Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Well... I bin gon'n dunnit

Just back from having my "bloods" done. And all those well-wishers who told me that medical science has moved on since the last time I had this done... hey, you were right! I could see no leeches anywhere in the clinic!

And this time there was light! And surveying the tiny reception area, I could tell that last week, in the dark, when I was wondering if I was about to sit on someone's lap, there could have been no more than 3 people ahead of me, unless they were all sitting on each others laps... but no matter.

I realise, after Sarah and Peter (say, that's some interesting looking entertaining you've been doing there Peter, or is that the entertainment?) assured me that they use a very fine gauge needle these days, that it's not the piercing of my flesh & veins that bothers me (although putting it like that, it's unlikely to become my favourite hobby), it's where they take it from that irks me.

And it was painless, and quick. But still, it makes me woozy. If they could take it from some other place that doesn't irrationally bother me, like the shoulder, or upper arm, or buttock... I'd have no qualms. But like my thumbs, my inner elbow or whatever it is called, is sacrosanct, I don't like being touched there (might make an exception for say, Naomi Campbell, but I'll cross that one should the occasion ever arise). Heh heh... I said "arise" in the same sentence as "Naomi Campbell....

But anyway, it is done. I have work to do. And the first coffee of the day (fasting) and a muffin to consume.

Actually I drank & scoffed those before I typed this. But you get the idea.

Today's random link is to David Slack's Island Life, because he's posted a picture that will satisfy your curiosity should you ever have wondered what John Key would look like with a Beatles' haircut.

Public Address | Island Life

Monday, December 18, 2006

Looking toward the space station

Nothing to see here folks...

Yoohoo yourself.

Look what's down under - Wellywood from space!

Fantastic picture.Yoohoo!

Now, there are two reasons I believe this is a photoshopped fake:

1. The spacewalkers are suspiciously all oriented the same way & upright - folks, believe me, space isn't like that! Not the last time I was there anyway.

2. The pictures suggest that at some stage recently, the weather was lovely over Wellington.

I rest my case.

Look what's down under - Stuff.co.nz

Scurrilous gossip - Ridgey & Loos woman.

I think we've covered some of the exploits of Ms Loos before on this blog (but I can't be arsed looking previous posts up), but essentially:

Uber-slapper who somehow scored the job of PA to Lord David Beckham & then scored the man himself. And got caught by Lady Posh Spice.

In her career highlight to date, she appeared on UK TV in a low rent reality TV show & jerked off a pig. Commentators claimed she looked like she knew what she was doing. The pig, engrossed in a post coital cigarette, made no comment.

Anyway, read the latest, Ridgey's allegedly a class act.

Ridge's ex speaks out over Loos - Stuff.co.nz

More photos here...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

It's official, we're a 3rd world city

Hard on the heels of the gas outage that lasted for weeks earlier in the year, now I find that a critical part of the city (critical in this instance, means a part that I needed to use today) has had a major power cut. Power not expected to resume till near lunchtime.

No idea what the cause is, but here is how it has inconvenienced me...

I use an insurance broker. A non sequiteur? Possibly. Anyway, I'm all in favour of using brokers (I am one myself as it happens, but not for insurance) as you get independant (supposedly) advice & service.

Anyway, I'm beginning to suspect that our broker shuffles me between policies every few years in order to renew & increase his commission. And that's because he frequently suggests I chop & change for no apparent reason (he cites advantages to me - I see inconvenience usually.)

Also, this may be hard to envisage, my broker looks & sounds like a pony-tailed, Elton John spectacle wearing, Paul Holmes. Scary.

Anyway, the latest is that I need to up my life insurance policy & he has just the one for me. But it requires that I go give some blood.

I hate giving blood. And you have to fast. And for fuck sake, this is Christmas!

So anyway, I've already had the deadline for my "bloods" lapse once, & received a stern wagging of the pony tail & Holmes voice lecture, and I have promised to go do it soon.

And so today, fasted, slightly less wined than usaul the previous evening... I headed up to the Terrace to get my fucking "bloods" done. On the way I wondered about the throngs that lined the footpaths. Then I entered the building which houses the clinic, and it was all pitch black.

"Power cut" said some guy coming past me, "All up the Terrace".

So somewhat pissed off I started to head back to work. Then I changed my mind figuring how much power does a blood test need & so I went back.

I climbed the stairs in the darkness to the first floor. A woman with a torch was wandering back & forth along the corridor. I asked where the blood test place was & she told me that it was along the corridor, but there was a wait as they were doing people one at a time. I asked how long will it take?

"A while"

"How many people are ahead of me?"

"Half a dozen or so"

"How long does each person take?" (thinking that this is like getting blood from a stone & why do they need me here in that case"

"5 to 10 minutes"

"I'll wait"

I followed her back in, and the clinic was in total blackness. She waved a hand at a corner that was pitch black & told me to take a seat.

I could see no seats, and as I edged closer I could hear people snickering. Fearing I was going to sit on someone's lap I asked if anyone was there. More snickering.

I sat in the first empty seat I could feel, and even at this stage I had no idea how many other people were there.

I left, bought a muffin & a coffee & returned to my sun drenched office, which has power.

Chances are slim now that I will make the new deadline for my "bloods". Fuckem.

Power outage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rabid letters to the editor blogged...

This deserves passing around - if you're an avid reader of letters to the editor of the DomPost & other Wellington publications... you may have come across Ronald Smythe of Mt Cook, and H Westfold of Hataitai. Well someone has gone to the trouble of publishing their letters to sundry media organs, on a blog.

And they're very funny.

I was interested to note, from his letter in your May 24 issue, where he spouts his usual heathen rot prompted by my letter of May 3, that Mr Hare the village atheist hasn’t yet gone to the Devil who prompts him in the first place!

I call him by that term because his writings against Christianity and the Bible are on that level of polemics – I’ve long known he lives in the city of Lower Hutt, thank you.

What has happened to the youth of today? | the wellingtonista

Hat Tip to Alan at Halfpie, who somehow came across this blog.

Are You Up For The Perfect Job?

I've seen a few jobs in my time, which scream for the perfect applicant:

Quality Controller - Cadbury's Chocolates, comes to mind. All the chocolate you can eat?

FHM magazine once claimed that the perfect job was "Orgasm tester", but they didn't supply a job description.

And closely related perhaps, Durex are calling for sexually active volunteers, "with the right attributes" to test their condoms, just in time for the summer holidays.

I presume that "with the right attributes" means having something to put the condom on... but I could be wrong. Maybe it just means willing to shag an awful lot to give the product a proper "road test". Who knows?

In fact, if they could get enough female volunteers too, they could speed the testing up - just give all the volunteers free run of some appropriate venue for a couple of weekends & collate the results.

I see no mention of remuneration... that'd be the gig right? "Professional Condom Tester" on your business card... and the census form... or how about that perfect part time job to support the studies? I imagine the folk at Student Job Search are getting restless right about now...

Durex wants applicants for condom testing - Stuff.co.nz

and also...

A whole year of positions... brought to you by your next employer.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Warning: Some scenes my disturb young & or etc....

Nah, just kidding. I did consider taking photos, but in the end there was nothing much of interest.

We penned the new, suspicious & untamed sheep in about 5 minutes. RESULT! This IS unusual. Our existing two sheep, well versed in being penned by a bunch of amateurs... were having none of it & eluded us. But hey, it wasn't their day in the sun & so we cared not a whit. The two old boys did come running up to the pen to see what was going on though.

Our shearer guy turned up, cast an experienced eye of the new ewes & said "Shit, who sold you these ancient bags of bones...?"

And so I told him. Turns out that the mother of the rams is the ancient one, the other one is more diplomatically, middle aged. And so I was slightly shafted by Richard from Waikanae, who not only palmed off two rams on an ignorant city slicker, but also their toothless mother.

Oh well. At least she'll see her remaining few years out peacefully. And moneywise, I'm still ahead, so he caused me just a little bit of stuffing around to get where I wanted to be in the first place.

The placing of the rings over the tails & goolies, was anticlimactic. The guys seemed pretty unconcerned, occasionally they displayed a few signs of minor discomfort, but no bleating, no obvious distress. After they'd been released back into the paddock, they sat a while in the shade, then joined their very skinny mother (she'll put weight on again now she's been sheared, and may well have a few more years left in her yet) in a big patch of clover.

I'm pleased to have this sorted.

Wether lambs - or not?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Walking Wounded

For the 2nd time in as many months, last night I walked home through the Botanic Gardens with Wilma, past many concerned looking people, covered in blood (well reasonably bloodied anyhow).

I really must start carrying something. Like bandages perhaps, although some tissues would be useful, to help with my sundry mishaps.

The first time was when I was playing with Wilma & one of her pals, a mad little staffy called Havoc, throwing a stick for them to chase, and at one point, both Havoc & I lunged for the stick at the same time. I got the stick, Havoc got my thumb. Yow!

It was just a little puncture, but I dripped blood for ages, having nothing to wrap around it.

