Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Touting Dumbarses

"Hi there, have you heard of Barnardos?"


"Hi there, let me SHAKE your hand...... ...or not."

"Excuse me sir, are you busy?"


"What do you know about the Red Cross?"


"Sir, can I ask you..."


"Don't you want to save the world?"

"WTF? NO!"


Website ranks stupid holiday gifts

Hee hee... I reckon the Hillary Clinton nutcracker looks more like Ellen Degeneres

Website ranks stupid holiday gifts -

Court decision could shut out Team NZ

That's what I love about yachting, it's all about the captain, the crew, and who's got the best & fastest boat. A sport of kings.

Court decision could shut out Team NZ -

Yeah right.

More on the tree that did it.

This accident happened in Gore's Main Street (which hang on a mo' I'm guessing is Gore's main street), but it somewhat reminds me of visits I used to make to the deep south, a long, long time ago.

I was working for the coal mines at the time, my duties sometimes saw me winging to obscure provincial airports & then either being picked up by someone, or renting a car & heading into REALLY obscure parts of the country. Like Huntly, Westport, Greymouth and Ohai.

You've probably heard of all of those places except Ohai. Ohai's a tiny town about 50k north of Invercargill. There's nothing there but a pub & 5 or 6 coal mines. Or that was the case in the 1980s anyway. Back then there was a population of about 400. Goodness knows what it is now, but I recall that they were selling houses in nearby Nightcaps for $10 a few years ago.

What reminds me of these racers though, is a trip I took in a rickety old landrover driven by one of the locals, between Invercargill & Ohai. Once you're in the countryside, the route pretty much takes the form of long, long straight roads for miles, abruptly terminated by T intersections. As you approach each intersection, you cannot help but notice that directly in front of you across the road, is a massive tree.

The driver told me that loads of kids head for the big smoke each Friday, liquor up, and then drive at speed back into the sticks.

Every one of those trees and intersections, he told me, was responsible at some stage, for at least one high speed fatal collision - in the dark, it's easy to forget that a right angle turn & a big tree are looming up at 150km/h

I was wondering last night, as I did at the time, why they didn't remove the trees so that idiots would crash through the fences & maybe survive.

But then I figured they probably put the trees there to protect the fences.

Tree cops it for road death - New Zealand news on

Friday, November 23, 2007

New Zealand Photo Library - Houses

The things you find on the web. No. 8 is the house at SunnyO. Taken quite some time ago by the looks.

New Zealand Photo Library - Houses Page One

Voting now open in the Awas!

I'm so over old cows now. That was so 5 minutes ago.

Well mostly. I did find myself soaring over Carterton on Google Earth at one stage :)

But onto business - the voting has opened in the Second Annual Wellingtonista Awards - I probably should be putting all sorts of banners & badges on this site somewhere.. um... but I haven't read the instructions.

So click on the link below & get along & vote in the 20 catagories that make up the Second Annual Wellingtonista Awards! There is even a ceremony night! With celebrities & stuff. But it's oversubscribed aqlready, so maybe I needn't have mentioned it. Sorry.

Voting now open in the Awas! | the wellingtonista

In other news, I have some photos to post up at some stage, photos of the garden mostly - like our Laburnum March, which we're told is one of only two in the country, the other being at Larnach Castle. Anyway, it looks amazing, with long yellow flowers hanging from the the canopy that's grown over a long, what do you call it, pergola? , and photos of the sea, with whales underneath, not that you'd notice though.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Man, I'm a Sook

Still affected somehow by Ken Simmons & his cow. I think maybe what gets me is the cow clearly loves & cares for Ken as much as vice versa. Anyway, I sent them a treat for Christmas.

Meanwhile, in other cute animal news, we saw whales playing between Otaki Beach & Kapiti on Saturday. I'd have taken a picture, but when they were most visible & for longest I was under the misapperehension that they were a boat speeding away from us.

Not until we came across 20 or so people gazing out over the sea, did I discover my error. We did see them again after that, several times, but too quick for the slow old reflexes of my camera.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The old man and the cow - The Dominion Post

This story in the Weekend Post profoundly moves me. Basically, there's this 85 year old guy in the Wairarapa, who every day, leaves his retirement village & cycles 3 km to spend the day with his 38 year old cow.

Ken & his best girl, Silverside - Photo: Andrew Gorrie

Yes, 38 years old. He's basically keeping the old girl alive with the food he brings, because she's fairly toothless, and she produces milk (years after bearing her last calf) which he uses for custard & scones, it makes her feel she's doing something for him, he says. They spend the day walking the lanes, she grazing the berm, until in the afternoon she lets him know it's time to go home. He drops her off at a quarter acre section he owns for her & then returns to the retirement village where he entertains himself watching the documentary channel.

