Friday, September 23, 2005

Champion the Wonder Horse! (ta daa ta daa!)

Ta daaah!Champion the Wonder Horse! (ta daa ta daa!)
Champion the Wonder Horse! (ta daa ta daa!)
Like a something something something something something...
And a something something something something else...

Like a mighty cannonball he something something
Something something something something else
Something something something something know the name of
Champion the Wonder Horse! (Ta daah ta daaaaaah!!!)

Those words are eternally etched in my brain...

Who knows what it was about - oh yeah, Champion the Wonder Horse, who lived near that rock formation that the Lone Ranger used to ride past every week, and Captain Kirk used to fight aliens on regularly. You know it... And some kid, who when in a scrape would summon Champion the etc.

UPDATE: More Champion trivia here, including the complete lyrics.

Anyway... for more old TV reminiscences, check out Chris Bell's latest post on NZBC.

And this place is worth a look too.

And while we're at it, this comes up every couple of years, most recently from Ms Vile File in a comment on Chris's post - what was the name of that spooky old UK TV series which featured a sick girl, looking out the window at some scary rocks that seemed to move?

Culture: Scan and pan: Remember this golden classic?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

So who saw Sportscafe last night?

You know what I'm talking about... ;-)

Yes, Rodney Hide! He was so funny. I love it when Ellis tries to ridicule someone much cleverer than him. This is most of the guests as it happens.

Now, I only flicked between channels just as the statuesque blonde was whipping her top off. What was with that? Who was she? Can she have her own show? Please?

Actually, I just need to post something so that people coming here fresh, don't think I'm some sort of Fairy booking agency.

Also, new posts will be light next week, we'll be out of town getting sheep sheared & fixin' fences & other rural wonder stuff (hoedowns, hay baling, sacrificing chickens to the rain gods, marrying cousins etc, y'know, all the stuff they routinely do in those rural electorates that vote National each election - heh. I made that up. Probably.)

Actually, I'm planning a series of bonfires to rival the Southern Alps beacon scene in the Return of the King.

Unlike my inconsiderate neighbours, who fire up in any weather at the drop of a hat, I actually applied for & got a fire permit to do this. Although the guy did ring me to say he'd inspected the site & I was good to go "Make sure you do the burning away from the boundaries... and you do know that the fire has to be quite small? Like a metre by a metre in diameter?" He's concerned because he's seen the 2 immense piles of branches & cut offs that I plan to dispose of, we're talking piles about 5 or 6 metres in diameter & nearly as high.

"Don't worry" I said "I'll be burning out in the middle of the paddocks... where the rubbish is... but I'm not going to just go & light a fire under those huge piles!" Hee hee... of course not (titter).... who'd do that?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Fantastic Careers - Fairy Trina

Heh. Fantastic!Toddlepot tries it on

Actually, I came here because when I read about Fairy Trina appearing this Sunday at the Botanic gardens, to entertain kids (and no doubt, their dads...), it occured to me that if this was going to be Wgtn City Council Communications Manager Trina Saffioti prancing around in a tutu & wings, then it probably would constitute a diverting afternoon's entertainment.

But it's not that Trina. Fear not however, the real Fairy Trina looks like she might make just as interesting a diversion (I'm out of town on Sunday, so I post this as a public service to the rest of you). And you solo dads, think about it, if Toddlepot here is the competition, I suggest you sit near the front & look receptive. Your kids would love a Fairy Stepmother, I'm sure.

With my luck, the good fairy is probably married to one of the creators of the famous Grillslinger & I'm in for another few weeks of outraged fans visiting this site & haranguing me.

But wait... there's more.... for anyone who has ever wondered about people who dress up & prance around like fairies & pixies (as opposed to bona fide professionals like Trina)... I came across this guy some time ago.

His story is fascinating, when he first came to my attention there was a desperate heartwarming plea on his site for any aspiring Tinkerbells to get in touch. A year or so later, when I checked back, not only had he found his Tinks, but she was kind of hot!

But flashforward another year, and it seemed Peter & Tinks had gone their separate ways. So sad. I didn't check this time to see if there was any joyous reunion, or if a new Tinks had taken up residence. After all, it doesn't pay to get caught looking at a site like that too often, people might get the wrong idea.

I bet his Kiwi cousin invented the Grillslinger & I'm in real trouble now...

Fairy Trina - Hello!

It's de-lightful, it's de-licious, it's de-lovely!

