Wednesday, December 21, 2005

One more... Tree chopper ordered to write essay

200 words? Call that an essay? The short article linked below is (excluding title & byline) 227 words. And this guy gets how many months to write it?


New Zealand's source for oddstuff - strange, weird & bizarre news on Tree chopper ordered to write essay

And finally, perhaps for this year - US judge bans school from teaching intelligent design

New Zealand's source for World News on US judge bans school from teaching intelligent design:

I only include this so I can say: "Thank God."

SPCA's claws out after cat dumping

There are few things more heartbreaking I suspect, than working at the SPCA over holiday time.

New Zealand, world, sport, business & entertainment news on SPCA's claws out after cat dumping:

"In a letter attached to the boxes, the dumper said: 'Dear SPCA officer: Please take care of them temporarily and help us find them new homes. If unfortunately you have to make them sleep eventually, please tell them that they have been wonderful members of the family and that the dad and mum will always love them and miss them. Thank you very much.' "

Do I look like the kind of guy...

So I'm striding purposefully along Lambton Quay, minding my own business, head down...

Suddenly I am forced to pause for a moment by the unexpected obstruction of what can best be described as somewhat generous cleavage.

I look up into the eyes of an absurdly young woman & she thrusts a little piece of paper into my hand. Then she & a few others veer off past me.

I peer (without my specs) at the paper & it says:

Midweek Fantasy
Wednesday Costume Nights
Slick Music
Half Price Entry
$5 Drink Specials
Bar tab for the best dressed.

The words "Fantasy" and "Music" jump out at me, and I think: "Do I look like the type of guy who goes to a Midweek Fantasy Party? I don't think so."

Then I get back to the office & look again, this time with specs, this time the words "Santa Fe Strip Club" jump out. And I resignedly think to myself "OK, I probably do look like the type of guy..."

And if you're that type too, it's tonight. I can't make it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


And the winner is SUNNYO!Last minute Christmas shopping hordes really do bring the festive spirit out in me. I have one more item to buy, I have found it. I know exactly where it is & what it costs. But there is no way in hell I am standing in a 20 deep queue in sweltering Whitcoulls to buy it.

I may pop out later when, theoretically, all the shoppers have gone back to work.

Had our team Xmas lunch today. A pretty quiet affair. The Ye Jun on Willis Street, across the road from the Malthouse, and up some stairs. They do an all you can eat smorgasbord (whatever the Mandarin for smorgasbord is) for next to nothing. You're only supposed, I think, to have one bowl of soup, one plate of assorted chinese dishes & dessert. You can tell the regulars, they can pile food artfully onto the little plate so that it looks like the leaning tower of Pisa. We just cheated & went back for more plates.

Now I am stuffed. But it was yummy.

Oh, and several people stopped me on the street to tell me they voted for SunnyO. How cool. And yes, we came 3rd. Only slightly pipped by Murray at Silent Running, who came 2nd, and Tim Blair, who slightly pipped Murray to take out the gong.

So thank you all who voted. You probably noticed, but I enjoyed the campaign thoroughly.

So thoroughly in fact, that now I have decided on the next (first) award I want.

An Academy Award.

And why not, at least one guy I went to school with has got one. It's not unheard of.

And I'm going to need some help to have my feature film finished in time to qualify for the awards in March. Specifically, I'm going to need a few thousand dollars off all of you.

Hah. Just kidding.

I'm going to need a lot more than that! Like a script perhaps. Or a vague idea for a story. I'm a bit pissed off that no-one told me about this Black Sheep project actually. I could have like, supplied black sheep or something.

Anyway, I'm in post lunchtime smorbasgorging ramble mode now.

In case I don't bother updating again... Y'all have a nice Christmas!

We've got 39 or so people representing 4 generations of extended family descending on us Xmas day. About half of them will descend Xmas Eve actually, we've booked a few other places nearby for a night or two. But only a night or two. After that they have no choice but to bugger off home, or somewhere else.

