Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Music of the night #2 and Loose Change

Listening to: no music, just my house and TV noise.
Seem to be in a sequels thing here.
I think late at night, you're a little bit tired, your mind wanders a little, and maybe that song you're hearing opens your imagination a little more easily.
Lack of distraction definitely helps. Hence driving, lying awake in bed, being alone are all conducive to this.

Finally saw Da Vinci code the other day. Rated it about as highly as I did the book, which wasn't high....interesting ideas though.

Speaking of interesting ideas, the Hutt crew gathered at Stretch's place on Sunday night for our ritual spa/DVD evening. Fare for the night courtesy of D3vo was "Loose Change", an independently produced and internet distributed doco about 9/11 (google 'loose change' for more info). Specifically, that 9/11 was a government conspiracy, and that for example the Pentagon was not hit by an airliner, but by a missile, and that the twin towers were demolished by explosives rather than impact and fire damage. The doco appears to be well known in the right circles, semi infamous in the wrong ones, and appears to have something of a following
The idea that it is all some kind of terrible hoax is intriguing to me, and I was interested to see if I could be compelled by some sort of incontrevertible smoking gun irregularity into thinking it had some substance. Wasn't to be.
The allegations were at times bizarre, evidence irrelevant (and at times contradicting the point the filmmakers were trying to put across), and some 'facts' quoted that I know, well, for a fact are incorrect (like saying the A-3 Skywarrior is in service in the US Air Force. Umm, the A-3 was never in service in the USAF, being that it was a US Navy aircraft. The plane in the clip even had 'navy' written on it. The USAF did use a version of the A-3 known as the B-66, but they were retired long before 2001, and were different to the navy version referred to. This may not sound like much, but it is a very very basic error which munches the filmmakers credibility for an aviation interested person like me. If they haven't checked a fact as easy to check as that, what else have they assumed to be correct that is in fact not?) . Images, quotes and information were taken out of context, huge leaps of logic made. Their investigative methodology as presented, frankly, sucked. Overall I found it a bit amateurish, and immature.
I was disappointed. I was ready to believe, but was only convinced that the version of events we all know is what actually happened. Just about every point made had (for me anyway) plausible explanations that don't require coincidence or conspiracy....I'm inclined to believe in conspiracies in that I think they are possible, but have a high standard of evidence, so approach them with an open mind.
Still it did provoke some debate in the lounge, which is probably a good thing, and probably the film's ultimate intention. Definitely not a waste of time and I'm glad I saw it, so thanks D!
PS I think the coffin nail in the 'missile hit the Pentagon' theory for me is that while dozens if not hundreds of witnesses have said they saw a 757, business jet, or some kind of aircraft hit the Pentagon, not one has said they saw a missile.....that and no-one has yet provided a good explanation of where the missing aircraft, passengers and crew are. There are ways to explain the seemingly unusual damage to the building that I can handle.
Thats my opinion anyway. Yours may differ, and thats alright. The saddest thing personally for me (apart from the ongoing worldwide consequences) about 9/11 is that I can never look at a Boeing 767 again without seeing one hitting a building. This matters if like me, you always turn to look at a plane you hear flying by......

Winter #2

Listening to: "Fair Go" money special on TV.
When you can see steam coming off your pee at the urinal you know its cold.
(girls probably won't understand this. Unless they're weirdos. But fellas, you know what I'm talking about.)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

I find this very cool

Listening to: 'Puzzle'-Dada
In fairness I should point out that the CD being listened to often has no, and is seldom intended to have, any relevance to the content of the post.
Coming at ya from the early-mid sixties, the one of the coolest paint schemes I've ever seen on a jet (for anyone who is interested, it is a Boeing B-47 Stratojet, the first swept wing bomber to enter service, used by the US as nuclear bombers and surveillance aircraft from 1951 to 1965). B-47s were never camouflage painted, but this is fairly non-standard as colouring goes. They were usually just plain unpainted aluminium with white undersides. In all fairness this one isn't being used as an operational bomber (the caption says it was used for 'airways and communications development'). No sane crew would want to go to war in something that loud. It's cool because its really unusual, and you wouldn't see anything like it nowadays. The B-47 is also significant historically. It was the first time a swept wing was combined with podded engines that hung below it. This led directly to the Boeing 707 airliner, and eventually to the 747, which changed the world somewhat by making air travel faster and more affordable for the masses. Plus its a cool looking jet. Very elegant. I like its lines. Pity it was designed due to a need to be able to (if necessary) turn large bits of the Soviet Union into radioactive ash, but that is beside the point.