Last night, circumstances, a thrush & Wilma, conspired to see the heavy end of a retractable leash wrenched from my grasp & wrapped around a shrub. A further wrenching, just as I was bending down to secure the leash, and by association, a bird chasing dog, saw the heavy leash whip out from around the shrub, travel approximately 3 feet through the air & connect at high speed at precisely where my nose meets my upper lip. The thrush got away.

Damned lucky I didn't lose or chip a tooth, or break my nose. And of course I thought "Oh yeah, I promised myself I'd carry tissues from now on... pity..."

And so once again I trooped through the gardens covered in blood, alarming the locals, who averted their eyes at the sight, until I could find a tap to at least recover some semblance of dignity.

I only mention this because my nose started bleeding again about 30 minutes ago. Well, not my nose as such, more the cut right below it...

Meanwhile - what's going on at Trivial Pursuit? No update since August, then yesterday, the whole site appeared in my RSS feed & on investigation the only difference I could see was that comments have been disabled. Then again today, a post from March appeard on Bloglines...

Watch this space I guess.

Trivial Pursuit

The Unspoken (Godwin's) Law of Shaving Moustaches

Is there any man since the 1930s who has not followed the ritual pictured at the end of the below link when shaving off his moustache?

ChCh-Changes: Movember - the moustache disappears

Cheers Mike

The Unkindest Cuts of All...

Being of the male persuasion, I have to confess that the topic of castration does not sit that well with me - although since it's not me being castrated it is something else that won't be sitting well for a short while.

But somethings just have to go & I have just arranged with our local shearer to pop around this weekend, shear a couple of ewes that need it, and dock & castrate the little rams that I inadvertently purchased from a farmer who advertised ewes & ewe lambs for sale, and who then sold me two rams without mentioning it. And it didn't occur to me to look. Anyway, I haven't complained becuse he DID sell me the two lambs for the price of one, and even having to pay the shearer guy will still see me come out ahead.

Docking, in case you're not a real kiwi, is where the tails are removed to prevent fly strike later in the sheep's life.

And these little fellas will be getting the deluxe treatment - tails & testicles.

There are various ways to affect these alterations in your livestock - I'm not entirely sure, but I suspect our guy will be using the little rubber bands that are stretched over the "bits", and which form a kind of tourniquet. In a day or two the offending "bits" drop off. Wilma won't be around to profit from the event, I'm assuming some local seagull will score bigtime over the next few days.

Doesn't the very thought make your eyes water? If not, I suggest you click on the link below & scroll down to the pictures of the medieval implements that are available for the task... and then tell me it didn't bring tears to the eyes. I'm not sure I ever want to own a tool that calls itself "The Emasculator"...

Anyway, I note in this page that it suggests the procedure take place in the first 7 days of the lamb's life - other sites I have looked at tell me it should be done before they're 6 weeks old - we will just scrape in this weekend within the 6 week deadline.

And I'm informed that the pain lasts for maybe 15-20 minutes max. I'm not looking forward to the noise they'll make in that 15-20 minutes...

Anyway, sometimes a man's just gotta do what a man's gotta do, or pay another man to do. I console myself that it must surely beat the meatworks.

Sheep 201 - Docking and Castrating

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Help Fight Gnomelessness!

Arched Gnome HomeCool prezzie alert - Locally made Gnome Homes & Gnomaloos. Hand cast by a master blacksmith in the Hutt Valley (who also does a good line in Roman Armour, and let's face it, who doesn't like parading around in Roman Armour?, and a few other ideas he's working on which I'll report on when they come to fruition, but which must remain under wraps for now so as not to give away his ideas to competitors.)

Even Gnomes have to go.I just got a couple of Gnomehomes & matching Gnomaloos for my nieces, they also come, I'm told, in camouflage colours for the boys, and in various combinations - Gnome Village, and the bulk pack which I guess could constitute a Gnome City.

You can get them through this site, or by emailing Murray (click on the little Murray figure for the email link), or through numerous retail outlets, including Christopher's Crystals in Cuba Street.

Welcome to www.gnomehomes.co.nz

Star Boating Club “Row-A-Thon" - Fri/Sat | the wellingtonista

Star Boating Club “Row-A-Thon" - Fri/Sat | the wellingtonista

Monday, December 04, 2006

Today's Eva Green News

I came to this wikipedia page via a circuitous route...

Watched The Dreamers this weekend - which is the perfect movie for all those who want to see more of Eva Green. Lots more. All in fact. Lots more than you'll see in Casino Royale.

And I went looking for a review of it & came to Wikipedia, along with a bunch of other links.

So that promised news:

1. She's been cast as Serafina Pekkala (hot, broom riding, witch) in the movie version of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. Yay!

2. She's dating Marton Csokas, probably best known for playing Leonard on Shortland Street. Good score Leonard! Although to be honest, I thought you batted for the other team. NTTAWWT.

Eva Green - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bilbo Cruise.

Years ago I caused consternation in the mind of a previous wife after perusing a copy of Premiere magazine & suddenly announcing (true) that someone was planning a movie based on the Bridges of Madison County - a favourite of Mrs Llew #1.

She asked "Do they say who is going to be in it?"

Quite offhand, and untruthfully I replied "It says they're rewriting it to suit Tom Cruise."

Later, as she was sealing the envelope with the torrid words of profanity to the studio in question, I had to admit that I was fibbing. I can happily report that the news that Clint Eastwood would star met with tentative approval at least. By now she wasn't prepared to believe me when I said it was being rewritten to include a gunfight & car chase so that Clint felt comfortable with the script.

But anyway. Here's my prediction for the Hobbit film, should Sir Peter Jackson not make the cut.

Bilbo Baggins - Tom Cruise - I figure they can save on the special effects to make him small, especially when paired with

Gandalf - Clint Eastwood

Elrond - Morgan Freeman - it's written in Clint's contract these days, that Freeman has to play his best friend in every movie he's in.

Pingepoo - Katie Holmes - Elrond's other daughter, who develops a crush on Bilbo

Smaug - Andy Serkis, in a nod to Jackson.

Just my thoughts - take 'em or leave 'em.


Mission Accomplished!

After several days of phone calls to some reticent guy called Richard in Waikanae, the deal was struck. 2 ewes & two ewe lambs (it's important they are ewe lambs, as rams are bigger & harder to handle, and need "things" done to them so that I don't have even more lambs next year & end up REALLY overstocked). All I needed to do was hoof it up the coast, give him a call when I was 30 minutes away, hire a trailer & meet him at the farm.

So I did. I'd spent the evening before loading up the car with stuff to take up to SunnyO for Christmas, then I unloaded it again because I'd forgotten to put our removeable towbar on & it's in a cunning hidey-hole underneath the baggage area, put the towbar on, locked it in place & loaded up the car with: a punga fern that was cut down & has recovered enough that we will replant it, a big wicker basket, a segment of telephone pole (long story, it will be useful for something), a few odds & ends from the basement that are no use in kelburn, but will be in more rural climes, and a truckload of new bedding.

The next day I left work at 12.30pm, ran a few errands, whizzed back home to change into farming gear (so as to not look like some city wuss when I met Richard), picked up the dog (more rural cred), and sped North.

At Paraparumu I spied the perfect trailer. I hired it. Then I discovered that it wouldn't fit on the towbar the dealer assured me was standard when we bought the car - hey, the bike rack fits OK what gives?. I got a refund & shot round to the hire centre the garage recommended to discover they didn't have any trailers that fit a 2 inch (as opposed to 1.7/8 inch standard) either.

Then I decided, "Bugger it" if necessary I'd load them in the back of the car & stuff all the baggage, & dog in the front seat with me & hope that either they could all hold their bladders & bowels for the short trip, or that the tarpaulin I laid down would save the interior.

Just in case I stopped at every garage between there & Waikanae & asked if they had a trailer that would fit.

And LO! The Waikanae BP did. SO I was saved.

When I met Richard, after passing the farm & doing a very impressive 3 point turn with a trailer on a rural road... he said that I had a choice - 2 ewes & two lambs, or 2 ewes, and 3 lambs... he had one with twins.

I hummed & hahhed - I don't want to overstock the place as I mentioned, but Mrs Llew had offered that in case the two wethers die of old age soon, I should consider getting 5 new sheep, so I said "OK". After all he was offering them for the same price as 4.

The new sheep!

The new sheep!-1

The new sheep!-2

The new sheep!-3

The new sheep!-4

The new sheep!-5

I had to grab the first ewe & heave her off the trailer. Her two lambs hurled themselves off after her & buried themselves underneath her, their little tails wagging madly.

Say what? Tails? I hadn't noticed that, they're supposed to be docked. And then on closer inspection I realised "OHMIGOD! The two "T"s! Tails & Testicles!" That bastard Richard had sold me a couple of ram lambs, & I can see why they were cheap, it saved him having to do "things" to them to make the "wethers".