As part of my occasional foray into the world of superior chick-flicks, we watched the film De-Lovely last night.Delightful & Delicious

It's the story of the epic love between legendary songwriter Cole Porter & his wife Linda. They were undeniably (from what I've read) soul mates. But love's course did not run smoothly, because Cole was also openly, & ragingly homosexual, and indulged this facet of his personality, rampantly.

The amazing Kevin Kline is Porter, the lovely Ashley Judd is Linda, and the whole story is presented somewhat in the form of a Broadway musical, or at least a collection of numbers from several Broadway musicals. Kline is no stranger to musical theatre, and if you have the chance I urge you to take in the version of the Pirates of Penzance, within which Kline plays the swaggering Pirate King. He's magic.

The story is also curiously framed in that an unnamed angel (perhaps?) played by another musical theatre veteran, Jonathon Pryce, takes an aged (or dead?) Porter through the sundry episodes that made up his life.

The best bits though, are the musical numbers, sometimes performed by Kline & Judd, and sometimes by modern day performers (Robbie Williams, Natalie Cole, Sheryl Crow, Alannis Morrisette, Elvis Costello & Diana Krall, Mick Hucknall amongst others). These performances are without exception, terrific, Morrisette's voice in particular, suits Let's Fall in Love really well...

At one stage Porter comments that all his songs are about Linda, but that doesn't stop him seducing the leading actor in one of his musicals, when in order to show him how it should be done, Porter sings his masterpiece, Night & Day, in a most beautifully crafted & filmed scene. I didn't realise, but Porter also commissioned a new hybrid rose, the Linda Porter, as a gift to his wife.

While much of the film is pretty standard biographical fare, it's never more than about 3 minutes from the next song.

Well worth a look. I defy you not to sniffle in the tragic bits.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

WHat's he Dunne with the weather?

I had 101 photos to upload. The image software told me I'd need to delete 1 of them for the lot to display properly. I right clicked on one blurry photo & hit delete & realised some seconds later that it was deleting all photos, from the camera no less!

So what did I lose? A load featuring a dog on Otaki beach (phew! You'll all be thinking), some startling (maybe, I didn't see them before I deleted them) shots of a full moon, with Venus, Jupiter & a bright star forming a triangle around it, some interesting (possibly) shots of the amazing looking Cork Oaks in the gardens - about which I was going to blog, a lot of magnolia & cherry blossom trees also in the gardens, a large pine tree felled from the bank overlooking Magpie Lawn. And goodness knows what else.

Here's what was left... pre-election sunsets. SInce then it has rained, blown, frozen & nearly snowed. And I blame the United Future party for that.





Monday, September 19, 2005

Well it's snowing in Christchurch

ChCh-Changes: Snow in Redwood

People here in Welly are speculating whether it'll snow here too.

What happened to Spring? So glad I didn't get the sheep sheared yet!

Dunne & Dusted

As it happens, September 17 was my birthday... and fate did not entirely gift me a lemon for Election Day. Not entirely.

We had a bunch of people of mixed party preference around for drinks & grits (that's food to the unenlightened). I set up a TV in our dining room & through a painstaking process of trial & error managed to tune it with rabbit ears satisfactorily to both TV1 & TV3.

And of course, in our lounge was the usual TV, with pretty much every other channel available too, and strict instructions to the children present not to change it to the Nickelodious channel. A laptop was assembled in the spare bedroom in case children (and there were a few) bored of election results & were free to go & watch inappropriately violent dvds. As it happened, the 12 years & older girls commandeered this option & watched Legally Blonde.

The day had been busy. Netball's over, so we were able to sleep in until it was deemed time for me to open my prezzies. After that it was a rush to get the house ready for guests. With interruptions coming as the rep netball team breakup party (rescheduled from last Saturday after we rearranged our entire weekend to accommodate it & were informed by phone at 4pm, 2 hours before kickoff, that it would be the following week instead), continued to suffer from changes in plan...

Actually, this deserves its own paragraph. So. We changed all our plans last weekend to allow M to attend a sleepover with the rep team. Said sleepover was cancelled late in the day, prompting a last minute change of plans for the parents (that's us). Then this weekend, election day, was slated for the rescheduled sleepover. Seems no-one told the girl who was hosting the sleepover & so that was off. But the girls were resolved to go to the movies & dinner, then M was to come home. Just before the movie though, we got a phone call to say there'd be a gap between movie & dinner & so the girls were to come home first. A few of the girls made arrangements to come to our place. And M decided not to carry a wad of cash into town as she'd be able to pick it up later.

