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

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 -

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