But rejoice, I rang our shearer & explained the situation, he said "No problem" he'd visit & do those "things" to them & all would be well.

I don't intend to watch, but hey, this is NZ, rams lose their knackers every day & seem none the worse for it.

Later, I ran into a neighbour, Mary, whose husband is Master Tim (my fencing master - Anthony Hopkins to my Zorro - lots about them way back at the beginning of this blog), she had already noted (ex farm wife that she is) the two "T"s, and suggested that Tim might pop over later & do "things" with his teeth. I politely declined the offer & told her Alan the shearer was onto it. I'm presuming Alan uses approved implements for the task. We're trying for "humane" around these parts.

The new sheep!-6

The new sheep!-7

The new kids got themselves accustomed to their new home, but the old guys, George & Otto were nowhere to be seen. They were of course, holed up in the forest. Although they knew something was up because at one stage I saw them peering through the fence at the new arrivals.

So I went & chased them out. They were curious, but nervous. They sneaked up on the two ewes & sniffed at the back of them, as animals do, then ran off when they turned around. But stayed fairly close. I guess it's the storming phase for the new team.

The new sheep!-8

The new sheep!-9

The new sheep!-10

The new sheep!-11

The new sheep!-12

Last I saw of them all, they were heading up into the forest to explore the rest of the property.

Wilma & I left them to it & headed back to Waikanae to return the trailer.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Bagpipes - a cruel joke on the Scots?

Right, before I start... off on a tangent... over at PA System they're looking for the Word of the Year. Bagpipes isn't it, but don't you think that just the sound of it evokes... I dunno, something Heath Robinson? something suffering chronic emphysema? something that ate the perishable bits & someone had to compose Silent Night? Or maybe not.

Anyway, I loathe bagpipes. I have long suspected that bagpipes, like kilts, were an elaborate practical joke played on the Scots by the English, in revenge for the Scots being a troublesome & pugnacious bunch (ie, by standing up to them). While we're on that - click through that link & notice how William Wallace looked nothing like Mel Gibson. Astonishing isn't it? Further, the real Wallace was a giant of a man, Mel is er... well he probably looks up to Tom Cruise.

William Wallace would not have worn a kilt & played the bagpipes. (Disclaimer - I have no idea if that is true, but it should be).

Until quite recently today there was one wailing away outside Astoria, 4 storeys down from where I am sitting. Mercifully, he has gone now. Can we not get some law enacted to restrict them to Highland Games in the provinces?

I'm keen to hear John Key's views on this.

Bagpipes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Voter seeks someone to vote for.

You can only have some sympathy for the dilemma the true conservative is facing right now.

Voter seeks someone to vote for. «

Might I suggest the Maori Party?

BTW: Great cartoon in yesterday's DomPost

Monday, November 27, 2006

New Sheep

Yay! Some guy not far away is selling about 500 sheep - ewes & ewe lambs (which either means there is something in the water/pasture affecting the birth of boy sheeps... or something medieval has happened to them. I'm guessing the latter.)

Anyway, I'm down for two ewes & two lambs. I made sure the property was lamb proof the other day. Now I just have to figure out how to get them between Waikanae & SunnyO. I don't think Mrs Llew will be happy for me to cram them in the back seat of the llewmobile.

In the nick of time too - the two lonely old gents on the property are nowhere near keeping up with pasture growth... it's a jungle out there.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Will wonders never cease!!

Jerry Bruckheimer & Tony Scott have made a decent film!!

Review: Deja Vu

In less surprising news, Casino Royale is apparently terrific.

First Annual Wellingtonista Awards Voting | the wellingtonista

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of sheep--and skips--and selling-houses--
Of Wellingtonista Awards--and things--

I've been remiss sorry - busy. Remiss not just here, but over at the Wellingtonista, at where I am rumoured to be a valued member. I can't recall when I last posted though...

Anyway, get on over there & cast your vote in the First Annual Wellingtonista Awards. There will be prizes. There will be ceremony... there will be martinis... there will be buffed & scantily clad beautiful people...

First Annual Wellingtonista Awards Voting | the wellingtonista

On a more sombre note, I got a call last night from Master Tim at SunnyO, another sheep has died, the last remaining ewe, Pearl. Like the other two who lay down & died over the last two years, she just laid down & died. Fine one evening, dead in the morning.

These sheep are quite old now, as far as I can tell (about 8), so I guess it's to be expected. Although I believe they CAN live much longer. I do find it slightly odd that all the girls popped their clogs first, we've got the two boys left now, George & Otto.

I'll call the local vet & ask if there's anything weird happening with sheep in the area, but I really do suspect that they've gone of natural causes - they're well fed, sheltered, recently sheared & drenched, have shown no signs of the usual ailments that kill sheep.

Anyway... We need 3 or 4 new sheep to keep our two old boys company. Anyone know of anyone with 3 or 4 youngish (at least 1 year old) ewes (they're slightly smaller, less belligerent & easier to handle than the wethers) that need a new home? In the Kapiti Coast area?

Onto other things now - we finally sold our surplus house in town. Yay!! I have resolved never to be a landlord again, too many houses to maintain takes its toll.

We had the place "homestaged", that is, furnished while vacant, because the estate agent assured us that makes for a quicker sale.

They did a brilliant job - after the tenants moved out we were a bit despondent at the state of the place, not that they damaged it in any way (aside from a big stain on the carpet), it just looked run down & grubby, which is a testament to my neglect as much as anything the tenants did or didn't do. And we had a slight plumbing problem that necessitated some repair & relining of the laundry, and replacing the rotted laundry tub.

Once we'd cleaned it though, and had bits fixed, and furnished, the difference was remarkable. It was transformed from a student flat to an executive home!

And the homestaging was fantastic, Sally, has a wonderful eye, and supplied not just furniture, but flowers, soap, towels, fruit, paintings, rugs...

We briefly discussed staying there for a few days to enjoy it.

And it sold quickly, for a fair price, and we are content. And so is our bank.

On the actual real homefront news... we engaged two huge tasks last weekend - I had 6 metres of compost delivered kerbside, for our new garden beneath & beside our newish cardeck, and the same day, had a massive skip rolled in so that we could empty our large basement of junk.

By Sunday evening, the skip was filled completely, and about 5 metres of compost was lugged to its resting place and our new garden planted out with box hedge & roses. We'd planted the weeping pear some time before & can report she is doing well.

Monday & Tuesday I could hardly move. But it's gotta be good for you right?

Interestingly, I can see that even though the skip is bursting at the seams, neighbours are sneaking their rubbish onto it hoping that we won't notice. Although last night, I was at the gate, quietly watching some guy with a bag circling our skip, I thought he was looking for someplace to stow his bag. But in fact, he was sizing up some of our junk, which he extracted, smiled contentedly, turned & went to walk away with his treasure. He saw me then, didn't blink an eye, and so I said "Help yourself!".

But now I can report that we have a most impressive & roomy basement, there is still some stuff to go, firewood for instance, which we will donate to the next door neighbours who have a fire, some terracotta pots, huge!, which we have argued about - I see no reason why they cannot be utilised somewhere in our garden, Mrs Llew sees no reason why they cannot be perched on top of the pile of rubbish for removal. And a very old bicycle. Which I haven't dragged out yet, it looks like something from WWII, or one of those old UK period TV series, you can imagine Francesca Annis biking all around Somerset or someplace.

But then I suppose I imagine Francesca Annis doing lots of things.

That bike would make a wonderful project for some kid who enjoys tinkering with, and renovating old bikes. Yeah. Right. Mrs Llew will certainly disagree, but I reckon it could make a marvellous & remarkable climbing frame for some decorative plant, somewhere in the garden. Either that, or mounted on a swivelling pole, it'd make a great & notable weather vane. I'll take sensible suggestions.

And that reminds me of something irrelevant, but something I was thinking about the other day, something that a lecturer told us when I was studying Tess of the D'Urbervilles. And that is, how the invention of the bicycle was a major turning point in the evolution of society - it brought affordable transport to the masses, those who couldn't afford horses & carts. Suddenly people could travel beyond the boundaries of their villages. They could conduct business, socialise, marry beyond the confines of their immediate family... etc etc.

Fascinating eh?

Monday, November 13, 2006

That's what I call driftwood.


Unconfirmed rumour has it that Tom Hanks' stranded Fed-Ex troubleshooter in Castaway built his makeshift reaft from driftwood washed up on Otaki Beach.

Whether that's true or not, Otaki sure has its share of mulch, wood, planks, logs, and as you can see, whole trees washing up. It's usually worse after a big storm.

This one takes the cake though, we saw it from miles away & had to go investigate. It's taken with the phone, so not the best images, but if you look carefully you can spot a happy dog checking it out, and get some idea of the size of the thing.

I have wondered in the past just how such large trees get washed so far up the beach, and this one strains credibility.

There's a fair amount of water traffic off the beach, swimmers. surfers, kayakers, fishing boats, and inflatable dinghies... I wonder how many encounter submerged objects like this?