Family hordes bring out the festive spirit in me too.

Win tickets to the BDO

Head on over to Noizyland, where James is very generously running a competition in which the prizes are two tickets to the Big Day Out.

All you have to do is... well just click the link below & go find out!

NoiZyland: New Zealand Music. Win BDO Tickets!!.

Friday, December 16, 2005

O!: True Wellywood Story - Hairy Maclary

Rufus' SPCA MugshotIn 1983 Tauranga based children's author Lynley Dodd published Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy unleashing what became a multimedia canine entertainment industry upon an unsuspecting world.

The Hairy Maclary books describe an idyllic world where cute dogs & cats (and a duck) are free to roam the neighbourhood getting into good natured scrapes. The reality however, was quite different. Here is the O!: True Wellywood Story of the real Hairy Maclary and friends.

Hairy Maclary
Hairy was based on a real life mix breed terrier called Rufus. He lived at the Dew Dropp In Dairy at Mt Maunganui, until in 1990, when the Dairy went bankrupt & was replaced by the Patel Superette, part of a larger chain extending through the whole North Island. Rufus moved with his owners to a seedier part of Tauranga, and became tabloid fodder after a string of run-ins with the Dog Control branch of the Tauranga Council & several high profile incarcerations. The NZ Truth even ran a series of articles in support of Tauranga's notorious "War on Terrierism". Rufus' incessant roaming was eventually attributed to his never being "fixed" and he was finally forced by court order to undergo chemical castration. In his later years, he kept out of the public eye except for one notorious incident arising from his latter years addiction to fast food. The burger bar in question, adjacent to the Patel Superette, did not press charges in return for endorsement from the "real" Hairy Maclary. Long afflicted by arthritic hip joints, Rufus was finally peacefully put to sleep after suffering chronic kidney failure as a result of his years long high fat diet.

Slinki Malinki
Slinki Malinki, the cute cat who became a mischievous thief at night, was based on an infamous stray who terrorised Tauranga residences for several years stealing women's underwear from unattended clotheslines. He, or she was never apprehended, but spotted once or twice leaving the scenes of the crimes.

Schnitzel von Krumm
The real Schnitzel von Krumm was a dachshund called Werner (dubbed "Werner Schnitzel" by the tabloids) who lived two doors down from the Dew Dropp Inn dairy, and along with Rufus, was notorious for roaming through the neighbourhood night, fighting, ripping up rubbish sacks, and pestering the homes of neighbours whose bitches were in heat. Proving that size isn't everything, it is thought that Werner may have sired up to 500 little Schnitzels over the course of his lifetime. Indeed, in the wake of the books' popularity, the designer dog industry in Tauranga has experienced something of a boom with the marketing of such Werner descended breeds as: Schnitza-doodles, German Schnitzels, St Berschnitzels and Cocker Schnitzels. So ubiquitous have these new breeds become that it was recently reported that movie star Russell Crowe bought a breeding pair of Schnit-Bull Terriers to keep on his Australian ranch. Werner died in 1995 at the ripe old age of 15, alleged to have been fed poisoned polish sausage by an irate local chihuahua breeder who failed to appreciate the impending lucrative opportunities. The case was never proven.

Scarface Claw
Actually the good boy of the bunch, Scarface was in reality, Tiddles, a domestic shorthair belonging to one little old lady all his life. Tiddles kept out of the public eye & lives to this day, with his owner in a retirement village on the outskirts of Tauranga.

Zachary Quack
Two words: "Duck Season".

The Weblog Awards: One More Day! (or thereabouts)

1500 more votes would seal it!

The Weblog Awards: Best Australia or New Zealand Blog

Normal transmission will resume shortly.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

King Kong Live

Courtenay Place is filling up fast.

Where is Kong?!

Note the biplanes...

The live webcam is here

And the Wellingtonista has details of more webcams & streaming video here.