She's the last of a herd he owned decades ago, he sold all but two when he retired, the other died some 5 years ago.

I must be an old softie, this story chokes me up. Here are pictures with sound.

The old man and the cow - The Dominion Post

And here is a a slightly more comprehensive text version.

Coincidentally, my Mum visited in the weekend & told me a story vaguely reminiscent of this old guy & his cow - when she was a child, in the 1940s I guess, she & her family would climb the Welsh "mountain" above her valley, and visit her grandparents who lived miles up into the hills. Her grandparents had a donkey & they would take it and walk further up the mountain to an ancient quarry, where there was to be found a well-spring. The donkey would carry the water back.

Maybe 10 years ago, my mum was back in that village, and she mentioned to family there that the distant hillside looked different.

It transpires that they had filled in the old quarry, because the water feeding the spring posed a potential danger to the village below. Further, mum's informant happened to be one of the surveyors who worked on the quarry project. He told mum that they had found caves containing Roman tools & implements, so the quarry may well be REALLY ancient. But most interestingly of all, they came across the bones of the old donkey. I have no idea when it would have died, probably before I was born though.

These animals can be remembered for a long time.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Health concerns over BBQ fuel - What's wrong with this picture?

Health concerns over BBQ fuel -

Actually, I don't care what's in the briquettes, what's wrong with this story is this:

Mr Curran complained to Solid Energy Ltd, which imports the briquettes from China.

WTF are we doing importing briquettes anyway? The South Island is made of coal & we can't sell it all because no-one, other than China, is really burning it.

So why aren't we making our own briquettes?


OK, so I consulted this energy engineer I've heard of, and he basically tells me (very nicely) that I may* be talking through my arse.

Briquettes usually aren't made of coal.

* He wasn't going to commit.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sling Blade

Y'all seen Slingblade? If you haven't rush out now & rent it, it's great.

It's funny, last week I saw two movies with Billy Bob Thornton, one was an obscure film called U Turn, which has a most impressive cast - Sean Penn, Jennifer Lopez, John Voight, Nick Nolte, and of course Thornton, but is somewhat unsatisfactory. The other was Slingblade, which I have just remembered earned Thornton an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay (from his own play), and an Oscar Nomination for Best Actor (Geoffrey Rush won for Shine, bad luck that there werer two "mentally challenged" movies that year). Thornton directed Slingblade too.

Arguably, Thornton was robbed of the Best Actor gong, because his outing here is a tour de force. He plays Karl Childers, a simple man recently released from a hospital for the criminally insane (he axed his mother & her lover to death when he was 12), who makes his way to his old home town & befriends a young boy & his family.

Thornton is pretty much unrecognisable in the role, he's pretty much played Billy Bob Rogue in every movie since & possibly before, but for this one, he is Karl Childers, a man haunted by his past (not just the murders, but also having had to bury his prematurely born, and deformed younger brother alive, when he was around 6 years old.)

He talks in a funny voice, appending a thoughtful "Uh huh" to every sentence. Except for one marvelous moment, when the boy reminds Karl that the bible says it's wrong to kill people, and somehow, Thornton wrings a mighty Mississippi of regret & resignation from the "Uh huh" that ensues. Just magic.

No idea why I'd never seen it before, but I'm real glad I have now. We have debated at home, whether the ending was positive or not - I think there's a case to be made that it is.

There are plot spoilers in the wikipedia entry below.

Sling Blade - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Monday, November 12, 2007

3 Phase Power

There are many things in life with which I am unfamiliar - tripe, P, understanding Demi Moore's career success, to name just a few - and in the normal course of things, this is not a problem.

This weekend though, I briefly rued not having any idea what the deal is with 3 phase power.

This is because one of those phases stopped working.

And I still have no idea what that is about.

But anyway, when we bought our place, the vendor showed me a fusebox - one of half a dozen fuse boxes we have around the property, and proudly said "we have 3 phase power!"

I nodded my appreciation, and then filed the information away for future.

This weekend, we pretty much had everything going on - TV showing the netball world cup, spa pool heating up, oven on making pizza, dishwasher on cleaning plates in time for pizza, washing machine, clothes dryer...

And then it went all quiet & serene.

And the TV, oven, dishwasher, half a dozen hot points through the house, spa room & more, had all stopped working.

I checked all the fuses, - except for these half dozen, very scary looking 3 phase fuses - and they were all fine!