Thursday, November 09, 2006

Check this out!

I want one too.

Grabthar's Hammer: Tiki-Tiki

Although if you click through to the Stuff article, that looks disconcertingly lke Jenny Shipley in that tub to me.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The worst ever kids' TV show

Sorry, there's something amiss with the Public Address site, where I would direct you to David Haywood's scholarly thoughts on the best kids' TV shows ever. I recommend you check out his links to legendary footage of moonbabe Gabrielle Drake changing her clothes in a cut from Sylvia & Gerry Anderson's UFO.

I'll toss the link up later (done), but meanwhile, here's my pick for the WORST kids' TV show ever.

D o u b l e D e c k e r s

Apparently this was a US/UK collaboration, and depending on which fan site you visit, it was either a major hit on both sides of the Atlantic; or a major hit in the UK, but failed to fire in the US. Alternatively you have come here, and you can take it from me that the show would have sucked from wherever you viewed it.

It featured seven ethnically & physically diverse, all singing, all dancing, London poppets who have a clubhouse in an old double decker bus.

The double deckers were led by Scooper, played by Peter Firth, who went on to achieve a few years of fame later in his career. And the show was, I think, an attempt to cash in on the success of the Partridge Family.

I cannpt even think of the theme music without coming over nauseous...

Get on board! Get on board!
Come and join the Double Deckers.
Take a ticket for a journey,
On our double decker London bus.
Ring the bell (ding! ding!),
Toot the horn (honk! honk!),
When you ride with the Double Deckers.
Fun and laughter is what we're after,
On our double double double decker bus.

If David Haywood nostalgically opines that they don't make 'em like they used to... the Double Deckers will make you feel glad.

Friday, November 03, 2006

What the test post was about

Clarification as promised... I was just posting to see how quickly this site popped up in the "Last Post" feed at the brand new Public Address System.

And either it didn't, or I missed it. Oh well.

But go & take a look, it's Public Address Interactive, everyone's there already, probably you as well.

Public Address | System

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

test post

Heh heh... clarification later. SO I may as well ramble a bit.

you know what? I was told off for trying to reaffix the big Beware of the Dog sign to our gate last night & forced to visit a local shop & stock up on junk food for visiting... kids.

As it happened all we got was one group of really young-uns & their olds, who got an assortment of really bad things for their optimistically large sacks (I dunno, I had a bunch of raw carrots, potatoes & parsnips all peeled & cut up & soaking in lemon infused water & no-one, NO-ONE wanted them. Kids these days.

Anyway, I happened to be out walking the aforementioned Hound of the Llewervilles (my family name) when they came & I got a frantic call from Mrs Llewerville, "Artichoke!" (my given name) she screamed "I fear we may run out of things to give kids!"

"Never fear Tantula", I said "When we're down to the last few barrels of airplanes I'll make a run to the shops again."

And I carried on my way.

When I got home, some 3 hours later, I found that there had been no more kids at all, and we still had some 50 kilos of fruit bursts, airplanes & snickers sitting just inside the front door.

Later, another bunch of kids did arrive, led by our very own 14 year old, Marmalade, she announced she would be late for dinner, but not to worry, she was already feeling sick.

And they swanned off into the night, a motley bunch of adolescent M&Ms, superheroes, ghosts and god knows what the rest were.

in my day, in the old country, we didn't Trick or Treat, we stayed at home, the 2nd to last house in a cul de sac bordered by a disused canal on one side, and spooky woods on the other. We dunked for apples & shit like that & watched my dad roast chestnuts on the open fire.

In fact, I recall one of those moments you get now & then, when something really painful happens to someone & you really want to just burst out laughing but you have to choke it back because there is actual agonising pain involved.

Have I told this story already?

Anyway, if you have roasted chestnuts, you know that they're not done until they pop.

Well, all my dad's chestnuts popped except for one, so he fished it out of the fire with tongs, and carefully used his teeth to try & hurry it along.

And it popped.

And it was days before the blistering died down & he could talk properly again.

End of ramble. There was something else I meant to mention, but it's gone now. SO later dudes!

BTW: Some kid left us with this - what do you call a snail? A booger with a crash helmet.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Some Day My loooooove....

Dr ZhivagoWe'll meet again someday.....

Or something. It's Lara's Theme. Possibly.

Look, I get needled for dancing provocatively around the house singing

"I've got a sexy back.... YEAH!

take it to the fridge..."

That's what he says right?

Anyway, for the last week or so I've been putting on my best faux tenor & bursting forth with "Some day my loooove...." etc.

Because we watched, for the first time ever, Dr Zhivago.

And I don't know if you've seen it, but it was the David Lean version with Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Tom Courtenay, Alec Guiness & Geraldine Chaplin, amongst others. Oh, and a young Klaus Kinski has a small role as a mad-as-a-snake intellectual. No surprises there.

Sharif is the good doctor/poet Yuri Zhivago (Zhivago is, apparently, the Russian word for "life"). Guinness is Zhivago's brother, a Bolshevik general, he provides the framing device for the film, telling the story of Zhivago & Lara to Rita Tushingham, who he believes is his niece - ie, their child.

Set against the end of World War 1, and the Russian Revolution & civil war, Zhivago is the story of a doomed love between two people married to others, and the vicissitudes suffered by them due to circumstance & war. There is much more, much, much more.

Unfortunately, the version we saw was almost devoid of colour. Not the restored print touted in the picture above.

But that aside, there were some moments of rare beauty, such as when Zhivago scares a pack of wolves who are congregated outside the frozen house (above) he & Lara are sheltering in, in an unbelievably beautiful frozen wasteland. Maybe it's the dog lover in me. I wondered where they were going to eat. Or who.

I wasn't overly impressed with the film in the end. Christie is pretty hot to look at, but about as cold in presence as the Russian Winter. Sharif is OK. Wherever they filmed it stands in very attractively for sundry parts of Russia.

Interestingly, Tom Courtenay's character in the movie (Lara's husband) is based loosely on Leon Trotsky, which I'm told wasn't the case in the book. But there's the armoured train racing all around bolstering the Red Army. And once his character is gone, Lara & Zhivago lose a degree of protection, it seems that his possibly subversive poems have not gone unnoticed by the party, and it is only because she is Strelnikov's wife, even though for much of the movie she believes him dead, that they're allowed their freedom.

Although I have a slight logic problem with that - Lara & Zhivago are "protected" because she's married to a Bolshevik general, so why aren't they just as protected because his brother is ALSO a Bolshevik general? A lot f Bolshevik generals in this movie.

And the music! Look, half way through I was thinking "They're over using this overblown music.". Every time we see Christie, Lara's theme swells into your consciousness... and then every time she & Zhivago have been parted by some event, the theme gets cranked up to 11 so that you know just how tragic & heartrending this is.

And bloody hell, they get parted a lot.

But despite that, and despite my ambivalence to the movie as a whole... that theme has stuck with me all this week. No wonder it sold millions of records at the time.

Note: mercifully no-one sings the lyrics at all before, during, or after.

So. There're my scattershot thoughts on Dr Zhivago, really stick with Lean's Lawrence of Arabia for the real oil.

Meanwhile, in deference to the day & date, today's random link is to David Haywood's musings, last year, on Halloween.

Me? I'm going home early to re-affix the Beware of the Dog sign to our gate, the one with the picture of the rabid looking, drooling rottweiler. That usually ensures a quiet Halloween.

Public Address | Speaker

Monday, October 30, 2006

Health Warning

Just reading this article on Stuff may cause diabetes.

Latest fast food fad - Deep fried Coke.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

An unlikely couple?

I'm not technically savvy enough to copy the picture in question, so you're going to have to click here... and scroll to picture number 42.

Well? Who does it look like to you?

Magnum Photos - marathon06

Hat tip to David Slack for pointing me to these photos. I reckon the guy might be Witi Ihimaera, David thinks it might be Kofi Anan.

I guess there's an outside chance it's Morgan Freeman.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir has a blog

We're fans of all things Rebekka at the moment, and to those to whom I mentioned the (sheep's) eyeball eating scene in the marvelous movie Cold Fever...

...it seems they really do it. Nice.

Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir

Time for a TV review or two.

Blokie & RoundieI’ve had my sport in the past with Logan & Brown & their Grillslinger™ and I’ve even had their supporters come & tell me off for it. And truth be told, I’m coming around to the Grillslinger™ idea. I think the tools themselves are marvellous, but the belt puts me off. It’s a bit like when I bought a massive sack of Eukanuba™ dog food & it came with a free bum bag & dog walking accessories. I love my free stuff, and Eukanuba™ have been very generous in the past, I have a free Eukanuba ™ travel pet bowl, a free Eukanuba™ self filling water bowl (with a European hose connector so that it doesn’t work in NZ, free Eukanuba™ doggy doo bags & on board carrier. And all sorts of stuff. And so I was really pleased with my free Eukanuba™ bum bag, with water bottle, another free travel bowl, and sundry clips to attach other stuff to. And a bum bag is a great idea in Summer, there is a lot of stuff to carry when walking a dog, during Winter I have loads of jackets & pants & pockets, and carabinas & the like.

