Friday, March 31, 2006


Thoroughly enjoying it - have now seen the pilot, and half of the 2nd episode.

It's fascinating to see the story arc progress to the outright carnage that is Serenity.

Pleased to see also, that Mal's shooting of the assassin mid "monologue" was not the first time, the pilot has a similar scene that is just priceless.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Missed by the diarists

Last week, two noted bloggers were looking for someplace nice in Wellington to enjoy a yarn & a coffee. One noted blogger pointed to a café in Woodward Street, outside of which, sat our esteemed Foreign Minister & a friend, enjoying a smoke & a coffee.

“Let’s try here” said the noted blogger, “maybe we can start a brawl with Winston.” The other noted blogger agreed, but expressed disappointment that it wasn’t Russell Crowe.

“The wages of starjacking are much higher with Russ. Plus, we’d get to hang out with a movie star, however briefly.”

The two settled in, had their coffee & nattered inconsequentially about crimes perpetrated on the English language, mutual friends, and sundry wankers of their acquaintance. They also copped a quick look at the famous Miss Ten, who was completely unaware that two noted, yet pretty anonymous fellow bloggers were checking her out.

Afterwards, they sat back & watched our esteemed Foreign Minister, as he and his friend crossed the street to gaze at a (very) pinstriped, yet single breasted suit in a well known & quite expensive menswear shop window.

Turning, the esteemed Foreign Minister noticed the two noted bloggers regarding him with interest. He gave a broad smile, and a warm laugh. One noted blogger remarked,

“It would suit you”

The esteemed Foreign Minister laughed heartily, then looked wistfully back at the suit for a moment, and with a smile, his parting shot was,

“I couldn’t afford it”.

And laughing loud & long again, he made his graceful departure.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

To chip? Or not to chip? My 2c.

I personally like the idea of micro-chipping my dog & cats. I’m presuming that next time one of them goes missing, the SPCA will scan the chip & give me a friendly call to say they have my little Tiddles & could I go get him. Although theoretically, they can do that right now by looking up the number on the collar tag (for dogs anyway). In practise, I'm not sure they do.

What I don’t agree with is making micro-chipping compulsory on the grounds that it will stop dogs attacking humans. Um… exactly how will it do that?

A microchip is just like a plastic collar tag except that it cannot be seen, and it cannot taken out (very easily or humanely anyway) and put into another dog.

A micro-chip does not allow animal control officers to track the movements of dogs (as one journalist I read recently seemed to think). If a stray is found, it will have to be taken someplace that has a micro chip reader (vets, & SPCA typically have them these days), to see if it has a chip & if so who is the registered owner.

Because a micro-chip is invisible to the casual observer, dogs will still need a plastic collar tag as well. Otherwise how are animal control officers to even suspect a dog is unregistered?

The extra cost of chipping is not likely to encourage the owners of unregistered dogs to register & chip them. Quite the opposite.

Working dogs (of which farm dogs are a subset) currently command a lower registration fee than pets (so the notion of “one law for all dogs” has always been bullshit). Quite rightly too, so far as I know the fee is even tax deductible. If the chipping of working dogs is also to be mandatory, and I have no real problem with that, except I would expect there would also be a reduced fee. But when it comes down to it, I have a suspicion that the cost of these chips isn’t that different from the cost of a piece of moulded, engraved, coloured plastic, and so why shouldn’t the cost be absorbed as much as possible into already bloated dog registration fees?

But finally, I’ll go back to the question that is at the crux of the issue, and I’d love someone to answer it:

How will micro-chipping dogs reduce the incidences of dogs attacking humans?

Here’s a very good article (from, gasp! Investigate!) on the whole dangerous dogs thing.

And... UPDATE!

Because I've been over here ranting & even agreeing with most folk... here's what I think would be more effective than micro-chips.

1. Enforce the current dog laws - I have little confidence that the proposed laws will be enforced, because there is very little evidence that the current ones are.

2. Register the owner, not the dog. Shift the focus onto the owner. Treat dogs like guns.

Micro-chipping is a red herring. Although... I will be getting my dog micro-chipped. And all future cats.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I don't do theme parties...