What Vern thought of Kong


Ain't It Cool News: Vern Reviews King Kong

The Outlawvern

Brain Stab: Reasons the Narnia books are better than Lord of the Elfmovies # 4

This is brilliant in its simplicity... maybe ol' CS Lewis WAS onto something (or ON something).

Brain Stab: Reasons the Narnia books are better than Lord of the Elfmovies # 4

We could be IN!

I just did the math.

If 2000 people stumble across this site in the next 48 hours & decide "I'll vote for that", we can win.

I can see it'll be close.

The Weblog Awards: Best Australia or New Zealand Blog Archive

So how good is King Kong?

Go see what James Berardinelli, a Kong-a-phile to rival Peter Jackson, thought.

ReelViews: James Berardinelli's Movie Reviews - King Kong

The Weblog Awards: Last 2 Days Voting

Coming down to the wire... Please do make this blogger proud & vote (as often as you can, from as many PCs as you can for SunnyO!!

The Weblog Awards: Best Australia or New Zealand Blog

Monday, December 12, 2005

Where does the term "hard yakka" come from anyway?

The fruits of my labour.

Hard yakka

Hard yakka 2

Hard yakka 3

half done, there's another area about the same size to go. It will be hopscotch thingies.

I can't believe there's only one weekend left between now & Xmas...

Friday, December 09, 2005

Music for the occasion

Shoop shoopOver at NZBC, who are, just let me stop & say so, a top bunch of guys (because they have promised to pimp my blog), Stephen Stratford has asked for submissions for the most appropriate music for Christmas. Suggestions so far include:

Reverend Johnny Blakey's 1928 gospel classic, "Jesus Was Here On Business",
Procol Harum's early hit "Bah Homburg"
9 Inch Nails' "Help me I am in Hell"

Please do drop by NZBC & offer any more suggestions.

Their post had me thinking yesterday, as I briskly passed a small Sally Army Brass band outside New World on Willis Street, playing Snoopy's Christmas... (the first exposure of the season), about music for other occasions.

I remember when I got married, we really wanted the musicians (two very talented people called Susan Colien-Reid, and Andrew London) to play "Miss Sarajevo" as the bride entered.

Here she comes
Heads turn around
Here she comes
To take her crown

Sadly they didn't know it & I can't remember what they did play instead, but Miss Sarajevo is a bit of a favourite for Mrs llew (not as much of a favourite as "Secret Love" but we thought that might not be quite so appropriate).

But there are many more appropriate & popular songs for weddings, sadly, most of them really suck."The Wind Beneath My Sails", indeed.

But how about funerals? I've heard Bette Midler's "The Rose" played to good effect (even though it sucks too), The Beatles "In My Life"... which for a long time I thought would be cool to have played at my funeral, should the occasion ever arrive.

But quite some time ago, I realised that the only song I want played at that august occasion, the only really appropriate song, that sums it all up, and is guaranteed to reduce the mourners to quivering, grieving jelly... is obviously...

Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop Cumma Cumma Wang Dang
Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop Cumma Cumma Wang Dang
Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop Cumma Cumma Wang Dang
Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop Cumma Cumma Wang Dang
Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop Cumma Cumma Wang Dang
Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop Cumma Cumma Wang Dang

Well the Shoop Shoop stands for the mood you're in
And the Diddy Wop mean let the fun begin
It's a feeling gonna set your senses reeling and you can't sit still
Cumma Cumma mean what you thought, that's right
And the Wang Dang gonna get you through the night time
Baby there's a right time if you wanna lose control

Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop Cumma Cumma Wang Dang
Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop Cumma Cumma Wang Dang
Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop Cumma Cumma Wang Dang
Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop Cumma Cumma Wang Dang
Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop Cumma Cumma Wang Dang
Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop Cumma Cumma Wang Dang