And so I swanned around in my bum bag for a while, and several weeks later I realised that the drink bottle was for the dog, not me, hence the travel bowl. And then I had an epiphany of sorts, I realised that the Eukanuba ™ bumbag & accessories was all a bit CHiPs. So I stowed it in the cupboard.

Anyway, Logan & Brown… Logie & Brownie…

Did you all catch their TV series Hunger for the Wild? It was appointment viewing. Although I missed two of them & hope they repeat them (sorry, I mean encore them).

If you missed it, basically the boys, Blokie & Roundie… would head into the wipwops each week in a magnificent old car of some sort, with a wine cellar in the boot, truss up a local & have them take them to where the whitebait/crayfish/wild pigs/flounder et al hang out, show them how to catch dinner & then hoof it back to base where Roundie prepared a magnificent feast, all the while sporting his Grillslinger™ slung manfully around his hips.

And these two are just so charming & irrepressible that it’s impossible not to enjoy the show thoroughly & salivate over the food.

So guys, sorry about the Grillsinger™ jibes. I look forward to season 2.

And from quintessential blokes, we move on to The L Word.

Heh heh… Watched this last might. Mrs Llew spotted it was on & she’d been advised that it is solid viewing, plus, she’d heard that Jennifer Beals starred, and she is a huge Flashdance fan. I was sceptical, but as the credits rolled I noted that the ensemble cast also includes the fabulous Mia Kirshner, who you may recall from the marvellous Atom Egoyan film Exotica, and possibly from the very first episode ever of 24, in which she played the hot airline passenger who abruptly killed a flight attendant, then sky dived to safety just before a bomb detonated killing everyone on board. Wottagal.

Anyway, Mia is the straight chick who's moved into an LA neighbourhood populated by lesbian supermodels. She is then tempted away from her straight boyfriend by the stunning dyke café owner Marina, played by the stunning Karina Lombard, who we really should see more of, and we probably will.

It’s got nudity, sex, profanity, drug use. Man, I’m in! During the party scene, which featured lots of very attractive women making out, Mrs Llew nudged me & asked “How’d you like to be at a party like that?”

Since we have a few lesbian acquaintances, only one of whom is remotely attractive (I will admit that I’ve known her for decades & she really is beautiful), my reply was “But in real life they’d all look like Gerry Brownlee.”

A thought that spoiled the moment.

So anyway, the L Word, a glossy soap, with improbably beautiful lesbians.

I’ll keep you posted.

Exotica (1994)

may i have your attention please!

Please sign the petition.

No. Not that one (although by all means sign that one too, I'm told I have already). But then again, some very notable people have signed that one.

I mean this petition - "Stöðvum Kristján Loftsson!"

In essence... Save the Whales! Send a message to the Icelandic government.

may i have your attention please! on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

More loss

Yet more loss Lookie here, we came across an old friend last week...

The neighbourhood's been targetted by a diverse range of taggers recently. One strike that amuses me is that on the truck owned by a neighbour, no idea what it says or represents, but it is emblazoned in flourescent green right across the side of his truck.

I don't care because this neighbour is the cause of pretty much all the competition for parking spaces in our cul de sac. And not that it matters to us anymore, we've got off street parking now, and not before time, because this guy just went & bought himself a new truck, to supplement the fleet he already owns & parks in our street. He's got two trucks now, real big ones, and two very large vans.

he's also got two double garages, but they're so full of junk he can't park anything in them. The trucks wouldn't fit anyway.

I used to consider that this guy was part of what I called Team Landlord, there used to be two or three of them, they own a lot of houses in the vicinity and they tend to congregate outside all dressed in orange overalls.

And then recently, yesterday in fact, I realised that he & he alone is Team Landlord, the other guys were just going about their business & this guy was just being nosey & taking up their time.

Because that's what he does to everyone. Just as well we weren't paying our builders by the hour because I know that Team Landlord knows everything there is to know about every one of them. And their extended families. And possibly all their friends.

He is ever vigilant, and to be honest, I'm glad we have a large dog with a (very) loud & gruff bark, because the previous owner of our house came home one night to find Team Landlord snooping around her back garden. We know what he was looking for, we still have it.

He's lived in the same place all his life I think, which is about 4 doors up from us. Or he possibly started life next door to that, because that's where his parents live now.

Anyway, he's a curse. He also parks & reparks his fleet at around 4.30am each morning.

SunnyO: What are we to make of this loss?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

This just in...

Help yourself & send it on

Today's random Blog This link is the flickr page of a gorgeous person from Iceland. Well worth a browse, some amazing photos here.

Flickr: Photos from _rebekka

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

New Zealand's top toilets named

About time too. Expect hordes of tourists on organised tours of the nation's public toilets.

New Zealand's top toilets named:

"The toilets were judged on a range of criteria, ranging from signposting, cleanliness , lighting, mirrors and how good the hand drying facilities were."

Actually, I remember my very first good look around Sydney, probably around 1989... and it's not like I'm a frequent visitor to public toilets... no. Truly. ... but I do recall being super impressed with the lavvies at Circular Quay. They were light, airy, clean, and most unexpected of all... they were stocked with toilet paper & soap!

In 1989, I don't think there was a public convenience anywhere in New Zealand which had soap. What was it? Were people stealing the stuff or something? Anyway, seems those days are past.

On the other hand, I am (not) surprised that a public dunny I encountered in the depths of the South Island was overlooked for accolades. I would have to look it up on a map, but it was at a rest area, somewhere in the middle of a beech forest on the way South to Lake Ohau.

It was marked on the AA map we had, it was signposted a few hundred metres in advance. When we found the rest area, there was another sign pointing to a vague path into the forest. Everyone was desperate, I was sent into the gloom to find it & report back.

Some 50 yards into the trees, I spotted some used tissue on the ground, next to an ancient fallen log. On top of that log was a toilet sized hole...

I think you can see where we're going here. Or not going. We drove on until we found a garage.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

More meals to impress men!

If memory serves, this is the 2nd in a series (which was itself a response to Dr Che Tibby's Meals to Impress Women - although Che's recipe is a little healthier for you than mine, because obviously, he's a doctor & it has to be).

I also emailed this to Graham Reid, who is collecting life-threatening recipes for his website, a feature called Meals from Elsewhere. So it may turn up online (literally) elsewhere, as Llew's Pork & Prune Medley from SunnyO. Or something.

And folks, much like, as someone somewhere online once said to me, there is no movie that could not be improved by the addition of a scene with Humphrey Bogart shooting a high ranking Nazi officer (I think we were discussing politics), is there any recipe that cannot be improved by the addition of bacon? Bacon is of course, as Homer explained to Bart, "from a wonderful, magical animal called a pig".

2 pork fillets, sliced lengthways & bashed flat like thick schnitzel.

Spoon a truckload of sausage meat mixed with pitted, roughly chopped prunes (that's right, prunes - this dish might not be the healthiest for you, but it doesn't hang around the system long) over one of the pork fillet schnitzels, and cover with the other piece of pork.

Wrap the whole thing up with enough rashers of bacon to hold it all together.

Bake in a medium oven for 45-60 minutes. When the bacon's crisp, it's probably done.

Serve with salad (you pussy), and new potatoes baked with chopped up chorizos & herbs.

This is a festive feast.

And in fact we had it on New Years' Eve last year. Just before getting really trashed.

Today's random link takes you to the downloadable trailer for the new James Bond Film, Casino Royale. It looks fantastic! I particularly like the scene of the calm, and extremely hot, young woman, descending into water in a submerged elevator. Will she live? Who can tell? Yet.

BTW: In my opinion, Daniel Craig looks like he'll do fine. We watched him & Dame Gwyneth Paltrow in Sylvia the other night & the female in residence deemed him "yummy".

Hat tip to Spareroom. From whom I stole this.

'Casino Royale' - Exclusive Videos - Moviefone

Prison books, a nice gesture

David Slack urges us to send Tim Selwyn any old books or magazines you might have to bolster the meagre library at Hawkes Bay Prison.

I think this is a great idea, so scour your bookshelves for some titles that might inspire, entertain, and possibly edify some poor (or perhaps deserving) lags.

Might I suggest you assign some relevance, or irony to your choices... for instance, do you have any of these titles gathering dust:

Anything by Lord Archer
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
The Shawshank Redemption, indeed by Stephen King
Escape from Colditz, by P R Reid
Mein Kampf, by one A Hitler
Long Walk to Freedom, by Nelson Mandela
Papillon, by Henri Charriere

Leave any other appropriate titles in the comments by all means.

Dig 'em out, dust 'em down & send 'em off to:

Tim Selwyn
Librarian/Unit 8
Hawkes Bay Prison
Private Bag 1600
Napier, NZ

Public Address | Island Life | But Don't Attach a File

Friday, October 06, 2006

Mr & Mrs Hooter

At the Court of Appeal, the judge looked across the courtroom, and with some degree of trepidation asked Mr & Mrs Hooter if they had any closing comments in support of their second appearance in their quest for an appeal into the fraud convictions they are hoping to overturn.