Except that we got a phone call from town saying they'd changed their minds (quelle surprise!) and would be going directly to dinner after the movie. Fine. And then the inevitable phone call pre dinner to say that none of the kids had taken money for dinner, and I was forced along with other parents to make a last minute run into town with $50 cash (of which she only spent $5, and writing this reminds me, where is my $45 change?)

The crowd began to assemble at around 7.30pm. We had a truck load of food & wine, and as the results rolled in about half of the guests were upbeat, the other half undeniably surly.

Only one of our guests was resolute though "No need to worry yet, these are the rural seats coming in, the tide will turn". And holy shit, he was right! The latter half of proceedings was amusing because the upbeat guests became surly & the dour became jubilant.

It was mighty fine to see Winston kind of concede his seat - did he congratulate Bob? I don't think he did! And let's give a long & loud one to Rodney, who'd have thought? There are worse things that could happen than having Hide in parliament.

Which brings me to the pompous, delude me with grandeur, Dunne. I see he's ruled out working with the Greens because amongst other things, they're "anti-energy". Which suggests nothing more than he doesn't know what he's talking about. I invite you to read this analysis of the different parties enrgy policies to judge who is talking through their arse & who isn't.

Anyway, I figure if anyone is going to default on a bottom line in order to get a cabinet posting (he's got his gold plated super scheme to protect), it'll be him. We shall see.

Um... I got the straight talking vote for the night when someone asked "United Future have lost a lot of their votes this time, why is that?" and I replied "Because last time they proved they were a bunch of flakey, inneffectual twats."

I was pretty sure there were no UF voters in the house when I said that & I'm pleased to say my comment delighted the young boys in the room. Mrs Llew was torn between being embarrassed for any UF supporters (no-one owned up) and highly amused.

Sunday came & we were much less lethargic & hungover than I expected. And it was tipping down with rain (If this is the sort of weather we can expect from a new government....!!"), which was good, because it meant I wouldn't have to take part in the parents vs the girls at the school netball breakup.

Instead we huddled in the school hall while the girls got certificates, medals, school blues, statues, and a cup. M was the major cup winner, having lived & breathed netball for the last 5 years, and been a representative for the last 2 years... and having desired that cup for all of those 5 years.

There followed an inane netball quiz - one question was "What are the dimensions of a netball court?" No-one knew, but one upstanding lady (she's a judge as it happens, & they're obviously very pragmatic), sneaked outside to pace out the dimensions on the court next to the hall in the pouring rain. Even more pragmatic folk like local bloggers, leaned on the windowsill inside, watching & counting her steps... - and some pretty silly games to keep us occupied (How many adults to get a hula hoop around them.... turns out it was an unbelievable 11!! But I declined that one, being a little more stocky than the job required. Also, I begged off saying that I do nothing to bring myself into such intimate contact with netball mothers unless it follows several tequilas.

The rest of the day was quiet as we all pitched in to make a scale model of London's Cleopatra's needle (long story).

And now we wait to see what happens...

Friday, September 16, 2005

Cullen goes through the roof

This is funny, the Otago Daily Times published a remarkable photo of Dr Michael Cullen & called for captions.

"Helen, come down the students have gone." ODT Photo of Dr Cullen

Hat tip to Aaron Bhatnagar

Calling all TV producers who read this blog!

I have a great idea for a new show...

Oddstuff - strange, weird & bizarre news on Sheep star in Croatian online reality show

Questions we ask our parents

And answers they give us.

Over at Yellow Peril, Tze Ming Mok mentions the response she got when in her younger years, she asked her parents "What is tax?"

Like so many things do, that reminded me of a (possibly apocryphal) story about one of my cousins, in his formative years, lying on the carpet, studying a newspaper, while his parents relaxed nearby.

Suddenly, the curious youth looked up & asked "What's a hooker?"

My uncle & aunt looked at each other tremulously, there was a long awkward silence, then eventually, my aunt falteringly explained, "It's a woman.... who.... goes out with men sometimes.... for money."

My cousin digested this for a few minutes, but was clearly bewildered. He went back over the article he was reading that prompted the question, then finally asked his inevitable followup...

"In rugby?"

Public Address | Yellow Peril

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Like the old joke...

Decisions decisions...