When I was a teenager, at a party, I had this rule:

When someone started playing Ten Guitars... I would go home. No exceptions, even if it looked like I might finally score with a school hottie... 10 Guitars meant it was time to go. Fortunately, such was the frequency of my scoring success with the school hotties... I never had to face this dilemma. But if I had, I'd have been strong! Maybe.

I have other arbitrary rules though. Notably, I don't do theme parties. Well, not since the 1980s, when I went all out & attended a fancy dress party as a banana. It was a triumph! I retired on a high.

And I can't imagine why anyone would want to inflict the stress of a theme party upon their guests. For god's sake, if I wanted to dress up like... a pimp or a prostitute, have no doubt, I would indulge that odd desire.

There is one exception to this, I would attend a Zorro party in suitable attire. In fact, I think I've mentioned this before, but I've always thought that a Zorro party would be a real wheeze... one where everyone has to come as Zorro. And drink tequila.

Mrs Llew kind of agrees, except she thinks everyone should attend any theme party, no matter what the theme... as ABBA.

So anyway, the point of this is that a close family member has decreed that his 40th birthday party this weekend will have an 80s theme. I have no idea why, since obviously he was born in the 60s...

Should I conform, I have decided that my persona may well be The Thin White Duke David Bowie. Unless a really big suit lands in my lap, in which case I'll be David Byrne.

Or maybe I'll go as Zorro anyway.

But any good ideas? What would YOU go as to an 80s party?

Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi & the Traffic Cop

This is astonishing!

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Friendly Greeting

Hat tip to David Farrar

Monday, March 27, 2006

Today's mystery photo...

What the…?

No prize... I have little idea what it is either. Except that it did come off my camera, and is conceivably, a picture of the lining of my pocket.

While no-one is looking....

... I can raid the pear tree....

mmmm… pears

Click for a larger image...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Monday, March 20, 2006

A babe in distress...

A babe, underwear and er... a really big phallic symbol (I'd be giving it away if I were more specific). How can you go wrong?

The Skreeching Skraeling: A babe in distress...what to do?

Hat tip to Silent Running

I'm with Frank! Daylight saving all year round.

Opinion: views on the news on At the end of the day, everyone wins with daylight saving

Was going to y'know, actually write something about it, but Frank Haden has done the hard yards for me. And also, I'd never have known that daylight saving reduces crime & energy consumption! It's true!

There may also be four girls for every guy, but I haven't finished the article yet to be sure.

Oh, WTF, I'm going to say it...

I always assumed he was gay.

New Zealand's source for entertainment news, gossip & music, movie & book reviews on What the Kiwi gossip mags say

Friday, March 17, 2006

Geek Credentials Intact

After watching Serenity last week & thoroughly enjoying it, I re-established my geek credibility (is that oxymoronic? Anyway, I say re-established because for some years I WAS… well I hesitate to say I was a Trekkie, but I was a regular viewer of Star Trek the Next Generation – it may have been the Counsellor responsible actually, she could “feel” things. Particularly in crowded lifts. And then later… uh… I think I’ve abandoned grammar & punctuation at this stage of the post… I was an even more avid watcher of Babylon 5, which was cool. Very cool. And very cleverly plotted – the guy must have had several walls of flow charts to keep up with all the loose ends that he actually did, eventually tie up. Say, are there some brackets to close somewhere?…)

So uh… I re-established my geek credentials by giving into temptation & buying the Firefly box set. God knows when I’ll get to watch it. But I am looking forward to it.

In other random DVD musings, I also bought myself Rififi, a superior heist movie made in France in the 50s. Rumour has it that it influenced Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.

And in other merely random musings… We have tickets to the Stones!! Yay. Never seen them before, and let’s face it, in the 1970s & 80s when I might have had the chance, who’d have thought that they’d still be touring now? Actually, M is the biggest fan in our house. We wake up to the Stones (and INXS, Queen, & AC/DC) blasting from the teen room. We spend our evenings listening to her play Paint it Black on the guitar...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Calling all sponsors! Hellooooo!!!