"Damn straight" said Wee Hooter. He fixed his wife, sitting next to him, nipped & tucked within an inch of her life, and coiffed with what looked like a long haired Pomeranian perched on her head, with a lascivious eye, produced a leather bound booklet, and announced to the courtroom at large,

"These are some words I have prepared, they are written to inspire my people, and they came to me shortly after watching Wild On Striptease on the E channel while on home detention, I dedicate this poem to my damned hot wife! And no, I've never heard of the Black Eyed Peas..."

(La la la la la)
Hey mama, this that shit that make you groove, mama
Get on the floor and move your booty moma
We the blast masters blastin' up the jamma
Cutie cutie, make sure you move your booty
Shake that thing like we in the city of sin, and
Hey shorty, I know you wanna party
the way your body look realli make me really feel naunughty
Cutie cutie, make sure you move your booty
Shake that thing like we in the city of sin, and
Hey shorty, I know you wanna party
the way your body look realli make me really feel naunughty

I got a naughty naughty style and a naughty naughty crew
But everything I do, I do just for you
I'm a little bit of old, and a bigger bit of Nu
The true niggers know that the peas come thru
We never cease (NOO), we never die no we never decease (NOO)
We multiply like we mathamatice
Then we drop bombs like we in the middle east
(The bomb bombas, the base move dramas)
Naw y'all knaw, who we are
y'all knaw, we the stars
Steady rockin' on y'alls boulevards
And, lookin' hard without bodygaurds
(I do) what I can
(Y'all come thru) will.i.am
And still I stand, with still mic in hand
(So come on mama, dance to the drama)

Hey mama, this that shit that make you groove, mama
(Hey) get on the floor and move your booty mama
(Yaw) we the blast mastas blastin' up the jamma
(Hey) so shake your bambama, come on now mama
Hey mama, this that shit that make you groove, mama
(Hey) get on the floor and move your booty mama
(Yaw) we the blast mastas blastin' up the jamma
(La la la la la)

We the big town stumpas, and big sound pumpas
The beat bump bumps in your trunk trunkas
The girlies in the club with the big plump plumpas
And when I'm makin' love, my hip hump humps
It never quits (NOOOO) we need to carry 9mm clips (NOOOO)
Don't wanna squize trigger, just wanna squize t*ts
(Lubaluba) cause we the show stoppas
And the chief rockas, number one chief rockas
Naw y'all knaw, who we are
y'all knaw, we the stars
Steady rockin' on y'alls boulevards
How we rockin' it girl, without body guards
Now she be, Fergie, from the crew
B.E.P., come and take heed, as we take the lead
(So come on papa, dance to the drama)

Hey mama, this that shit that make you groove, mama
(Yaw) get on the floor and move your booty mama
(Wuh) we the blast mastas blastin' up the jamma
Cutie cutie, make sure you move your booty
Shake that thing like we in the city of sin, and
no fakin I know you see me shakin'
and the way I break it down I got the whole world quakin
Off the Richter, off the Richter, off the Richter, off the Richter, off the Richter, off the Richter steady are you ready.

Hey shorty, I know you wanna party
the way your body look realli make me really feel naunughty

But the race is not, for the swift
But who really can, take control of it
And tippa irie and the black eyed peas will be thhhheeerre
til infinity, til infinity, til infinity, til infinity, til infinity
Tippa is onuunuut

Nosa dima shock, nosa dima ting
everytime you sit there I hear, bling bling
O wata ting, hear blacka sing
grinding, and winding
and the madda be moving in a perfect timing
and we dance and dance to the dancehall riddim
and we're really to nice, it finga lickin'
like rice and peas and chicken stuffing

Hey mama, this that shit that make you groove, mama
(Hey) get on the floor and move your booty mama
(Yaw) we the blast mastas blastin' up the jamma
(Hey) so shake your bambama, come on now mama
Hey mama, this that shit that make you groove, mama
(Hey) get on the floor and move your booty mama
(Yaw) we the blast mastas blastin' up the jamma
(La la la la la)

And hey, if he can't be arsed writing his own poem, I can't be arsed writing my own parody.

Meanwhile, today's random Blog This site comes from AC/DC & The Governor of California, and it rocks.

YouTube - ac dc-big gun

Bluff oyster fishery 'in ruins' - researcher - New Zealand news on Stuff.co.nz

Say it isn't so!

This is an issue of epic proportions.

Bluff oyster fishery 'in ruins' - researcher - New Zealand news on Stuff.co.nz

Pink Ribbon Day

The burly guy said "Nice pink sash pal".

I said "Thanks, I wore it with you in mind" I shook the bucket full of notes & change, "It's a good cause."

Breast Cancer Awareness Day today, please be generous when you come across the (largely, I haven't anything pink in my wardrobe) pink clad collectors.

For the record, my patch is the corner of Woodward Street & Lambton Quay, the whole office is taking turns, and for those who like to contribute on the basis of aesthetics... everyone else on the patch today will be really hot.

Say hello.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Cooked Straight

Not the actual toilet seatJust come back from the airport where I dropped off the young 'un, for her first unaccompanied flight not as an "UM" (unaccompanied minor - turned 14 two days ago, and in her own words "past the novice teenager year & now the real thing"). Which means that she's at the mercy of the random seat allocation system (I'm told it's Monty, the Air NZ seat booking chicken out the back, pecking at numbered corn kernels).

I just hope she doesn't end up next to the seedy looking bunch of teeneagers there loudly discussing the RockQuest competition that they've got into the final of. Or something. Because, as some random train conductor argued a few weeks ago - on an occasion she caught a train, asked for a child's fare, but didn't have her student ID on her... she "doesn't look 13." Luckily she bluffed the guy that she only had a few dollars on her, that was after she offered her 3rd form maths homework as evidence & was rebuffed.

All that's irrelevant though. Consider it padding.

Just before she boarded, we scoffed a bacon burger & chips from one of the cafes there. Then I left, visited Placemakers, for reasons too complex to go into here, bought a laundry tub, toilet seat, electric multi-boxes and assorted sealants (as you do), and filled the car with petrol.

Back in the office, because I'm one of those types who can charge all sorts of things willy nilly to my place of employ... I went through my sundry receipts for the day.

Do you guys know what the cafe at the airport is called? According to the receipt, it is called "Espresso & Cooked Straight Bars".

Is it just me, or is there scope for amiguity here? Is it a cooked straight-bar? Or a cooked-straight bar? Oddly we had neither the espresso, nor the bar, straight, cooked or otherwise. Is it some sort of offer for sexuality reorientation?

Next time I'm out there I might ask.

Meanwhile, I've decided to post links to random blog posts. Purely because I find the "Blog this" function the most convenient to use, but I usually delete the irrelevant link. No more!

I'm not sure what this post means, but if we afford some ambiguity to the title the "Blog this" link automatically assigns, we might guess that David Farrar has just been crowned Miss World. And very pretty he is too.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some work to do & a toilet seat to expense.

Miss World 2006 (David Farrar)

Breaking News!

Wi Huata is really Maya Angelou!


Ben Harper gets a cold Big Mac (TM) couriered to him later today for his services to setting poems to music.

Hat tip: Kowhaikiwi

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Yikes, I'd better move fast on this one...

This strikes me as exactly the sort of thing David Slack would be hard at right now, either critiquing, parodying, or god help us, setting it to music.

Pure Shakespeare

Click on the image for a larger view.

So anyway, that's your challenge, Harve - you cast your academic eye over this work of sexy genius, anyone else, feel free to set it to music - any tune will do, so long as it fits.

Pipi offers Huata bonus of $60,000 - New Zealand news on Stuff.co.nz

The public speaks....

A few weeks ago I nearly posted about how the public appeared to swing in behind Dr Brash when news of his alleged affair broke.

I checked back with the Stuff site feedback page today & those dirty fickle public have just as quickly swung back out it seems.

Some nice letters though, one of which I've copied below.

According to Don Brash there are no Maori living in New Zealand. You're either 100 per cent Maori or your are what? Pakeha? Or maybe just an 'ordinary' New Zealander.

Next time people get excited about Maori crime, or moan about the increased use of the Maori language, you can all feel a lot happier knowing it is in fact New Zealand crime and the New Zealand language. No more Maori means no more scapegoating, because you can't have it both ways.

Yvonne Berland

Your say: Brash in hot water after 'evil' comments - Have your say on Stuff.co.nz

Winston gets a bit of stick too.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Oh Shit, It's ON!!

I stole this concept from the OutlawVern, it's the "Oh shit, it's on!" moment. Vern was describing that special moment in movies, where events progress from the planning stage to the in-too-deep, point of no return. Typically occurs in a caper or heist movie, but the moment can be adapted to many situations.

