat this week's opponent by the very same score as last week.

Much nicer game this time, much more sporting opponents, much nicer parents (including a local National Party candidate). Our team was a bit slicker, and a lot taller. Which does make a difference.

So... in fact, except for one of the three grading games at the beginning of the season (which don't count anymore), M's team are unbeaten and a mile ahead of everyone else on points for & against.

Anyway, break from netball for a few weeks. No rep game & so we slept in on Sunday. Yeehaw!

I spent most of the weekend refining my trench, it is now officially finished, 600mm deep from gate to house & just waiting on electricians & gas fitters to come & bury their stuff.

Yay. Once again, I ache all over. And I have hurt my foot (not badly, and it's getting better...

Oh... and the rugby game was much better than last week. And I have to say, as many others will do much better than me, on the odd excursion into town over the weekend, the city was in full party mode. Pumping. Brilliant.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Talking politics on Magpie Lawn

Remember when election nights were a big event? You'd get a load of people around, feed them, lubricate them with hops & grape based hydrocarbons... pour scorn on the politicians & studio experts, watch the election results come in and hope like hell your side won?

Now I like MMP, but I have to admit it has had a negative impact on Election night, one we should have foreseen, but didn't.

It should have been obvious: After the first MMP election, on October 12, 1996, even though all the results were in at the end of the evening, the country was left for several weeks not knowing who would govern, as Winston partied back & forth between National & Labour negotiating a bigger office & a chair that swivelled.

This is not a satisfactory state of affairs, for anyone but Winston. To be honest, I don't know what the solution is, but I think maybe there ought to be a Commission of Enquiry or something, to think of some way to reclaim Election Night for the voters.

Facial Fashion for Fatheads.

I see a marketing niche.

My latest 1.5 strength specs did not pass the wife test.

"They're too small. Your head is too fat."

And it is true! I have a fat head.

But M, bless her, tells me it is because of my surfeit* of brain.

So anyone know of a place that sells cheap, stylish reading glasses for fat heads?

* Look it up, Pinhead.


STUFF : ENTERTAINMENT - STORY : Visit has heir of romance :

"His good looks caused a stir at Customhouse Quay cafe Pravda, where he drank a hot chocolate with three marshmallows."

It is, I think, a little rude to refer to the British Lions who accompanied Wills as "marshmallows".

Today's Lesson:

Avoid zealots (of any persuasion) at all cost.

David Farrar: The Debate

Too many people for the time they allowed. I was a bit surprised that I found myself nodding in agreement with some unlikely people. However, there were so many there, I can't recall exactly which unlikely people I'm referring to. Was neither Hide, nor Key though.

Had to laugh at the guy who "wrote a letter to the newspaper", and the other one who expressed his heartfelt trust in the government.


Impressed that John Key eclipsed Maharey easily in the "Smarmy" stakes. A politician to watch obviously.

Most of them were predictable.

Unlike some viewers (click on the link above & read the comments), I thought the show was pretty balanced in letting the sides speak.

Wasn't Prof Winiata of the Maori Party a surprise? Someone suggested they're more akin to ACT in their tax policy. Heh heh...

And Rodney Hide... I've said it before, but let's hope for the sake of his career, he's a quick learner at ballroom dancing...

At the end though, I found myself undecided still. I can't see tax cuts will make much difference to our household.

So if tax cuts can be afforded, without negatively impacting services & will not increase interest rates... the have at it.

Although one other thing... I cannot believe people who trumpet that the market reforms of the 80s & 90s are responsible finally, for the fine economic shape we are in now. Per-LEASE (Jack Palance bounds in - "BULLSHIT? Or Fact!")


The Tax Debate - My bottom line

Sod tax cuts actually.

The first party that promises to halve interest rates gets my vote.

(Unless it's one of the parties I have vowed never, ever, to vote for, in which case I will wrestle with my personal demons & principles. In private).

A possible solution to the cricket dilemma

I like this idea...

Three Point Turn - Run Out