Just got a txt message on my phone:

"Rods* wants to go ahead with 2nd loan wife won't sign can he get 10k without her signature is this correct if so wants done urgent to clear bay."

I know of no "Rods" nor have I anything to do with advising on loans.

Had a little conference in the office. Do I reply "Fine & Dandy! Go ahead - make it 50k for good measure"?

After some soul searching I sent "Go ahead! Just kidding - you have the wrong number"

So tempting though....

* Not his real name

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Doonesbury on the Liberal Media Bias


I've been a Doonesbury fan for years, in fact I think the strip has taught me more about US politics than any other source (which might indicate what I think about US politics, seeing as Gary trudeau, the cartoonist could not conceivable be described as impartial).

This one tickled me yesterday.

Doonesbury@Slate - Daily Dose

Link to it here

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Far be it for me... pour water (or scorn) on the coals of local entrepreneurs... so for the benefit of a surprising (and worrying "You'll never eat lunch in Logan Brown's again!") number of people who have come here recently, to see what I rather dismissively said about the Grillslinger (TM).

Let me just say that I really applaud the initiative, the gear looks really well made, I know a lot of guys who'd love one, and I really hope they made a killing over the Fathers' Day period.

And I do hope that if Messrs Logan & Brown have visited, God forbid... they have a sense of humour. Guys, we love ya! Really.

SunnyO: For Barbecue Tools

WHat happened to the Grillslinger website BTW?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Technological priorities

You won't know this, because I didn't do a tedious post about what the weekend held in store for me... but on Friday night, I raced around the dog circuit needing to be home by 6pm to greet 8 or so 12 year olds whose (netball) A Team celebration was being held in the form of a sleepover at our place. Mrs Llew was at the supermarket getting provisions for the evening (which didn't get used in the end & were substituted by a fine selection of Pizza Hut goodies).

I got back just as the first batch were arriving. It's not a good look for parents to deliver their young some place to find no adults in attendance.

Some short time later, Mrs Llew turned up with a package.

PS2"Can you wire this up for tonight?"
"I can wire anything up, what is it?"
"WTF? Singstar sucks! Anyway, you need a PS2 for that."
"That's in the box too."
"Are you telling me that we had disposable income?"
"Shaddup & plug in the Singstar."

Now... let's pause just a moment to fill in some backstory. For the last several years, we have had a PS1 in the entertainment cabinet, which we inherited from my brother-in-law when he went overseas, no-one, aside from the occasional young visitor ever uses it. We've discussed upgrading in the past, but dismissed the idea as we just don't seem to be gamers.

Then... my niece visited with her PS2 & Singstar & we have been subjected to various thin voiced warblings in the service of many, generic & boring pop songs.

Additionally, we regularly review the state of entertainment technology & I thought we were all agreed that should appropriate funding become available, a DVR Hard Drive was the priority!

So anyway. I plugged in the PS2. And compared to the PS1, it is beautiful! At the end of this post, I will have some salient questions to ask the initiated.

The SIngstar disc that came with the package contains I guess, a selection from the Sony catalogue. I'm having difficulty remembering what exactly though.

The girls, after various standard & gourmet pizzas, assembled in the lounge, and agreed the format (duets, medleys, 2 teams etc etc - I don't actually know how to navigate the things), huddled around the TV (way too close for their eyes) and gave it what for.

Funniest cacophany was the team of 4 trying to do the rap bit from the Black Eyed Peas Shaddup. priceless. Ah... now it's coming back to me.

It also has INXS' New Sensation, and I was reluctantly enticed to the mike to show them how it's done.

"Hey, The lead singer looks like your dad!"
"Hey, your dad is beating you!"
"Hey, your dad creamed you!"

Hah! Let that be a lesson to them all!

Now. My questions...

Can the... I don't know the jargon... can the game controller things, that you hold in your hand with triangles, circles & squares etc on it, from a PS1 be used on a PS2? Can the old PS1 memory modules?

I notice it has a network jack on it, what's that for?

And aside from Singstar & games, and DVD playing, can they be used for anything else?

Met the Candidates last night

Fire dancers, buskers, stalls, topless revellers, the Exclusive Brethren Choir, Rio came to Wellington Central! Pushing my way through the throng that encircled St Michael's Church in Kelburn towards the Meet the Candidates Meeting last night, I couldn't help thinking this is the Wellington I love.