Shoop Shoop - li'll party, nothing formal
Diddy Wop - she's in the corner, looked quite normal
The Cumma Cumma, empty glass, bold as brass, pinch me, hang about
Wang Dang

Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop Cumma Cumma Wang Dang
Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop Cumma Cumma Wang Dang
Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop Cumma Cumma Wang Dang
She said Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop Cumma Cumma Wang Dang
Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop Cumma Cumma Wang Dang
Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop Cumma Cumma Wang Dang

Well the Shoop Shoop stood for her mood alright
And her Diddy Wop gave me a nasty fright
Sought of feeling that-a sent me senses reeling and you can't sit still
Cumma Cumma meant what I thought, touche
And the Wang Dang, err, anyway, nearly died, mortified, nearly lost control

Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop Cumma Cumma Wang Dang
Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop Cumma Cumma Wang

How about you? What would you like played at your funeral?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Introducing... Samantha Burns!

Finalist in the Weblog Awards Best Canadian Blog.

She's been in the blogroll for a while now, please do go check out her Crazy Rants & please do vote for her!!

The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns: 2005 Weblog Awards

Awards. And the winner is....

Well here I am getting all worked up at the prospect of blitzing the 2005 Weblog Awards for best Ocker or New Zild weblog. In case you've been on Mars or something, or not actually coming here for updates... SunnyO is a finalist.

This sounds fantastic! But not many more than the finalists got nominated anyway, so it's not like SunnyO is necessarily one of the 15 or so actual best blogs in the region. And some of the nominated who didn't get in are pretty damned good.

And in fact, if I hadn't made a pretty broad hint, it's unlikely SunnyO would have been nominated anyway (thanks Martha, Noizy, Sue & Miss Seph). But that doesn't matter, we're in! I say "we" because like King Kong, SunnyO is a team effort, you might think that this is a one man band, but that's because we go to great pains to present a consistent image by utilising what looks like one front person, making all this up.

But actually, we're a team of 350 or so, producers, writers, editors, photographers, web designers and marketing people. Not to mention lawyers, accountants. under-employed payroll clerks, parents (to thank in the acceptance speech), wives, husbands, children, and livestock, oh, and livestock wranglers, stuntmen & women, and fluffers. All of whom work around the clock to bring you this blog. Oh, did I mention the groupies, sponsors, caterers & dealers?

Anyway, that's of no consequence.

I was thinking about the way the Weblog folk decided to arrange the voting. And I really can't figure their rationale. Everyone can vote multiple times so long as there's a 24 hour gap between votes. In a way, I don't think this is as fair a method as say the Netguide awards where everyone gets one vote only. Although the multiple vote method probably does give us a better chance. If we could persuade a couple of hundred people to vote each day. But that's unlikely.

Actually, if there really were 350 people involved in this blog we'd be a shoo in obviously. As it is SunnyO is (at this moment) coming 3rd, with a paltry 40 or so votes. Coming first is Tony Blair, with over 400 votes. I'm told he's the Ocker version of David Farrar (is that a fairly discomforting thought or what?), this guy has legions of followers. A miracle is required.

But this IS Christmas.... and I am an optimist.

Coming second is Silent Running, with around 80 votes. I haven't looked, but I'm presuming this is a blog about space stations & cute robots. I am baffled as to why this should be so popular. Maybe they have lots of family & friends...

This may* be the last time I mention all this. But at least I have the slightly ego boosting opportunity to put a finalist banner on my sidebar.

So let's all vote eh? Do it for Oscar**, and Snowflake.

* Or may not.

** Who left this world last night peacefully, and with dignity.

And thanks too to everyone who has given me an online plug, including those mentioned above, Dodderyoldfart and my old mate Mike, and anyone else I may have missed, including all who have voted. I'll make sure I mention you all in the acceptance speech. And who knows, maybe there will be chocolate, and Jessica Simpson naked.