This is also cool.

South Island at sunset from the end of the Coast Road, Wainuomata, about a month ago. I like sunset. It is my favourite time of day.

The ghost car of State Highway 2

Listening to: 'Fumbling towards ecstasy'- Sarah Mclachlan
Alongside State Highway 2, just past where the old road branches off to cross the river into Silverstram, and the new road continues on to Upper Hutt, is Keith George Memorial park. It is a piece of land gifted to the government for preservation, and is a good place to see regenerating and remnant native podocarp forest and bush. Anyway, it is handily placed to CIT where I did my undergrad study, and we would go there on Biodiversity field trips.
One of the trails runs parallel to the highway, about fifteen meters away. And on the trail is this.
It's a car. The first shot shows the front bumper (the shiny chrome bit). The second shot is from behind the right rear wheel (the wheel arch is visible). The photos are pretty blah as they were taken yesterday morning when the sun wasn't shining, and the overhead vegetation is kinda thick, so it was very dark for my poor digital. I took some proper film shots which will probably come out better.
I first saw it in 1999-2000, and its condition has deteriorated somwhat since then. I went back yesterday to see if it was still there. When last seen the front of the car was still relatively intact (it has now rusted out and collapsed forwards), and there was still something of a windscreen frame and roof, enough to identify it as some kind of sixties sports car.
When I first saw it it had clearly been there for some time already (notice how the small trees have grown around it). How did it get there? Why was it never taken away? Who did it belong to? It was fairly intact once, so would likely have been repairable after whatever incident put it in the bush. There must be an interesting story behind it, but right now it is a mystery.......

Monday, June 19, 2006

Crime Fighter

Still listening to H+C
On Friday I gave up my social life to fight crime. I would have rather gone to dinner with the posse though. On Monday I went home early from work because I wasn't fully healthy. Anyway, on the way I saw some potentially dodgy guys doing some potentially dodgy things, so I phoned it in. A few days later I was asked to provide a witness statement. Which I did after work on Friday, and which took way, way longer than I thought it would.
So thats where I was instead of dinner with fun people, which I had been looking forward to all week. Fishy missed out as well, due to my crime fighting ways.

Fridays thunderstorm was fun. I got to add to my collection of "Lightning strikes I have been very very close to", which I define as less than a mile away. The collection numbers half a dozen or so. From that distance thunder is more of a crack/bang than a rumble, which certainly gets your attention.

There is more lightning around tonight, but it is miles and miles away.

Music of the night

Listening to: 'Cut', Hunters and Collectors
Music works better at night I have decided. I'm trying and failing to define the clarity that music has in the late night/early morning hours. It's raining, a soft steady rain of the kind I like to go walking in. I would go now but it's 2:15am, and the last time I went for a walk in the rain at this time of night I was subjected to slow drive-bys by three different police cars. I like late night rain when there is no wind. It softens the night. I like walking around when the only noise is the rain on the leaves, water in the gutters, and the sound of my own footfalls.
Anyway, I was talking about music. I think. I like how late late at night, your mind can wander, and how a random song on the radio can open the gate, so to speak. Stuff just has more atmosphere at night.
Not sure where I am going with this. I'll be up very late at night a lot this week (working a week of nights) so I'll subject this idea to some development with the aim of clarifying it enough to define it.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Psyche me up baby

Listening to: "Live from Mars"-Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals
My favourite psyche up songs that I can think of right now in no particular order:
Caution:Some favourites may have been temporarily forgotten, which in no way diminishes their status. List is not definitive.

Glory and Consequence-Ben Harper
Love the up and down riff, the restrained but vital drumming, the lyrics.

Gimme Gimme-Shihad
The massive grinding wall of sound by the final chorus. Nuff said.

Sabotage-The Beastie Boys
It builds like a wave, then breaks all over your speakers. Impossible to sing along to without nodding your head.