Actually, you'd hardly know anything was happening. There was no-one outside. Inside, a cadaverous fellow informed me that while the hall was booked, no-one mentioned that seats would be required & so they were locked up in another building.

SO I dunno, a couple of hundred people, many standing, many sitting on the floor. Few looked like locals (a fact confirmed by the comments of some of the candidates to hecklers). I'll say this slowly, a-lot-of-very-strange-looking-people. Y'know... fanatics.

I have no idea who the convenor was. Such was his charm & effervescence, I don't think I'll try to find out. Although... some of you who may remember Joe 90's father will get the idea.

First up, the candidates got 10 or so minutes to state their case. And let me say right here, that I was disappointed that Michael Appleby of Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis was a no show. I mean, he lives about 100 yards from the venue & I'd have thought he'd be a shoo-in on his home turf. Maybe he was "otherwise" engaged & forgot. Dude!.

So where was I... Oh yeah, first up was the odd fellow from the Progressives. No limericks this week. Then was Marion Hobbs, and that was the first time I'd seen her speak live, and I was a little impressed. Sure, you can see the old schoolteacher coming through in her manner & tone, but that stood her well with hecklers. She talked electorate stuff.

Then came the United Future candidate (forgive me, I can't be arsed looking up their names, but no matter, you won't need to remember them either). Followed by the equally... words fail me at this point... Alliance candidate.

Then Blumsky. And he did OK, he was heckled probably a shade more than Hobbs was, but it'd be a close call. Blumsky probably needs to talk a bit louder too at these things & be a bit more self assured. Oddly (I thought), he focussed on party policy rather than electorate affairs, but that may be because that's what his hecklers were interested in heckling him about. Blumsky's a likeable guy, I waved to him earlier in the day when he was out on the street & I drove past him & his entourage holding signs. I'd have tooted the horn, but I always have trouble tooting the horn on our car. Hey, I tried!

Next was Steven Franks, making a play quite openly, for the party vote. Same for Sue Kedgeley & the Greens. I don't know if a lot of people came up from Aro Valley, and I might be mistaken, but I got the distinct impression the majority of the crowd were not averse to their Greens.

This bit was followed by questions & answers, and I know it's too late for this advice, but I honestly don't see the point in asking general questions of ALL the candidates.

A few of the better comments heard:

Hobbs, to a heckler: "Don't get me started madam, I've seen your face at too many of these meetings."

United Future girlie: "I'm a student & I don't know any 25 year olds who still live with their parents"
The Audience then fell about laughing. All of them.
United Future girlie: "Hey, that's how I see it, I'm a student!"
Heckler: "We're parents!"

Stephen Franks on Sue Kedgeley's early interjections "Perhaps you'd like to speak & I'll interject then? It'd be easier." (or thereabouts from memory).

The Progressive guy apropos the number of people on sickness benefits: "I don't think anyone in this room knows the answer to that question."
Heckler: "Sit down then!" (he didn't).

Afterwards, Old Mr 90 said we could all mingle, but most went home straight away. I did a quick recce looking to say hello to Jordan Carter (but was told he was gone) and David Farrar (not there). I may be mistaken, but I suspect I saw Mr & Miss Ten in attendance, I decided not to introduce myself, anyway, they were busy in conversation with someone else. And they'd probably have no idea who I was anyway.

But may as well mention, what I wanted from these (and other) party stalwarts, is a couple of dozen of those rosettes they wear. I have a legitimate & (publicly) unembarrassing use for them next Saturday night... anyone know how I can score some?

Friday, September 09, 2005

A word from the wise...

People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them. -Dave Barry, author and columnist (1947- )

Will dogs be on the agenda?

Mark Blumsky, NationalIt's a strange mix on the local dog walking circuit. I have to admit that I am highly amused listening to two lawyers, one a dyed in the wool blue, the other... a rabid socialist, finding common ground in their opinions of the state of the nation. And even agreeing on the best course of action forward. The amusing bit was when they came to the "why" of the question & the blue supporter was unable to agree that the solution was necessary to keep the "capitalists" at bay.

Anyhow, we're all agreed that we'll be turning up en masse (all 4 of us) to the Greater Kelburn Progressive Association Candidates Forum - St Michael's Church Hall in Kelburn this Sunday. Without our dogs though.

One guy, is even going to try to persuade his wife that their regular, romantic sunday night out (dinner & movie) might be better spent pressing the political flesh. We'll see. My bet is he'll be at the Penthouse Cinema as usual.