The Weblog Awards: VOTE!! Best Australia or New Zealand Blog Archive

And hey, at least we're beating Sir Humphrey's :) Although should that last comment come back to bite us in the arse, I shall show good grace.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The End of a Long Road for the Big O

The problem with pets is that you get them all cute & fluffy & young, and before you know it, they're gone. Or worse, you're sitting with them in the vet's making like it's all going to be OK. When you know you're going home without them.

I remember my first dog... I can't remember how old she was, maybe 13 or so, but I'd already left home & left her in the care of my mum. One day mum called & told me the poor thing had lost the use of one of her hind legs. The vet said there was a massively expensive operation, which had a very slim chance of success. Mum quite reasonably judged that she wasn't going to live with a 3 legged dog, and the decision was made to have her put down.

I accompanied them both & we were distraught.

Since then I've been through a few cats, and most recently a sheep. We weren't so distraught. But we were a little sad.

Now it looks like it is the turn of the stately old gent who has shared several homes with us, a big black long haired cat called Oscar. As best we can make out he's 20.

A couple of years ago, he went missing. Last seen heading arthritically out into the back garden on the eve of quite a big storm. 2 days later, I enquired at the local vet to see if anyone had reported finding an old cat. They were able to tell me that yes, indeed, someone had reported finding a skanky old stray (!?) and handing him into another vet's across town (as the local one was closed at the time).

I raced around to the other vet's & was told that the old boy had just been handed to the SPCA. They were closed, but the next day I called them & arranged to go see if it was Oscar.

Turns out it was, looking none the worse for his adventure. The SPCA vet also told me to get his thyroid checked out, because his heart was racing, and this would also explain why he was a bag of old bones.

My vet, confirmed the diagnosis and told me, inevitably, that there was a massively expensive operation available, which had no guarantees of success. I responded that as the old boy must have been 18 by that stage, we would pass on the op. But since then, Oscar has been kept alive by feeding him pills twice a day, to keep his heart rate down. He even started to gain weight! And we get his thyroid, and kidneys (because the side effect to the medication can be damaged kidneys) checked every 6 months.

His 6 monthly check is now slightly overdue. However, we have a new psoblem now, Houston, the poor old man can no longer control his bowels and bladder. We'd cleaned a couple of messes up in the last few months, and even discovered we'd locked him in one day & forgave him. But the frequency of mishaps is increasing, and last night we watched in frozen horror as he sat in front of the fireplace & calmly voided his bladder. The other day, he pooed on the kitchen floor in front of Mrs Llew (Wilma ate it :) and then I wormed her)

i've been putting off what may be his last appointment for a few days, and fair to say, there have been several times the last year or two when we thought he was making a one way trip, only to be told he was remarkably healthy, and to joke on the way home that the Black Cat Rides Again.

but I fear this is it this time.

I thought I had a photo of the old guy, but it seems not.

The Weblog Awards: Best Australia or New Zealand Blog Archive

Vote for MEEEEEEEE!!

Holy shit, I made the finals.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to ensure I win!

As usual, should you be caught or killed, the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your action.

Apparently you can go back every 24 hours & vote again.

There are some others nominated also. Ignore them.

The Weblog Awards: Best Australia or New Zealand Blog Archive

"What say you to a gorilla steak?"

"I'm told the niggers eat him. Don't they, Mak?"

"Yis, massa, dey doos. More dan dat, de niggers in dis part ob country eat mans."

Hah! This fantastically politically incorrect exchange comes from The Gorilla Hunters, by RM Ballantyne, and published in 1861.

For all this & more, I recommend you take in Iain Sharp's guide to Gorilla Lit (in the run up to a big ape movie, apparently) on Stuff: How to Keep a Gorilla., and Other Stories.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Narnia Kits sent to churches.

I read the interesting article in the Listener about Narnia & Christianity, in the weekend. Interesting to note that Harry Ricketts said the books were spoiled for him when he was told about the allegory.

I wouldn't go that far. But I was very surprised at how blatant (and less engaging) the series became in the later books.