This post has nothing to do with movies. Oh wait, yes it does!

This is to commemorate the moment 5 minutes ago, weeks after it was solicited, following 3 emails, the last one not sporting my address & phone number, but a message along the lines of

"This is the 3rd email I've sent you, you useles cretins, in as many if not more weeks, and no-one has yet called me back to arrange an installation time. My subscription number is: xxx. And by the way, morons, there is no "Subscribe" button to press, as your instructions state."

And today, out of the blue, they called me back!

Yippee, we're getting MySky installed! Let's hope that dickey satellite manages to stay in orbit now.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Today's Out-on-a-limb Political Prediction

I was going to go to town on this, been mulling it over for days. But feck, I'm lazy (and confidentially, I really have work to do & I've just had fish & mash, and two beers for lunch). So I'm just gonna blurt it out so that when it comes true, you know you heard it here first.

The next Prime Minister will be Dr Pita Sharples, John Key will be deputy.

Once your hearts stop palpitating - remember, you heard it here first.

A Jabber of bloggers?

What's the collective noun for bloggers do you think? I know someone somewhere I can't remember suggested that it might be a "wank". I presume that person is not a blogger, and also that that might be a nice singular term for him.

Anyway, I lunched with a jabber of bloggers today. Even better, one of them picked up the tab (owe you again david). But curiously, not the one with a TVNZ expense account. What gives there?

Funny, it's a small town, and everyone knows everyone, and after the usual round of people mistaking me for Viggo Mortenson, the waitress came to take our order.

"Hey, you're all famous bloggers!"

I said, "Well I am, these guys are award winning bloggers, there's a difference."

She looked blank, so I said,

"You know, like the difference between Goodbye Porkpie & The Piano? one is fabulous & entertaining & funny, the other is worthy & won awards."

She looked blanker, possibly because she wasn't old enough to know either movie, so we ordered.

Now, I'd been looking forward to this, I had planned to treat this lunch a bit like an extreme sport. Extreme eating perhaps (see last post), and take one of the more life threatening menu choices, like the shanks, or the steak, or god forbid, the pork.

Sadly, due to circumstances beyond my control (not to mention bank balance), earlier in the day I'd experienced an emergency tooth extraction.

And so I was somewhat obliged to take a softer approach & I can report that the groper steak & mash at the Backbencher is lovely.

Meanwhile, deciding that we were in exactly the most appropriate place, and surrounded by these august gentlemen, I was really forced to ask:

"So... are they gay?"

For the must-need-to-know amongst you, they're just bi-curious, apparently, dedicated swingers though.

No, no, I don't mean the award winning bloggers.

And they possibly weren't telling the truth.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Test the Nation

We’d just finished the roast dinner – boned leg of pork, stuffed with chorizos, wrapped in bacon & cooked & served on a bed of extra thick fried bread… accompanied with extra crackling, chips, deep fried kumara & parsnip, with a scattering of grated cheese on top, salad & a dressing (lite)… Steamed pud (made with suet), with whipped cream & hundreds & thousands sprinkled on top. And a flake.

We settled down in the lounge with a post-prandial brandy or four, cigar, bacon buttie & chippies & switched on the TV.

Test the Nation – The Southern Cross Health Test…

We did quite well actually, surprisingly healthy for people expected to live until 2003.

lard - Synonyms from Thesaurus.com

Afterwards, Mrs llew looked thoughtful & announced that in future, we would stay right away from Saturated Fats.

"No problem," I replied, "I haven't been near a poolhall in years."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Mary English descended from Christ, Lycra clad Horomia cat-burgles Emails.

Great thread over at Farrar's

Bill "English" (not perhaps, his real name) engineers hacking of Brash's inbox to ensure that his children, descended from Christ, through his wife Mary, take over first New Zealand, and then the world, or;

Black-lycra-clad Parakura Horomia, silently abseils down the side of the beehive to Brash's office, downloads the contents of the hard drive onto a clever device given him by Helen Clark, and nimbly escapes the same way he came in.

Police called in over e-mails (David Farrar)

And that's the last time for a while that I venture into the world of political blogging. Unless something else amusing comes up. On this blog anyway, I reserve the right to go elsewhere & see how long before Russell Watkins calls me "commie scum"..

"but what about discrimination against the model"?

I am amused by this. A Madrid fashion show is weeding out overly skinny models in an attempt to portray a healthy image for women.

But Cathy Gould, of New York's Elite modelling agency, said the fashion industry was being used as a scapegoat for illnesses like anorexia and bulimia.

"I think its outrageous, I understand they want to set this tone of healthy beautiful women, but what about discrimination against the model and what about the freedom of the designer," said Gould, Elite's North America director, adding that the move could harm careers of naturally "gazelle-like" models.

To that I would say - what about the harm the model agencies have wreaked on naturally elephantine models?

Can fashion show organisers not hire who they damn well please?

Skinny model ban shocks fashion world - Stuff.co.nz

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Not the Political Blog Post

These are funny old times...

I try to avoid making political pronouncements on this blog. I do however, visit other sites now & then, to make a point, poke some fun, call the odd person a moron.

I have to admit to probably being a little bit left leaning in my political persuasion - but as one moron pointed out on another site just 30 minutes ago, in New Zealand, even the National Party is not "right wing". And even though that guy's a moron, I agree with that particular sentiment.

Anyway, that's not the point. The point is, that even though I consider myself, by & large, slightly to the left of centre, politically, that does not mean I always (or even often) agree with everything this particular government does, or condone how they act.

Or even like, let alone admire, some of the weasels in power (this goes equally for some of the weasels in opposition).

So here's the point...

Tasering Mallard (David Farrar)

Can I taser this weasel please?

No sudden moves, OK?

Plum Creek

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Few More Photos

Courtesy of Younger Sister.


No idea what this is about, auditions for How Green Was My Valley the Musical? Well, no matter.


The idle rich congregate on the Cote d'Azure in their day. Actually, it's probably Barry Island or somewhere less... the haunt of the idle rich.

Scenes from Xkeys history

Party central.

An old man & his dog

rest assured that I will get several emails telling me exactly what was happening in these photos...

... and the tech-fairy tells me that people are looking in from Crosskeys, how amazing is this web-thingey? Welcome, but don't believe everything I say, y'hear?

Friday, September 08, 2006

More Tall tales & True from the Legendary Past

You’ll all be pleased to know that my Mum emailed me yesterday to tell me which of those guys is my Dad. I replied that actually, I DID know, I was just being discreet with photos on the web. And that she’ll appreciate that when I get onto her side of the family.

Anyway, he’s the guy on the far right, without a helmet. Mum did tell me that’s because as a student, he didn’t yet own one. So there you go.

Lyndon & MarieUp next – this is one of the most extraordinary photos in the family album. It’s my paternal grandparents, Lyndon & Marie. They look awfully young here, and so I’ll hazard an educated guess that this was taken during the Great Depression. While my grandmother has on a lovely coat & gloves, my grand-dad doesn’t seem to own a shirt…

It’s OK though, their lot improved no end, so that by the time I came on the picture, my grandfather owned lots of shirts. Lots.

I don’t know much about Lyndon – I remember a fairly stern & reticent man, with a windowsill full of medication for his emphysema. He was the foreman at the local mine, a long standing town councillor, and the secretary of the Crosskeys Rugby club. Very well read, apparently, and probably a devout Socialist. He was often asleep when I was there, it depended on what shift he was working. Sometimes my grandmother would fill the bath & he’d come downstairs & bathe in front of the fireplace, while I watched Bill & Ben on TV. His father “Pop” lived in a house across the street, and was ancient, I only learned yesterday that Pop’s real name was William.

Lyndon had a succession of dogs which he’d rescued from the local pound, they all seemed to be called Sandy, and he spoiled them so badly that they were utterly devoted to him (and would tolerate no-one else), until their kidneys gave out from the treats he lavished on them. He’d occasionally travel on council business, and the dog would pine & starve itself until his return. He’d take me & the Sandy of the day to nearby Pandy Park, where he’d attend to Rugby Club business & I’d play outside. In fact, a mosaic of Crosskeys historical scenes was put on a wall at Pandy Park, and to one side was the figure of a man, with a cloth cap & his faithful dog by his side.

My mum says that he seemed a shy man at times, but he wasn’t really, and that he had a rod of steel in him (figuratively). There is a possibly apocryphal story about him disposing of the family cat when times were particularly hard. I don’t know the details, but the cat was bundled into a sack, and Lyndon carried it to the bridge at the top of the street & threw the sack & cat into the Sirhowy River, which flowed parallel to Tredegar Street, down past a row of allotments. Heavy of heart, he trudged home to find the cat drying itself by the fire. The cat lived for years longer.

Lyndon & Marie visited us in New Zealand (Marie came twice actually), but he seemed old & odd to me. Considering he was there to watch his eldest son die, I should not be surprised. He became a regular over the months he was here, at the Naenae Rugby Club, and the Naenae Hotel. One thing we noted, was that he seemed incapable of saying “No” to anything, and the story goes that his number 2 son, my uncle, experimented with how many pies & hot dogs he could feed his father at a rugby match, before he declined an offer. It was a lot.