Last weekend, amongst other things, we looked after my two young nephews, aged 6 & 8. They're pretty good. Although I challenged the 6 year old by, instead of saying "You can have a toasted sandwich", allowing him to choose his own lunch from the menu. Bacon & eggs on toast, which proved a challenge in the knife & fork dept. Big ups to the little guy though, he was determined to manage all by himself. And nearly did.

Amusement aside, that's why we have a dog & chose a lunch venue with an outdoors area... she cleaned up the overflow thanks very much.

It was a mad flap of a weekend though, netball trials for M on Saturday morning, pick up the boys, back into town for M & T, then out to SunnyO for a walk along the beach & an evening watching Wallace & Gromit.

The next morning was brutal. Brutal. We were up at 6.30am getting M ready for her first ever triathlon at Raumati. There was some faffing around to be done, so the boys & I dropped the girls off, then raced off to do that faffing. Got a text an hour later from T (who was the diligent support person) to say the M had come first in the swim section. Heh... this was a bit of a surprise as she'd only had two ocean swims in the way of practise. Apparently she emerged from the sea looked around & almost panicked when she saw no one near her & then it dawned... "Feck! I must be winning!"

By the time the boys & I got back, it was onto the last leg, the run. T had been watching carefully which girls from M's age group (13-19, and please bear in mind that she is 13...) had finished... and somewhat skeptically said "I think there have only been a couple so far...."

And then M was racing in & the crowd roared! And people were noting that that was the girl who won the swim section.

And so we waitied around for the prize giving, to see if we could find out if she came high up the rankings. And also in case we could score a spot prize.

Well... no prize, but to our astonishment she had come 3rd. On her first try. And the girls who came 2nd & 1st were not younger than 17, and seasoned tri-athletes (we've looked them up on the web).

And M was then quite the girl of the moment, with people coming to ask her name & offer advice like "You need to work on your transition" (shucking the wetsuits for biking paraphernalia & bike), to which she answered "I know, I know, but that was my first one, I'll be faster next time." we wait now with bated breath for the sponsorship deals to come through.

Show me the money! Or the sports car even.

Friday, March 10, 2006


Been a while since I mentioned any movies. Possibly because we haven't seen much worth mentioning.

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - Don't Panic! It won't matter if you miss it. In fact, we didn't bother watching to the end.

There was something else too.... um...

Be Cool - y'know, the sequel to Get Shorty. Let me say this again... Don't PANIC! it won't matter if you miss it. In fact, if you've seen Get Shorty, you've seen most of it already, since the makers seemed determined to retread every situation, joke, and character again. With one exception...

Every now & then a movie throws up a genuine surprise, that 3rd billed actor who might be well known, but who turns in a scene stealing performance that seems hilariously at odds with their usual image. And so, I give you, in the guise of a gay stuntman & standin, wannabe star with only one risible facial expression... The Rock!

Yes, the best thing about Be Cool (and that includes the disappointing dance scene with Travolta & Thurman) is the Scorpion King. Almost worth watching just for him.

But all that's unimportant. Yesterday I was quite sick & took the day off (fine now more or less thanks), and after enduring for most of the day, the nagging of a needy visiting tradesman... I finally got rid of him & settled back on the couch in front of Serenity, fully expecting to fall asleep a few minutes in.

I can't be bothered (and neither do I have the time) to find links for this post), but I have never seen a single episode (nor the original movie) of Buffy the Vampire Slayer - but I know grown men & women who swear by it. And in its absence, they worship at the altar of a TV show called Firefly written & produced by the same guy as Buffy, Joss Whedon.

Bear with me... Firefly is a western in space, imagine the universe that Han Solo & Chewbacca inhabited before they met Luke & Leia.

Anyhow, Firefly was cancelled after one season.

But lo! As happens, such was the demand, that Joss Whedon cobbled together money & support to make a movie in the wake of Firefly. That movie is named for the ramshackle spaceship, Serenity.

Phew, we got there.

So, Serenity, I had been told that if I hadn't seen the preceding series, that I would find it hard to follow, but that wasn't the case. Maybe enough fanboys & girls had explained the back story to me.