So I called our electician & left a message - I ran over the problem & asked him if he was able to check these big mothers & said to give me a call - it wasn't urgent because only some things were broken, and we could run extension cords where necessary.

A few hours later, someone noticed that everything was working again...

The next day, the electrician visited, because I'd forgotten to tell him it all came back to life, but he told me that it may well have been a problem outside of our property affecting only one of the phases.

I nodded my appreciation at this news, and would have asked for some sort of explanation, but he was in a hurry.

So. In 25 words or less, WTF is 3 phase power? And how can we lose power to some of the property, but not all?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Crowd attacks North Shore police with fireworks - New Zealand news on

All hail the North Harbour youths who put in a last minute effort to demonstrate that they're not too stupid to be entrusted with small explosives.

Should a ban ensue, I suggest you blame arses like these, not the so called "nanny state".

Crowd attacks North Shore police with fireworks -

Still waiting for Mr Plumber

Been two weeks now since I called them. I talked to the actual plumber first. He told me to call his office. I talked to the call centre that takes the calls & left a message.

Later that day I called back & actually spoke to the office. That's when we made the time for Mr Plumber to call.

Then I called back on the day when he hadn't turned up.

That's the last I've heard from them. Although I left another message with the call centre on Monday. It's now Thursday.

Oh, and I also emailed them on Monday - you can see their email form here - go for your life, I don't think they go anywhere - certainly no one ever replies.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Waiting for Mr Plumber

As part of a comtinuing series of whinges, here's my latest adventure in tedium waiting for that salt of the earth, the great New Zealand tradesman.

A few weeks ago I noticed that whenever someone is having a shower, or the washing machine is running, the toilets "bubble".

A quick shifty around with google told me that this is a problem in waiting, either a partial blockage of the sewer pipe, or a partial blockage of the vent.

I have a list of tradesman who have worked on our place over the past few years & I resolved to call the local Mr Plumber.

But before that, by coincidence, a friend & her fiance arrived to visit. He's a plumber. And so we consulted the garden plans & began digging for the sewer inspection pipe.

Eventually I found it. And the plumber guy started to help clear the pit I had dug, and he cleared right through an electric cable feeding the pumphouse (hint: No water at that point).

Anyway, he patched that up & I resolved to call an electrician - which is interesting in itself, I rang a company we shall call Peace Electical & told them I had a live & naked cable running half a metre deep under the lawn. They told me that was illegal & asked if the pumphouse had a switchboard. I said "yes". They said it was probably dodgy as the cowboys who installed it must have been cowbaoys because they left a naked cable under the lawn.

Later, I chortled as I read the "Installed by Peace Electrical" sticker on the switchboard.

But back to the plumber. The guy with me was showing all signs of being stoned - overt signs like rolling up a joint for a "top up", so I decided to forgo his services & expertise & ring Mr Plumber. Who probably installed all the plumbing.

He said he'd be there Friday.

I had many things to do Friday, including source a new axle for the mower & replace it. I made sure I was at SunnyO in heaps of time for our appointment at 1.30pm.

At 2.30pm I rang & enquired as to his whereabouts. The person in the office told me he was awash with emergencies & they'd call me soon to confirm the time.

That was last Friday. Today is Tuesday. I am still waiting.

In fact I've left a message & sent them an email.

And so it goes.

Meanwhile, a mate who is an electrican has come & fixed the naked cable situation.

MR PLUMBER - probably fantastic - if they turn up.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Return policy

Conversation at Sounds CD Store, Lambton Quay.

"Hi there, can I exchange this Talking Heads Greatest Hits CD please? Someone bought it about 5 minutes ago & what we really wanted was Stop Making Sense. But you don't have that, so can I exchange it for this Bob Dylan CD?

"Certainly. I'll just get you to fill in this return form."

"Sure. Which bits?"

"The bits I haven't filled in"

"You want my name, address & phone number? Isn't that like, an invasion of privacy?"

"It's our Head Office's policy."

"Why do you want it? Here's the receipt from 5 minutes ago - proof of purchase - are you planning to contact me or something?"

"No, no. It's just that our HO insist on these details."


"Because the CD you returned is no longer sealed. And you may have removed the seal & copied it"

"But you removed the seal before you sold it, and you sold it like, 5 minutes ago, can they be copied that fast? - I watched you just unseal that Dylan CD too."

"It's just the policy - no name & address, no exchange"

"Poo - OK. Rumpelstiltskin, Not That It IS Any Of Your Business - Wellington."

"And phone number?"

"pffft. Thanks so much. Insincere apologies for being grumpy."