But the rest of us (3) will be there. I'm interested to see what sort of mix turns up, a few people just assume that the suburb is pretty blue, but I dunno... there's a big student & academic population too, and I daresay Michael Appleby may bring a large & noisy entourage (dude!).

I'll expect at least one candidate to promise that Magpie Lawn will become an official dog exercise area.

Marion Hobbs, LabourMeet the Wellington Central Candidates.
11 Sept - Greater Kelburn Progressive Association Candidates Forum - St Michael's Church Hall, Upland Rd, 7:45pm

12 Sept - Northland Anglican Parish Meet the Candidates - St Annes @ Ward Church, 7.30pm

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Bush Disasters

The tally so far

I stole this from Three Point Turn. Because it's really funny.

Three Point Turn - They're Back

The story of a car deck

Stealth Car deckWell... I haven't been through the actual dates, but we must be close to getting near the prospective completion date of our new spanking car deck.

Unfortunately, that's in theory only, as work has not even commenced (barring the total destruction of the site prior to construction beginning).

The hero of this particular story is turning out to be the builder. A great guy called Lee, of Cute Lee Builders Ltd. The villain is being revealed, as the plot unfolds, to be the architect, Darth Sidious & Associates.

When we started this whole thing, something like 18 months ago, we expected it to be a done deal by that coming Christmas. But plans were slow in coming. And when they did, we had some changes to make - the deck was way too big it seemed, much longer than neighbouring decks, and was it really necessary to remove that magnificent ponga?. The balustrade needed to be taller, to stop people peering into our bedroom window, and a few other things.

Some months later, new plans arrived, substantially unchanged, although the architect said we'd worry about those changes during construction. No problems.

Also, we were assured that the way it was designed, there was no need for Land Use Resource Consent. Everything about the design complied with everything. All we needed was building consents, which were duly & swiftly acquired. Oh, and a very expensive (and hitherto unmentioned) engineering report which determined the required foundations.

I'll leave out the drama with the first chosen builder last Christmas, during which we were given two days to prepare the site (large trench for utilities, removal of all vegetation & landscaping, survey of the boundaries - first we'd heard of that one, the surveyor was expensive), or lose our opportunity for several months, and the subsequent demands for money even though no work had commenced & no contract had been signed...

And then silence from Mr Sidious for some months. Then just as we were about to embark afresh, without the guidance of Mr Sidious & his crew, they suddenly asked if we'd like them to issue a request for tender to 3 builders. As this is what we'd asked for all along we said "OK".

And we were informed that because of the changes we'd asked for at the beginning, which hadn't been incorporated into the plans yet, we'd need new building consents. And we paid & got those consents.

And a builder was chosen. Mr Lee. Trenches were dug & utilities moved. A contract was signed. Builders moved onsite & demolished the garden.

A big machine dug foundations to the required depth. And suddenly... a problem. The architects had their measurements wrong & we were going to be left with quite a large bank of unretained earth between the deck foundations & the house. We agreed a raised garden might look nice, and only cost a lot of money to put in place. But also, the engineer had the foundation specs wrong, and he would need to be engaged again to design foundations that would work. And to be fair, he did that. And he charged us a lot of money.

Then... the architects asked Lee to requote taking the new specs into account. And suddenly silence. I was told that they were waiting for Lee to get back to them & he was busy on another job now.

And a month passed. And Lee rang one night & asked me if I knew WTF was going on. I told him my understanding. There was silence, and he informed me that the real problem was that Darth Sidious had been informed by the council building inspector that because the slope of the garden had been underestimated, and because the deck was 2 metres longer than any other deck pretty much in the country... we did not comply with the Sunlight Access Plane Rule in the Resource Management Act & we would need to apply for a Resource Consent. Darth Sidious instructed Lee to go ahead with construction & "we'll worry about that later".

Lee was unwilling to do this & so called me. He & I went down to the council, ascertained that yes, we'd need to apply for Resource Consent, and that we'd need the approval of the affected neighbours. The guy at the council actually winced & said "You're not using that Darth guy are you? he doesn't seem to know any of the rules."

The affected neighbours took one look at the plans & the site layout, and asked "Why is it so big?". To which I had no answer. And they told me very politely, I have to say, "No way".