In My Tree-Pearl Jam
Drums. Drums. And more Drums.

Everlong-Foo Fighters
Probably one of my favourite choruses ever. Drumming on this track kicks.

Mr Self Destruct-Nine Inch Nails
Noise is good.

Dirty Beats-Roni Size and Reprazent
Relentless. Starts hard out and never lets up.

66-Afghan Whigs
Starts slow and quiet, finishes loud and noisy

Black Dog-Led Zeppelin EVER. Makes me want to air guitar.

The recurring held guitar note in the bridge. Gnarly

Open up-Leftfield/Lydon
"Burn Hollywood burn"

Great riff. Short and sweet.

I wanna be a nudist-Regurgitator
Haven't got a clue what its about but I love the Beach Boys on speed vibe.

I see red-Split Enz
Turn it up. No, louder.

Last Goodbye-Jeff Buckley
Such depressing lyrics. Such uplifting delivery and music.

My Family rocks

Listening to/viewing: Top 10 hair metal videos on C4 (!) Ah, the eighties.....
It's not just me. My family knows wierd trivia as well. Mum, Dad, my two elder sisters and I, plus Fishy and two honoured guests formed an eight strong team that beat nineteen other teams to take out the Waterloo Primary School fundraising quiz night last Saturday. For the second time running. My nephew and nieces attended, attend, will attend the school so we have a genuine reason for participating other than the glory of competition.
Last time, we endured a 9 question tiebreaker battle, followed by a solo sudden death showdown to take out the honours. For some reason I was picked as the solo combatant, and managed to answer a question about Harry Potter correctly, despite only having seen one of the films and having read none of the books.
Anyway, I'm digressing. We fronted again on Saturday, quietly confident, but with no expectations. The rival team from last time didn't show, apparently confidently expecting to win having smashed all comers in the Our Lady of the Rosary Primary School fundraising quiz, they were so piqued by their unexpected defeat they gave up quizing entirely (we have contacts who source this information for us....). Second after round one of eight, we were leading by round five, and had it so in the bag by round seven we could have not answered round eight. We answered round eight perfectly nonetheless and won the twenty team quiz by a colossal 10 points. We scored 70 out of a possible 82 (one of the rounds was worth 24 points out of which we scored 21). In short we rocked. Our guesses were educated. Our use of notes for communication faultless. Our wine, beer, and eskimos tasty. And our answers more correct than everyone elses.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Listening to: "10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1", Midnight Oil
All this snow down south has reminded me lately about the first (and until 2003 the only) time I remember playing in snow. I had played in snow before this, but don't remember it. It was probably 1981, when my family lived in Rotorua. I suspect on a whim it was decided we would go visit Whakapapa. I remember the Chateau. I remember we didn't get any further up the mountain because we couldn't get chains to fit the car. So we played around on the golf course in front of the Chateau. I remember wondering how they could play golf with a foot of snow on the ground (I was four or five). I remember how the snow would almost support you before collapsing. I remember the snow piled up on the side of the road and being surprised you walked through it rather than over it. It was a grey overcast day. The sun was not shining. My sisters and I made snow angels. It was cool fun. It is a nice little memory.

Surprising how relevant the above Midnight Oil album still is, 24 years after it was released. Sample lyric: "US forces give the nod. Its a setback for your country...". Things change and then they don't.

Other peoples problems

Listening to: "Things like these" EP, Breathe.
Introducing a new feature to Off-Black: "Listening to". I usually listen to CDs while blogging. It helps the thought process and also lets me keep track of the time.
Anyway, I was going to rant.
Two days ago in my work area, two of the guys decided to have a full on shouting match. As one is arabic and the other mumbles, no-one has as yet figured out what they were arguing about, as the yelling was unintelligible. Anyway, both stormed of in different directions. As a result of the sulking, the piece of gear they were working on was left unattended for a while. The work was supposed to be finished yesterday, so I could use the gear today. As it wasn't ready, the schedule was changed, with my work that was scheduled originally for tomorrow being moved to Sunday. Now I was going to work Sunday anyway (and evenings until Thursday) , but during the day. The schedule change means I have to work Sunday night. This entirely shafts my plans for Sunday night, oh and Monday night too, as I won't be able to organise work to get away from work for the time I was planning to.
So because these two pillocks can't be professional adults, I miss two games of Indoor Netball and a regular social engagement. Not happy at all. Oh and I did three hours of not-my-regular-job research work for a manager last week and didn't get so much as a thank you. Meh.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

