Thursday, October 26, 2006
The really annoying thing about spraining an ankle or thumb or whatever isn't the pain or inconvenience, or the forced break from sport that is sometimes required (although that is annoying).
If your injury does not completely ground you, but requires some kind of support, it's having to do this, so that strapping tape can be used:
Which is way faster, easier and more convenient than any alternative when to comes to removing the tape.
Still annoying though. Takes ages to grow back.
While we're on the subject, here's what my right hand looked like ten days ago, after a strenuous bout of goalkeeping the day before (which also resulted in the sprained ankle mentioned above. Note that some shaving has also been applied to the wrist to allow easy strapping).
The bit in the square is definitely the wrong colour. In real life the bruising is red, brown and blue-black (the flash washes it out a bit). As Notkate will attest, after the bruising faded, I rebruised it a couple of days ago, so the base of my thumb once again is a funny colour.
Handy hints for easy removal of strapping/brace tape or sticking plasters:
1. Hair dryer. Heating with a hair dryer softens or melts the adhesive, allowing easy removal.
2. Alcohol wipes. If you have these handy apply them to the tape or plaster; the alcohol soaks through the fabric of the tape and dissolves the adhesive.
3. Shave before the tape goes on. Easiest by far.
4. If your masochistic, just rip it off. Messy and painful. Prolonged if you have a full crossover strap applied.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Apologies for the heavy image content, but I am in a sharing mood.
This is a stack of Smartcars in Railway square (apparently if you hire one in the central city you get free parking or something like that). If you look closely the second one from the bottom has a smiley grin marked on its dusty windscreen. I appreciate the effort that someone made to put that there.
View from my hostel window, Railway Square, Sydney.
The sky at 37,000 feet over the Tasman Sea. Air Travel is pretty surreal anyway, but the view out the window is the final touch. I love the colour of the sky up there, and the clarity. The deep deep blue you get when above most of the atmosphere (density wise at least) is entrancing. Would have shown up better if I wasn't shooting into the sun when I took these.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Some Sydney imagery
Thunderstorm approaching Taronga Zoo from across the harbour on Friday. A few minutes later it provided a brief but intense downpour, which was quite nice, as it had been very hot and sticky up until then. Lots of thunder, but no visible lightning unfortunately. I like dramatic skies.
When one is travelling alone, one tends to take self protraits of oneself:
On the ferry to Taronga, Sydney harbour bridge above. I thought I was smiling. Need to work on that. Note also scar and general lopsidedness of my chin due to a spectacular cycling accident at the age of 14.
At the airshow on Saturday, wearing Notkates design. (If you don't believe it is me, check the scar).
Richmond airbase, where the show was, is about 60K west of Sydney. I got there by train, and thus here I am at Central railway station on Sunday morning.
Ones mascots also get a look in:
For the last several years whenever Fi and I have travelled we have taken a small cuddly toy as a mascot/companion/lucky charm. They are also handy for personalising photographs of scenery and sights. Snoopy (last seen modelling my one glove here) was planned to have made this trip, but got left behind when I was packing. So I bought a little Kiwi at Wellington Airport
Kiwi on Sydney harbour. Much warmer than it looks.
The Kiwi was joined by a Koala at Taronga. Here they are in front of the Bambi cloning facility (cunningly disguised as a spotted deer enclosure).
Kiwi minding my other camera at the airshow while waiting for the flying to begin, Saturday. The dude with the black cap on was one of those who prompted my rant about inadequate clothing. His two small boys got well rugged up, but by the end of the day still in only t-shirt and shorts he was visibly shivering to the point where I was wondering if he was becoming hypothermic.
Kiwi emphasising the red soil of the airshow location, Sunday.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
The details make the difference when you are not at home.
-The soil is a different colour. Red mainly.
-Given that the earth is a different colour, so is the majority of the brickwork. So the houses are a different colour. And they mostly appear to have shades above the windows and airconditioning.
-Eftpos here is very new and novel. I have seen several signs, mostly handwritten, explaining how it works.
-Drivers appear to be more aggresive, yet safer. This is based on two observations. Horns are more prevalent here. But when I have driven here (a few years ago) it felt less at risk from other road users.
-The public transport in this city rocks. It is efficient and works and easy to use for a noob.
-Everything is on a different scale. There are no earthquakes here (the 1989 Newcastle event/abberation aside), so nothing limits the height of the buildings. The Sydney suburbs go on forever. Around the train tracks at least, tagging is almost everywhere, including some impressively dangerous locations.
-It is odd being an islander to travel west and know if I kept doing so the next ocean I saw would be the Indian, a few thousand miles away.
-Going to an airshow by public transport is a novelty. Previously I have always driven or flown.
-Also novel is entering the airshow by crossing the only runway.