Out & about with a new shirtI have many memories of Marie, she often looked after me when my parents were working. I thought all grandmothers were like her, but I came to realise they weren’t…. oh, and I should mention at this point, that she & Lyndon had a third son, who is only a couple of years older than me.

Marie was a clever woman, the sort who could do a Times cryptic crossword in minutes, she’d race my dad. During the war, she drove a forklift at a local munitions factory. At some stage, she discovered that the people she thought were her parents, were her grandparents, and that her aunt, who was “in service” in London, was really her mother who’d left town after being ditched by her boyfriend (he ran off to Australia). Because of that, my father & his brother would spend time in London with their grandmother. I suspect they were unusually well travelled in that regard.

Marie swore like a trooper. And drank like a fish. And I suspect that she was not entirely reliable. On being sent downstairs one night, by Lyndon, to silence a rowdy bunch of boys who were drinking & smoking & playing cards downstairs in the wee hours of the morning… She failed to return to bed, having had herself dealt into the game & a glass of sherry poured. She probably proceeded to fleece the boys of their wages.

When it came to dinner, she’d emerge from the kitchen & ask Lyndon what he would like. Then she’d go & start preparing it. Shortly afterwards, she’d emerge again & ask me what I wanted, and head back to start that, finally, she’d ask her son. And so she could be preparing up to 3 or more completely separate meals at any one time. She was not the greatest cook either, not that I knew at the time, I was quite old before I realised that chips should be crisp, not limp & soggy like shoelaces.

Marie survived her husband by a couple of years, but had suffered alzheimers for a while. Neither of them was very old when they died.

Oh... and one thing I forgot to mention, proof that my grandfather was kind to humans & animals alike... on our return to the UK after 4 years in NZ, within minutes of arriving at the old house in Tredegar Street, Lyndon, somehow knowing exactly what it was that his daughter-in-law had missed most about home, took me aside, pressed a few quid into my hand and said "Run up to the corner shop & get your mother some Kit-Kats."


Thursday, September 07, 2006

At the end of the shift

End of shift

Been meaning to post this for a while, but I don't have a scanner & only recently bothered Younger Sister to do the honours for me (thanks Sis).

One of these people is our father...

It's on the hillside somwhere in South Wales. Or as they say in those parts, on the mountainside... It's probably near the old Crosskeys Colliery at the top of Tredegar Street, where my grandfather toiled for many years underground, then my dad, for not so many years, and my uncle, for a few more years than him. My grandfather used to take me to feed apples to the pit ponies in the weekends sometimes. They were, I believe, all put out to nearby pasture when the mine closed.

Dad & Uncle were both mining engineers, and I'm guessing that this photo was taken during the university holidays, when he'd have been obliged to actually do some mining of coal.

There have been several family discussions about what the log with "SP" on it represents. I'd say for the guy holding it, it will represent fire & warmth later in the day - although coal of course, was the fuel of choice & every terraced house in Tredegar Street had a sizeable coal shed down the back of the garden.

Anyway, this was going to be about anniversaries & deaths, but Graham Reid comprehensively beat me to it... and anyway, that'd be depressing.

But here's a roundup:

I remember where I was when I heard JFK was killed - in the lounge at 8 St Mary Street in Risca Town, playing while grownups gathered round the black & white TV. Not entirely by coincidence, that's where I was the next day when the first episode ever of Dr Who screened.

I have no idea where I was when JFK Jr bought it though.

I was in the student union building at Victoria University, supping on a ale, when I heard Ronald Reagan had been shot. For those who came in late, the Gipper survived.

Dulux paint factory when John Lennon was killed.

Just arrived at a friend's birthday party in Mt Victoria when someone asked "Do you think it's true that Princess Di is dead?". For the record I didn't (and actually, for a long time I wouldn't have been surprised to find it was all staged to give her some time away from the press). But anyway, I commemorate the event each year by sleeping with a skinny blonde. It seems apt.

At home having the day's first coffee when the daughter came upstairs & announced that someone was attacking America. Scoffed derisively until I turned on the radio & heard the news of the World Trade Centre.

In the office with the radio on when they announced Steve Irwin's untimely demise. I wonder if I'll remember it next year?

And Update:

Not only did Mum email me to tell me which guy is my dad, but my Uncle emailed her to pass on this information. For those interested in the terminal details...

roger is on the right side of the middle row
cyril deight and tony jenkins i recognise but not the others
the writing on the pit prop (illegal firewood) is D5 the number of the coal seam
it was destined to be used to support the roof.
dad used to fetch home pit props sawn up for firewood
he was fined 2 shilling once when an over zealous pit top bobby caught him..

Fantastic! I hope to get more photos & stories from Uncle, who is rather a remarkable man himself, engineer, racing car driver, shark hunter... a man who broke his leg skydiving on his 50th birthday.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Discord & Rhyme

I’ve always thought it odd that of all the wonderful aspects of Japanese culture (Noh theatre, kabuki, origami, Beat Takeshi, Akira Kurosawa samurai films et al)… We in the West seem to have adopted sushi (wet cardboard wrapped in seaweed), and karaoke. Karaoke, is of course, Singstar without pictures...

And what is karaoke/singstar without a good helping of Duran Duran?

Yikes! Someone found out the hard way.

Ms Lisa at Ratpony

YouTube - Hungry Like the Wolf

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Is the war lost then?

I got two "invites" to some corporate events today. I wish I could say I got two "invitations". But that's not what they sent apparently.

And then I read this!

"Because it's invite-only, Foo Camp can be - and is - accused of being a clique"

and this!

"The thing to do is count yourself deeply lucky for scoring an invite and get on with it"

Public Address | Hard News - Foo Report

So is it all over then? "invite" is now a noun?

I saw V for Vendetta in the weekend. Great film. Terrific.

Who's willing to join me in the resistance then? I for Invitation!

At least he didn't say "cunt".

Some interesting musings on the inexplicability of the American film classification system: what gets a PG rating & what gets an R (one "fuck" gets the former, 2 gets the latter.)

Berardinelli used the word (not for the first time I'm sure) a little while back on his site & had some prudish readers complain. He's really gone to town this time.

ReelViews: James Berardinelli's Reel Thoughts

I remember the first time I said "fuck" in front of my mum. I'd have been about 15, we were both in the kitchen, she asked me what I & my friends had got up to the evening before.

I started off saying "Oh, we were just fooling around", but half way through I decided to say "mucking around" instead. A tongue twister ensued.

There was a moment's silence as we both realised what I'd said. Then she burst out laughing & said "you didn't mean to say that did you?"

I also remember the first time I heard my mum use the word, I was probably in my 30s by then.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Labour spending 'stole election' - Brash

Sweet Jesus, if we're going to have a new election, can we have some new politicians?

Labour spending 'stole election' - Brash

Brash calls for Clark to resign & call a new election.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Mouahahah! - TONI'S TAKE

Heh heh... Toni Tennille (of the Captain & Tennille fame) has a blog.


Ok... I'll get off the topic of "soft pop" soon.

But not before major tributes to The Carpenters (very scary photo at end of link), and possibly Sir Cliff Richard!

No. I lie.

BTW - in soft-pop meets famous-last-words-news... are you aware that Chicago guitarist Terry Kath's last words were "Don't worry it's not loaded"?

Baby what a big surprise!

We know it's not the keys....

Sometime last year, the remote key, car unlocker things (by all means someone tell me what they’re called so that I can forget it before I next need to describe them) for our car stopped working. Both of them at the same time. I thought to myself “It’s not the keys then!”.

So I called the place that not only services our car, but specialises in its type. I explained the problem. “Probably the keys”, they said, “the batteries will be dead.” I explained that it probably wasn’t the keys, and why, and mentioned that the little indicator lights were working on them, so the batteries weren’t dead.

They were sceptical. I arranged to take the car in.

I dropped it off in the morning, they said it’d be fixed by lunchtime.

When I called later, they said they were still working on it & could I drop by nearer 5pm.

I dropped by at 5pm.

A man greeted me, he led me to the car, and apologised because the problem wasn’t fixed. He brightly observed that they’d made some progress though “We know it’s not the keys.”

They weren’t able to continue working on it because a part needed to be sourced. I’d need to bring it back in & leave it for a day or two.

Some months passed. I finally made a time to take the car back in & get the keys fixed. That time was yesterday.

I explained the problem again, cheerily noting that they should check their service records for whatever it was they did or didn’t do last time.

I rang them at 4pm & asked how it was going. “It’ll be another hour at least”, they said, “but it WILL be finished today.”

I swung by at 5.30pm. The car was parked outside, presumably fixed. A woman greeted me, she said, “Unfortunately, the car isn’t finished yet. But we have made some progress… we know it’s not the keys.”

A stern lecture ensued.