My geekiness revealed

WARNING: this post contains jargon and geekiness. And shamefaced appropriation of a certain other blogs visual style.
I made a realisation the other night that I have progressed from being a mere modeller into an advanced modeller (not a model. entirely different) I mentioned in my 101 things that I make models. It is a hobby, even if practiced only irregularly at the moment, and an extension of my interest in aviation. Plus I can be creative in a manly fashion. You get a kit, consisting of pieces of moulded plastic, which you then assemble, paint, and add marking decals to.
I had this realisation working on my newest project, while converting an A-4 E/F (Skyhawk Jet) cockpit instrument panel into an A-4 K Kahu (the ones the RNZAF retired in 2001) panel, by building my own MFD's and a HUD out of plastic sheet. This is all in 1:72 scale, which means the finished plane will only be about 17cm long. The instrument panel is less than 1cm across in this scale. Once I used to just build straight out of the box, paint and I research, detail, accurise........I am becoming advanced.....its all about details now. This is one of the subjects I seldom discuss at parties (see item 37 on the 101 list). I am a hopeless nerd.
To illustrate my point: Below is another Skyhawk I recently customised from a basic kit into something somewhat more detailed and accurate. Got the decals on trade-me. Carefully researched the colour scheme. Cut up the wing slats (the camouflage bits in front of the red bits) so they hung from the front of the wing correctly. Built parts myself. Used bits from another kit. Used detail bits from a specialist. The model is about 17-18cm in length.
At top is a Hunter I built for my Dad as a Christmas present. It is 1:32 scale, about 43cm in length, which gives you an idea of how big the base is. The custom made perspex cover for the custom made by Fishy's dad base is even more impressive, and cost at least twice as much as the model itself. This one was my first 'commision' and was kind of special as Dad had a connection with the specific (serial number wise) plane modelled. He was happy and that was cool.
Thus my semi secret hobby is revealed.
Disclaimer: By the way, if anyone is wondering, I am not intending to in any way glorify weapons or warfare by building these things. If weapons are used in anger they have failed in their primary function, which is deterrence. War is bad, really bad m'kay? In the meantime the associated and often historically significant gear makes very interesting subjects for those with a replication bent. I am only making this statement so I am not associated with those gung-ho types who need to get out more often and think warfare is somehow cool. Interesting yes, cool no. Don't mean to be defensive but I just wanted to pre-empt any negativity.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Roadtrip post in 'actually posted' shock