That night, Mrs Llew & I discussed our options. We decided, because we're optimists, that we never really wanted such a big deck... and we'd be silly, even if we had approval from the neighbours, to build it. And that our best plan was to have a draughtsman redraw the plans to make it smaller, comply with all rules, keep the neighbours happy, and we'd have more light at our front door, and a bigger raised garden at the foot of the deck instead. And gosh... that ponga could have stayed there after all...

So that's where we're at now. it's only money after all...

Designer Dogs

WookieMe: "Um... what sort of dog is that?"
Person 1: "He's a spoodle."

Me: "A spaniel & poodle cross?"
Person 1: "Yes"

Me: "what sort of spaniel?"
Person 1: "A cocker spaniel I think. Sometimes they're called a cockerpoo"

Me: "Cocker-doodle, surely?"
Person1: "Spoodle."

Me: "Um... what sort of dog is that?"
Person 2: "She's a Doodleman-pinscher"

Me: "WTF?"

Me: "Is that some weird curly haired pitbull terrier?"
Person 3: "She's a pit-boodle"

Me "Of course. Why are all these hybrids crossed with poodles?"
Person 3: "I don't know"

Me: "Let me guess... a labradoodle?"
Person 4: "Wheaten Terrier."

Me: Oh... sorry"

Me: "Um...?"
Person 5: "Rott-woodle"

Me: "Wookie...?"
Person 6: "St Berdoodle"

Me: "Get off the fucking grass! It's a mongrel!"
Person 6: "This hybrid cost me $1000"

Me: "Heh heh..."

Me: "Jack-Roodle?"
Person 7: "Mutt."

Crossbreed, Mongrel, Mutt, Mix, Mixed Breeds, Poo, Dog Breed Information Center�, Dog Breeders, Popular Mixed Breeds, Mutts, Poos

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The big smear

David Farrar: The big smear

Hit me baby...Call me irresponsible, but I for one would welcome the last few days of this election campaign descending into a mire of mudslinging. But then I'm easily amused.

It'd be fantastic theatre, a guilty pleasure, and imagine, when the mud has dried, the dust has settled, the votes are cast & counted... all the dirty laundry would be hung out for all to see, reputations besmirched (and enhanced, depending on your point of view perhaps), it'd be a level playing field. And we'd probably all forget about it pretty quickly.

I'm presuming, of course, that any potential smear that hasn't yet been smeared would not be of such a nuclear impact to put anyone in jail. Maybe a few hitherto unsuspected peccadilloes, some lapse in judgement long ago come back to haunt existing or aspiring MPs. Who knows?

A lot of people claim to know, but sadly (or perhaps, fortunately), I am clearly not on the grapevine.

And off topic, but interesting nonetheless... Mud-Slinging to Buddhism.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Mission accomplished!

PestilenceOh... and my wasp control expedition could not have gone smoother.

Firstly, I performed a quick reccie during the day. Lots & lots of wasps. The hole leading into the nest is huge. Couldn't get too close.

So then I spent the next few hours thinking about how best to do the deed - which basically involves sneaking up on the cave entrance at dusk, when they're all settling down, and quietly depositing a tablespoon of a broad spectrum insecticide called Carbaryl into the entrance.

It all seemed a bit... wussy... so in the end, I filled up the pump action, high pressure, 20 litre weedsprayer with high octane petrol, flicked the BIC & got myself a 10metre jet of flame & advanced on the nest. There were thousands of them buzzing around me, the noise was deafening, the dog headed for the hills. It was me and them. I could hear the screams from the watching neighbours. Or was it me screaming!?

Actually, I used a long shovel & as per the instructions, I deposited about a cup of the stuff. Then I fled.

Came back later, at night, with my 2,000,000 candle power torch. The nest entrance was white as snow, and at the back I could see it was carpeted with... dead wasps! I thought this stuff might take weeks to work.

Apparently, it won't kill the grubs though, and, I don't know how long it takes filthy wasp grubs to mature, but I have that long to dig the whole nest out & burn it. But if they mature before that I suppose I can hiff another load of carbaryl down there.

Rockstar IN-waiting....

Llew hogs the Singstar again.M is now solidly hooked on Rockstar INXS. Despite, never having seen Michael Hutchence in action.

I despise all reality TV series, and so I did my best to avoid it. However, late last week I did see part of one episode (some guy who looked too much like Tom Petty sang a Britney Spears song.) The next night I bowed out on discovering that the show appears to be on every day! Enough is enough.

However, in honour of the TV series, a CD purporting to be The Definitive INXS seems to have appeared in our household... and seems to be much favoured in the 12-13 year old set.