New Zealand's source for entertainment news, gossip & music, movie & book reviews on Narnia kits sent out to churches

Anyway, I don't care if Narnia is Christian allegory or even propaganda. I just hope that this sort of marketing doesn't spoil it for some people. But then again, how many kids are going to be exposed to the Narnia kits at church anyway?

And... I wonder if Kong Kits have been dispatched to zoos?....

Update: Since I'm in here editing out some spelling mistakes... what's actually wrong with it being Christian allegory anyway?

Further Update: I just came across this from Richard Taylor, of Weta Workshops, and it says it all.

"To some, Narnia is religious allegory, to others it's a part of their childhood and their soul, and to be part of that kind of cultural significance has been the most important part of my life."

Friday, December 02, 2005

I hope the day's entertainment ended with a massive fireworks display.

New Zealand's source for oddstuff - strange, weird & bizarre news on Giant condom overlooks Buenos Aires

Access to Lambton Quay! Access to Shopping!

A sign bearing these slogans greeted me this morning as I entered a building on the Terrace to gain - yes! - Access to Lambton Quay.

I briefly wondered what does this say about the signwriter's opinion of our priorities.

I also briefly wished I'd been carrying the appropriate equipment on me to alter the sign to say "Access to Lambton Quay! Access to your soul-sucking office job!"

But that would be naughty, much like the unknown wag who changed the "Janus Bakery" sign in the same building to "anus Baker".

Parking fine.

We've been parking on our new car deck for a couple of weeks now. It is very nice not having to scour the neighbourhood for a vaguely legal space. It still looks like a construction site, but all systems are go.

We're in a cul de sac, which unfortunately (only in this regard, mostly it rocks) leads to a major tourist attraction & commuter passage to the CBD. Which means our cul de sac fills up each weekday morning with cars owned by tourists, which is understandable, but more irritatingly, by commuters who swoop in each morning to park their cars for the day & gain lazy access to town.

Often, they have residents' stickers, but they reside at the other end of our suburb. These guys piss me off. But no longer!

Except that a lot of these folk don't seem to have noticed that now there is a bona fide driveway where there used to be a residents' park. So the bastards park there anyway, regardless of whether they're locking our car in. Or out. It defies belief. We're getting really good at writing nasty, yet economical notes outlining our course of action should they do this again.

What's particularly galling, is that we went out of our way to be considerate. Outside our house was parking expansive enough for 3.5 cars. We went to some pain & trouble to ensure that our driveway eliminated only 1 park leaving plenty of space for 2 on one side, and a small gap that half a car might be able to park in if you had say, half a car to park.. We also had to negotiate access between 2 very large & magnificent trees, otherwise I'd have been tempted to only take away the half a car park.

But still morons think they can park their huge vans, SUVs, saloons... you name it, in the half space seemingly oblivious to the fact they've just parked right across our legal access too. Some just park neatly across our driveway entrance, obligingly leaving the half space in front of a tree empty.

I found the Wellington City Council to be very helpful in providing a solution. I rang them & logged a call asking could they come and remove the white "L" parking line, and paint another in the appropriate place? I also mentioned that broken yellow lines might be nice. I figured this way too, I'd find out for sure if Darth Sidious Architects really did lodge & receive the appropriate permissions for drive-on access that I know I have paid for... and it seems so.

I was told that the "L" lines were easy to arrange, but all sorts of consents & permissions were required from another agency to get yellow lines approved. I said if she had a look, I'd accept her judgement.

She rang back a couple of hours later & said she'd logged the request for both "L" lines & yellow lines. Yahoo! And they'd hopefully be implemented by Christmas. Our neighbours will also be pleased, because the yellow lines will extend across their driveway too.

In a way I feel like a mean & rotten local resident looking out for himself at the inconvenience of others. But only in a very small way. Now & then. Mostly I think "Suck on that. Park outside your own home dickhead."