(Music: A day away-Shihad)
So anyway, as Fishy and Not-Kate, and Morgue have related, some of us Hutt types plus an honorary ‘Hutt person for a day’ (yes Not-Kate I am talking about you!) went on a roadtrip of sorts to celebrate the Queens Birthday holiday. I confess it was my idea. I thought, rather than just laze around on my day off, why not do something. I decided to go to the Wairarapa, despite my publicly stated disdain for the region, to check out a few things. Like maybe the Stonehenge. Or Cape Palliser. “Hang on a minute!” I can hear my army of readers cry, “The Wairarapa is not the Horowhenua. It is not as the others described it. It has no windmill. It has no fox town. It certainly has no Levin!” And they would be right.
I decided to go to the Wairarapa midweek. I sent out a shout out to the regular crew to see if anyone wanted to come with. I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of people did. A plan was tentatively planned. By Saturday it was altering as bad weather loomed, by Monday it was ditched as bad weather arrived. It came to consist of one word: ‘north’. And lo we did venture north on a cold winter’s day.
The others have covered the guts of it pretty well. I’ll delve into the stuff they left out. Like why, as we approached El Rancho, was a police car leaving? Apart from that, the place was pretty much as I remembered it from the 80’s. Due to the number of people, we were in two cars. Those in the fishtank got the ambience of glorious company; those in my ride got the better stereo. Morgue was stoked to hear the ‘new’ Nirvana single a couple of years late, which up to that point he had not heard. We made plans at Waikanae. A seat rotation was established to swap people between cars. Not Kate resolved to show us the delights of her hometropolis Levin. The backroads of Waikanae were aimlessly explored. SH 1 was rejoined in a glorious wheelspinning drag launch for D3vo’s benefit, after which we stopped to let the others catch up. Which they very quickly did, so quickly we didn’t notice. We caught up at Otaki, where the outlet shops were also aimlessly explored. Levinotron was decided on as a venue for lunch. After exploring the slightly sinister statue (I don’t know why he is sinister, he just is. What is he cultivating? Why is his hoe so shiny? Why is he so tall?) of the market gardener. Then we tried to have lunch. Morgue was unenthused, Anna was confused, D3vo was forgotten, and then mistaken for someone else, and I got ripped off. Fishy alone had a proper dining experience, even if only in the sense that she got what she ordered on time. Leaving the chaos behind, and quickly visiting the windmill, we went to Foxton beach to commit science. And science was committed. It wasn’t the spectacular erupting science we had hoped for, but it was fun science. After the science we arsed around for a bit in the bitter cold. Sticks were thrown at other sticks. Larger sticks were hurled. Litter was killed. Delicate and at times perilous balancing acts were performed. Stuff was written in the sand.
Returning to Levin, we were taken to Not-Kate’s Dads place, and treated to coffee and biscuits by her stepmum. Finally, as the day was waning , we had accomplished all we sought out to do, and we had other places to be, home was sought, via a brief post sunset soiree at the Paekakariki Hill lookout.
Words for pictures
Top left: The fishtank warps out of Otaki
Lower left: Market Gardeners. Sinister
Right: Crew arrives at Foxton Beach, science on their minds. Colder than it looks.
Bottom: This science brought to you by Diet Coke and Mentos

Thursday, June 08, 2006

roadtrippin with my five favourite allies.....

Still writing in my head. Have some of the photos back. One or two will be used for publication. Muahahaha


"air is grey and the fires are burning" etc etc.
In May one can sort of pretend that it isn't really winter, the memory of summer and autumn is still recent, like a fading sunset.
In June the fact that it is winter is inescapable. Get up in the dark, just about come home in the dark. Clear blue skies mean frosts and cold. In summer after netball or soccer my drink bottle is empty before I get home. Now I barely have to refill it after two or three games.
I do like some aspects of winter. I just can't think of them right now.

Netball overload

I never thought I'd say this but I am playing too much indoor netball at the moment. This realisation came slowly, but once noticed it is impossible to deny. Three teams/games a week was always my goal, in keeping with the moderate exercise three times a week ethos. But it is really hard to sustain, and now Fishy and I have realised that we are over commited. Once we have seen out this season we will be retiring from one of our teams. Not the Monday one. That one is non negotiable as long as we're wanted in it. It's not a retreat, more of a strategic withdrawal.
I will admit, the last six months of playing first superleague, then more social has left me leaner, fitter and more skilled. At times I am playing in the form of my career. Other times I am just average or rubbish. But I am not having as much fun, and running the risk of taking it all way too seriously. I'm getting injured more, and starting to develop long term strains that only get fixed by resting. Also spending too much money and too much time.
I want the fun back. Cuts will be made. My sport/life balance needs adjusting.
Don't get me wrong I love my sport. I'm just getting a little jaded right now.
That said, Monday nights game was absolutely kick-arse. My Monday night team is the most fun one I've ever played in. There are no superstars, it is a teams team. Everyone had a blinder on Monday and it rocked. And we beat a team that I have filled in for, and frankly thought we would have trouble defeating. I'm not sure if they reconised me, but it was fun.
Tuesday nights come from behind win involving having more composure than our opposition was also nice. Also Fishy shot 100%, doing it so efficiently that almost no-one noticed.
I won't mention Wednesday, on the premise of having nothing good to say about it, apart from Fishy playing solidly as usual. Didn't enjoy either of the games.