Serenity is an action packed, funny, thoughtful piece of work. To call the protaganists antiheroes, is probably understating - when we meet them, they're planning a bank heist (of sorts), and there's a priceless moment when the captain is quietly listening to a sinister assassin (as they say in the Incredibles) "monologuing", when the assassin comes to the part:

"I'm not here to threaten you, I came unarmed..."

"Good" says the captain, drawing his gun & shooting him. (He's wearing armour though & survives to do some threatening later).

I can't remember the names of any of the characters, except that the captain is called Mal, and the psychic waif they're protecting (who turns out to be somewhat more than meets the eye) is called River.

River can kick butt BTW. Seriously.

Anyway, I daresay we'll never see its like again. Hardly Citizen Kane in space, but it is well worth a look.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Yay! The census is upon us!

I'm always torn... hide out in the bush or row to the 12 mile limit & miss the whole thing, or diligently fill in the forms with nonsense to make my mark on this year's census.

Religion: Bacchanalian Reveller? None of this Jedi shit.

Ethnicity is the big one this year, a whole lot of people want to be recorded as New Zealanders... personally, I think Pakeha would be preferable to that, NZer is just a nationality, but the word pakeha does to me, evoke pretty much the same thing as NZ Euro.

In the interests of collecting useful information for the Dept of Statistics, I think we owe it to our nation to put something sensible & relatively accurate down. If we all put New Zealander, we might as well not ask about ethnicity at all. Then I think, we can get on to arguing about other questions, like gender.

There is a little nagging suspicion in (not just) my mind, that the people advocating New Zealander don't think that say 2nd, 3rd, or 4th generation Chinese say, are eligible. But maybe I'm wrong.

Technically, for me, ethnicity would be European (and don't anyone give me "but the UK isn't part of Europe!" shit.) Although I'll make a nod towards my adopted nationality & tick NZ European. Close enough.

Now, I hope no-one's jumped the gun & filled in their forms already! The whole point is to make this an accurate snapshot of tonight. What happens (as someone, perhaps at the end of the link below even, has mentioned) fills in the form & then dies before tonight? The whole census will be out by 1! You don't want to be responsible for that sort of fiasco do you?

Not that the census is necessarily that accurate anyway, go browse the last one at the Stats website, there are all sorts of anomalies, which can probably be put down to people not knowing which end their arse is at.

For instance, do you think everyone knows whether they own or rent their home? Who their landlord is? Get this, there are some 64,000 households residing in State Houses at present. The figure in the census, when it is published, will tell us that there are only about 55,000 or so. No-one knows why this is. There are bound to be other similar discrepancies.

And remember, when they come to pick up your completed forms, even if you live down a long winding zig zag path, at the end of a cul de sac, that no-one ever comes down, they will. So make sure you're wearing trousers & not smoking say, anything illegal when they can't find the front door & come around the back & surprise you. Not that that has happened to me of course.

Opinion: views on the news on Imagine a home where the Jedi can roam...

Monday, March 06, 2006

Reader assistance required.

2 things.

1. I need to get a guy pretty much 3 storeys up to the roof of my house to perform some maintenance on the chimney. There are some challenges:

The roof tiles are so brittle, that the solution must not actually touch the roof.

The chimney is some distance from the road (maybe 15 metres or so?)

$1000 and upwards for scaffolding for what is probably a 30 minute job when he's there seems outrageous.

Anyone got a novel soulution to suggest? I am looking into cherry pickers, but it'll have to be a big one.


2. Anyone know where to get a GREAT bacon sarnie in the Wellywood CBD?

Friday, March 03, 2006

Scenes from February

Da da da da da da daaaaahhh

THE Lawn

Da da da da da da daaah


Da da da dada da da daaaah

AN Island

Da da da daa dah....

Somewhere in the Bot

Da da da da da da da da da da daaah

Water hole inthe Bot gardens

Da da da da da da dah

A tree, I guess.

Da da da da da da dah

Sunset from the back porch

Da da da da da da dah

Moments later...

da da da da dah

Another Moment later...

da da da da da da


Wheeee diddle diddle dah...

Are we there yet?

Da da da da da daaah


Da da da da da da dah


Da da da dada da da daah

Come every morning

Da da da da dah

Filling up the hollows...