And so, on our way up to SunnyO on Saturday, I was fielding the inevitable questions from my in-house career advisors:

"Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?"
"You need a new job!"
"The James Bond gig is vacant - you'd be perfect!' (Bless her little heart)

And in response, I bellowed, in perfect pitch (of course):

I was standing
You were there
Two worlds collided
And they could never tear us apart"

And y'know, I should have given it a shot. Obviously. I'm the right age (and in my younger years would cheerfully have taken Helena & Kylie for a spin), I could have grown my hair long, and lost half my body weight so as not to look too much like Mikey Havoc.
Why did no-one tell me about Rockstar INXS earlier?

In other weekend news, the netball team were crushed 32 - 14 by their arch rivals. Honestly, we weren't in the game. Oh well, that's all behind us now.

And I stood patiently for about 2 hours in a paddock next to a gate, trying to pen 5 unco-operative sheep. Because they badly need crutching, and I want that done before the shearer sees the state of them. And anyway, I need to be able to pen them whenever I want to keep them healthy & maintained.

But it wasn't to be this weekend. Even though they will literally eat from my hand, they do not like coming into the pen. I'll renew efforts next visit.

Friday, September 02, 2005

The Weekend Forecast

Looks like the weather will be fine & so chances are we'll be up with the larks for netball... last game of the season I believe.

After that, if I get my shit together tonight, I'll be taking our espresso machine in to be repaired... it broke down a week before Christmas last year, it weighs a tonne & has to be delivered to the local agents. Hopefully we'll have it running in time for this coming Christmas.

Then, we're off up to SunnyO, where I will follow the instructions from a nice lady at the Manawatu Beekeeper's Association... and try to deal with a nest of wasps that have taken up residence in a hole in the paddock.... wish me luck. Extermination will be carried out with the aid of some sort of chemical & should be safe for non beekeeping people like me.

We will watch the ABs crush the Ockers later in the evening.

We'll be back in town early, because I have some preparation to do with a resource consent required for work on our car deck to resume (useless architects swore black & blue they'd drawn the plans so we didn't need resource consents, but no, they were a couple of metres out in their measurements... and guess what?). And then I need to amiably persuade the next door neighbour to sign off the proposal... But I am optimistic he will look favourably on it as his privacy will be restored, and the sun is on the other side of his house anyway.

Oddstuff - South African anti-rape condom aims to stop attacks


Oddstuff - strange, weird & bizarre news on South African anti-rape condom aims to stop attacks

"KLEINMOND: A South African inventor has unveiled a new anti-rape female condom that hooks onto an attacker's penis and aims to cut one of the highest rates of sexual assault in the world. "

Babes Only

Notice the "Referring web pages" down the right hand side of this blog?

Would someone be so kind as to click on Babes Only, and report back as to how work place (un)friendly it is?

Meanwhile Natalie Glebova & technorati are doing a wonderful job with the searches & site visits.

Yes. We have some coconuts.

Something Che Tibby says in his latest post reminds me of a little mystery I was pondering last night...

"I start to notice little things I'd missed on the initial trip. A Bay leaf tree that I can pinch leaves from. A good pizza joint or noodle bar. A new way to get to where I'm going that saves time or legwork."

I was looking in the pantry last night wondering about the 5 or 6 nifty little packets of bay leaves. Clever, resealable plastic packets. Enough bay leaves to last us a life time.

And from where I was standing near the pantry, I could see out the kitchen window to the backyard, but the view is slightly obscured by the very large bay tree that grows beside the back porch. I could almost open the window & reach the tree to pull fresh leaves off.
Anyway... I suppose it's not as odd as when I and a previous wife were standing in a field on Koh Samui in Thailand, surrounded by thousands & thousands of coconuts which had been blown off the trees the night before. And my wife stopped a passing local to ask him where she could buy a coconut.

I can remember the look on the guy's face as he surveyed my wife, then his gaze veered about 180 degrees as he took in the myriad fallen coconuts.

Then without a word he left us moron tourists to it.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

And one last one...

This is a leadlight window in our hallway that we had restored a while back. The leadlight people loved it & did a very good restoration job. We believe that it is an original feature of the house built in 1915.


The Usual Subject

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Look at that smile!

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Enough of the cheesecake for a while...

Here are the latest photos of my favourite view. Pity about the ugly roof of that house in the foreground...

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