Why I don't talk about my job

Primarily because I don't want to be defined by it. I have a different than most, interesting job, but it is more something to sustain my lifestyle than an all consuming passionate career. Besides, when I tell people what I do for a living, I usually spend the next five minutes explaining it, apart from the maybe one person in ten who actually knows what I'm talking about. That gets old very fast. I have seriously considered having cards made up to do the explaining for me.
The other reason I don't talk about it in this forum is that I am not supposed to. Last week we had an email from corporate HQ reiterating our media policy. It was mostly standard guff, but the interesting bit was at the end. The gist of it was "No ________ ______ employee is to discuss ________ ______ products or practices with the media, journalists, the general public, or in email, chatrooms or blog" (My emphasis. "Blog" is a direct quote, I thought the more formal "weblog" would be used in an official communique, but there you go.).
Thus I won't be talking about work much here. I wasn't going to anyway, but now it is officially mandated.
Suffice to say I work in _______ ___________, producing ________ for the _____ ______ market, both locally and globally. My job involves _____ ______ in a ______ ________. It is not _______ as most people assume. Neither is it ____ _______. It generally requires tertiary study in at least ___________, and ___________.
It requires a range of disciplines and knowledge. The best analogy for it that people can relate easily to is _______. The principles are very similar, with a slightly different application.
So that's what I do between weekends.
Also, those of you that do know what I do, please don't blow my cover. I am not here, and neither are you.....

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Road trip under construction

I am working on my summation of yesterdays adventure, but I'm too tired to go into it right now.
In the meantime, ponder these thoughts.

If you could see every image of every kind recorded of you ever....what would you see? Would you learn anything?

Whatever happened to New Kids On The Block?

What if ghosts are real, but just look like ordinary folk? How many people do you actually interact with everyday compared to how many you see? They could be everywhere....

When Bryan Adams recorded "Summer of '69" in 1984, 1969 was closer to 1984 than 1984 is 2006. Still a good song.

Does anyone actually watch the talking heads buildup to big sporting events on TV?

Just wondering.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The 100 things project: 51-101