Da da da da da dah....

Bringing back the warmth to the ground...

February is a Quinn Martin production.

Wilma out the back

I will courier a Big Mac (TM)

Anywhere in the world

To the first person who can name the TV theme tune that I have transcribed above.

And who starred in it.

And where they are now.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

pink growlers netball team

Due to a staggering series of word related coincidences... I am no. 1 in the google search for:

pink growlers netball team

Way to go me!

And way to go my new reader from Stockport, England!

pink growlers netball team - Google Search

Just for Peter

Dedicated to Peter Quixote

Who thinks that this is the same photo just slightly enhanced each time I post it.

it's true.

Don't expect me to make a habit of this...

I mean, posting birthing stories. But this one made me laugh, and it's quite sweet.

A tribute to being prepared, even if it's all in vain.

"As I took a corner at speed on my way down the narrow, twisting hall to the bathroom, I carefully articulated a set of instructions loud enough for the boys to hear. Which is to say, I gabbled desperately: "Don't worry about the tub it's too late I'll be in the bathroom if you need me plug in the heating pad for the baby's clothes aaaaaaaaaaargh oh my god here we go again I think this might be it!""

"A small, perfect, bluish-purple baby somersaulted down into my hands and I laid him down on the bathmat, pausing only a second to wonder who had cleverly put all the dark towels into the birth room and left only the white ones in the bathroom. Oh, that's right, me."

"...the birth tub sat forlornly in the corner with about an inch of water in it for the next couple of days, until we siphoned it out the window."

Public Address | Busytown | Oops, I did it again

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Lovely start to the day (yesterday)

I'm on morning walkies at the moment, expect a few like this...

28 Feb 2006: 6.45am

Bend over & take it like a student!

Graham Reid over at Public Address has written a nice piece covering what you probably could & possibly would remember from events in your life. Or what most people could & would remember anyway.

I remember when I was caned at school. I think this was the only time it happened, because by & large, I was well behaved. I can't remember the name of the teacher who did it, but I can remember what subject he taught, and the circumstances that led up to it. And man, what a miscarriage of justice it was.

But Pontllanfraith Technical Grammar School, Gwent, South Wales, 1972. Metalwork class. The school was a redbrick institution & the teachers were given to swooping around the corridors in their academic gowns. I can't remember the name of the principal, but I do recall his DP was known as Jet (probably a Mr Jones, there were a few).

The metalwork teacher was a severe looking black haired guy with glasses. Generally he was OK. The class was full of light industrial machinery & tools, drills, lathes, that sort of thing. At the beginning of the year, the teacher made a big point of telling us that when we were using any of the mechanised tools, we must give the job all out attention. All of our attention. He would not be brooking any power tool mishaps in his class.

And so, whenever I was using a lathe (clumsily) or a drill (inaccurately), you could be sure that I was so focussed on the job at hand, that not only was there little chance of an accident, but I was also unaware of anything else happening around me.

One day, late in the year, I was drilling holes in an aluminium coat hook (as you do), when completely out of the blue, and unusually, as we were halfway through the lesson, the teacher began calling the roll. I was oblivious. Until... it slowly dawned on me that the class had gone dead quiet, except for my drill, and when I looked around I realised everyone was looking at me.

The teacher made some sarcastic remark. I figured out what was going on, apologised, but thought to myself "Hang on, I was doing what he told us." And then, with a wry smile to my classmates, I went back to drilling holes & concentrating on safe operation of a drill.

Something unexpected then happened. Unbeknownst to me, the teacher began calling the roll again. From the beginning. And sure enough, a minute or two later I became aware that the class had gone quiet again. I heard one guy, Geraint Lewis (for some reason I remember him) giggling. I looked up to see everyone's eyes on me again. I stopped the drill.

The teacher marched down the class, then marched with me back to the front. He then administered a punishment, not technically a cane, but I think, a steel yard rule.

And it wasn't the pain ... it probably didn't hurt that much anyway. It was the injustice. He caned me for following his instructions to the letter.

Bastard. I'll bet he doesn't remember it.

Public Address | Random Play | If your memory serves you well