51. I make a point of ordering the local beer when dining out at foreign food restaurants.
52. I play indoor netball. Sometimes well, sometimes not. I suspect I am either not as good, or better a player than I think I am. I compare myself to other players too often, usually in a negative light. I also argue with umpires too much.
53. I was fairly physically uncoordinated as a teenager.
54. I enjoy playing pool, to a reasonable level of skill I believe.
55. I am very competitive if I think I can win.
56. I swear a lot, but can clean up my speech and talk proper as required.
57. In spite of fact 39, I am fairly confident at public speaking, provided I know what I am talking about. This surprises people, most notably on my wedding day where I have been told people were surprised to hear me speaking so confidently, and also that it was the most people had heard me say at once.
58. Again in spite of fact 39, I will happily do Karaoke if I am in the right mood, like the song and know all the words. I include REM’s ‘It’s the end of the world as we know it’ in my repertoire. This impresses people for some reason.
59. I am a legendarily fussy eater.
60. I would like to play guitar, but my fingers are too big. I can play single notes on a harmonica.
61. I hate horror movies. There’s enough real horror in the world without having to invent any more.
62. I love my friends even if they annoy me sometimes. I don’t express that enough.
63. I love to travel. I don’t do enough of it.
64. A couple of kilometres in Northland and Canterbury aside, I have driven the entire length of State Highway one. I have travelled all of it.
65. I love driving twisty turny roads in my roadster. I am not a hoon, and do not take risks when driving. I will drive quickly but not dangerously. I find it clears the mind wonderfully.
66. I am a poor passenger. I have refused to travel in peoples cars because of their driving ability. This and fact 65 are inextricably linked to fact 14.
67. I spent 12 days at sea on a ‘Spirit of Adventure’ training ship voyage when I was 16 and loved it. My most favourite memory of that is the ship sailing on a lean, with me on the yard folding a sail 10 metres above the deck, with one end of the yard pointing at the sea and the other at the sky.
68. I love in-jokes.
69. I hate toilet humour
70. I have in the past fallen in love with someone I shouldn’t have fallen in love with, like the Buzzcocks song goes.
71. There are 20 assorted trophies in our house from many years of indoor netball and soccer. They gave them out like lollies a few years back.
72. I worry too much. I try to prepare myself for the worst that can happen, but that backfires and I start thinking only of the worst that can happen.
73. I sleep on the left hand side of the bed. My wife and I used to swap at different houses depending on where the door was. She has a thing about earthquakes.
74. I love that picture of Wellington Harbour with the high rise buildings reflecting in the sea.
75. I occasionally play Indoor soccer. I used to play real soccer when I was at school. I’m not very good at the indoor game and prefer to play goalie full time where fact 52 helps out.
76. There is a significant amount of military in my family. My father served in the Air Force. My wife’s brother in law is in the Air Force. My wife’s parents are both ex-Army. My wife and her sister used to be army cadets. My father’s brother fought in the British army in the Korean War. My father in law fought in the Malayan conflict in the fifties. I have two cousins on my mother's side buried in France from the First World War. My plan was to follow my father, but fact 49 got in the way.
77. I have no famous relatives. My most famous ancestor is a Constable Kiely, who was in the first group to enter the Tarawera area after the volcanic eruption of 1886.
78. The most famous person I have met is Keith Quinn.
79. I often have internal dialogues.
80. I can get quite drunk without outwardly appearing to be so. This worked against me on my stag night. This occasion is the only time I have seen double as a result of drinking. I thought it was a myth until I experienced it first hand.
81. No matter how drunk I get, I don’t appear to suffer from memory loss. I can remember all the drinks consumed on my stag night. 5 beers, 3 sakes, 1 southern comfort, 1 Jaegermeister, 1 chilli vodka, 2 tequilas, 1 Kahlua, 1 depth charge (Drambuie in Guinness).
82. This sometimes means I can remember things I’d rather forget. Like pouring my drink on the floor when the girl I’d been spading for an hour asked me the time.
83. When I sing along to songs, I often sing along to the backing vocals rather than the lead. I also hum basslines or drumbeats.
84. I have seen the image on a cinema screen bubble and burn up like in the movies when the film gets stick in the projector. I thought this was also a myth until I saw it. The movie was ‘Beyond the Valley of the Dolls’, for the record.
85. I often drink coffee when out, but never at home.
86. I have a signed photo of a famous Soviet Cosmonaut.
87. The first tape I bought was ‘Diesel and Dust’ by Midnight Oil.
88. The first CD I bought was the single of ‘Prayer for the dying’ by Seal. I bought it for the acoustic version of ‘Crazy’ that was the B-side. The first album length CD I bought was Cold Chisel’s greatest hits collection ‘Chisel’.
89. I am only a happy dancer when dancing to fast electronic music. At all other times I feel awkward and clumsy.
90. I can grow a beard faster than anyone I know.
91. While my hair is dark brown, my beard is red. It is either Irish from my mother’s side, or north east English Viking from my father’s side.
92. I hate shaving. Beards have their irritations as well. It is a fine balance.
93. I have very pale skin. I don’t tan, I burn.
94. I love a good music video.
95. I don’t gamble.
96. I am not overtly religious. I was raised Catholic, and retain a belief of sorts in a supreme being, but find the trappings of organised religion stifling. I still go to church occasionally but it doesn’t do anything for me. I live by a set of morals which are basically Christian. I try to do the right thing where possible. I love the diversity of religion worldwide, but it frustrates me that it is the source of most of the world’s conflicts.
97. I think it is more likely than not that alien life exists elsewhere in the universe. Unless we or they develop faster than light travel however, we are unlikely to encounter it. Space is too big.
98. I am open minded to the possibility of conspiracy theories. This does not mean I believe in them. There has definitely been a cover up of sorts over UFO’s. I don’t believe the moon landings were faked.
99. I find creating ‘favourites’ lists difficult. I find it hard to choose.
100. I don’t have a fear of heights. I have a well developed fear of falling however.
101. I have never been very good at maths. I did sixth form maths twice, and even then could only improve from a 6 to a 5. Luckily I married a maths teacher.

Friday, June 02, 2006

100 things about me: 1-50

As I thought, this is kinda hard to do. Thanks to the lovely Fish and not-kate for suggestions. Aside from maybe fact 1, they are not in any order of significance.

1. I’ve been married since 2004. My wife is the centre of my world. See here for more.
2. I have two daughters.
3. We no longer have pet rats.
3. I have an ear piercing.
4. And two tattoos.
5. I have a few scars here and there. The most prominent one is on my chin, which required 7 stitches to close it up after a bike accident when I was 14.
6. I am of English and removed Irish descent.
8. I am the youngest of three siblings.
9. I was the only boy.
10. I drive a red convertible.
11. I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.
12. I am unable to do the thing I most wanted to do when I grew up for medical reasons.
13. I have been on a TV game show. I was also on a human nature type show when at primary school.
14. I probably should have been killed or seriously injured in a spectacular car accident in 1995. I walked away without a scratch. I used to think that had no effect on my outlook, but now I think it has in subtle ways.
15. I enjoy pub quizzes, Trivial Pursuit, all forms of quizzing as entertainment. I have been referred to as a ‘fountain of useless information’. I am handy to have on your team in any form of quiz.
16. I love that moment of realising you have been singing along to a new song, and realising that its a really good song, and discovering you really like it. I love that my next favourite song might be the next one I hear.
17. I read all the time.
18. I don’t read a lot of fiction.
19. I read more than one book at a time, frequently several. I read what I am in the mood for, and change books like changing channels.
20. I hate small talk, and am not very good at it.
21. I make scale plastic models, usually of aircraft.
22. When I was three I escaped my parents on the Picton Ferry. I was found hanging out with a bunch of Mongrel Mob members, having a great time apparently. The Mongrel Mob was also entertained, so it worked out well.
23. I like watching weather. I love watching a cold southerly approach, threaten, then roll across Wellington. I am often asked for weather predictions. I believe in Billy Connolly's dictum that there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.
24. I enjoy extreme weather. I will happily put on my raincoat and go and find a good spot to watch a thunderstorm.
25. I enjoy casual stargazing on dark nights. I can do this for hours. I love the night sky, and have a fairly good working knowledge of it.
26. I mistrust mass media.
27. And advertising. Inevitable consequence of studying sciences at a tertiary level
28. I seldom take things at face value.
29. I have had an unexplained encounter, so I believe in ghosts, in the sense that people are experiencing a phenomenon we have yet to understand.
30. I am open minded about UFO’s in that I think they exist. I don’t think they are necessarily alien spacecraft however.
31. I have a diploma in applied science that requires only a research paper to become a degree.
32. I have landed an aircraft at Wellington International Airport. Okay so there was an instructor ready to take over at a nanoseconds notice, but my hands and feet were on the controls, and I was flying the plane.
33. Learning to fly is a long term ambition.
34. I love flying, but get airsick if I don’t have the right medication handy. Yay Dramamine!
35. I work in a science based industry. That’s pretty much all I will say about my job in this forum.
36. I have been told my first words were “what’s that?”
37. I am interested in a lot of things. Not all of them I discuss with others, as they are too geeky or boring to those others.
38. I often listen to arguments on subjects I know more about than the participants, but don’t enter the conversation because I can’t be bothered convincing them I am right.
39. I am generally quiet and shy. I used to be outgoing and confident, but then I went to high school. I identify with ‘The logical song’ by Supertramp.
40. My quiet demeanour is often mistaken, I have discovered, for aloofness, arrogance, or a dislike of people I have just met.
41. I have trouble with trusting people and assessing their genuineness.
42. I love listening to and collecting music. I have around 450 CD’s, not counting self made comps. Less than 10 of them are burned. I have a thing for the whole package, and cheap CD’s aren’t that hard to find if you know where to look.
43. The most CD’s I have by any one artist is 28 by Shihad. The next highest is 25 by Pearl Jam.
44. The above aside, I have fairly wide ranging tastes. Cyndi Lauper sits next to Led Zeppelin and Leftfield in my CD rack.
45. To go with the above, I love a good live gig.
46. I love collecting concert t-shirts from gigs I have been to.
47. I also love weird, random, amusing T-shirts in general. I have a large collection and am somewhat known for it.
48. I usually carry a little green shoulder bag everywhere I go. Its contents vary, but usually present are a pocket knife, pen torch, band aids, nurofen, ventolin inhaler and nail scissors. You’d be surprised how often it comes in handy.
49. I am an asthmatic. While I have learned to live with it, that does not mean I despise it any less. It is the cause of fact 12, which is related to facts 32 and 33.
50. I don’t like talking about myself in a meaningful sense. It makes me feel vulnerable.