Day two saw me use two more rolls of film, and pick up all the shots I missed yesterday. I also shared fence space with a cool Japanese guy with a grunty camera kit. Two Canon digital SLRs, at least four 16GB memory cards, a 400mm lens on one SLR, and a 200mm on the other. Moving between the two was a 4x teleconverter. Being digital both SLRs would likely have built in magnification ability as well. While quite expensive, the zoom capability on hand was awesome.
My 300mm lens looked quite inadequate. I tried to find a teleconverter (basically a magnifier for your zoom lens) to fit my camera before I left but this proved tricky as my camera is technically obsolete.
Still I think I got some good shots for an amateur.
Having done most of my photography yesterday allowed me more time to relax and gawp at planes the way I used to before photographing them became a hobby. "Damn thats cool" crossed my mind several times.
If any are adequate, shots will be posted later on.
Another early start tomorrow, this time to come home. I have Tuesday off. Most of it I think I will be asleep.
Smashtastic is my new word. It combines 'Smashing' and 'Fantastic' to create a new superlative that I am probably subconciously recycling from somewhere else.
The Airshow today was smashtastic. I'm going back for another helping tomorrow, which is only sensible given that it is the reason for my trip here. I shooot about four rolls of film today. I'll be a bit more judicious tomorrow, mostly picking up good shots that I missed today I hope.
By the law of previous experience, from the amount expended (96ish. Hmm. Lets say 100. This isn't high in the digital age. The guys using digitals near me shot 200+. Film limits you in this regard.) exposures I should get a dozen rubbish shots, 80 okay, with 5-8 great shots. I should take out the shots of planes on the ground, since they are easy to frame when they are not twisting and turning at 500-900 k's an hour. Leaving them in bumps up the OK's and Greats unfairly, and skewers the bell curve. I am optimistic about todays efforts, provided using a slower film speed to reduce graininess didn't completely screw me. I'll have to wait and see what develops.
Sydney has gone from being hot and damp to being cold and wet. Tomorrow should be better. I might even need my sunscreen.
I've been going to airshows for a long time, and I never fail to be amazed by what people think is appropriate dress for standing or sitting in a field or on a bit of tarmac with no shelter from wind, sun or rain. Today was cold and threatening rain. This was evident since dawn, yet still I saw people with no hats, coats, or even second layers. When it's overcast and your are standing in a southerly breeze for a few hours, T-shirt and shorts just doesn't cut it. It's makes you cold and grumpy, let alone your small children who are similarly dressed. Do people just assume it won't be windy or wet? Or do they not understand that an airshow is an outdoor activity? Still working this one out. I thought I was prepared, and still froze my butt off.
By the way I wore the T-shirt not kate made me to the show. I have a photo to prove it.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Killing time waiting for the cheap drinks. No plans to get axed, too tired for that. Just a couple of nightcaps before sleep. I have had less than four hours sleep in the last 39 or so hours, which is always the way when I travel. I don't sleep much the night before the off.
I have been walking pretty much all day since I got to the Hostel. My feet and legs are sore.
I am mooching about in my flip flops at the moment (good suggestion Fi!), having finally taken off the boots I put on at 4am this morning. My body thinks it is 10pm. Actually it is coming up on 7:30pm. This was ok though, because I had second breakfast.
Got a little bit of shopping done, and finally made it to Taronga Zoo, which I have been looking forward to since missing out last time I was here five years ago. The zoo was cool. I made eye contact with at least four creatures who could rip me limb from limb without even thinking about it were it not for the impenetrable barriers between us. And its a great zoo as zoos go. And they had Tuatara.
So here I am in Sydney. It is humid. Worse than Auckland or even Fiji. There is always something fun about the first time you encounter the natural air of a place that isn't airconditioned or filtered. It is warm. Not really hot, but it doesn't really get cold. As you walk past buildings you can sense the cold filtered and scented air pouring out of them. The light rain is a relief from the mugginess. I thought I had acclimatised earlier, but not quite.
Travelling completely alone is a novelty. This is the first time I have travelled like this. This morning I felt out of place, but by evening I was OK. Sydney rewards walking around in it all day.
Pros: I have had no arguments yet.
Cons: I have no-one to talk to and share cool experiences with.
I am keeping a journal of sorts. I will try and distill them in a way that doesn't become another travel blog.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
We don't have mynocks in suburban Lower Hutt. We do have pet rats though, and after an unfortunate rat/laptop power cable interface the Hutt hacienda has been offline for a few days.
Hint: don't put a rat cage within pulling reach of anything you don't want to end up between the rats teeth. Despite munching on a live power cord, the rat is alive and well. Unfortunately the cord has been declared unusable, and laptop batteries really don't last that long.
I came up with several magnificent ideas for blog posts during the down time, most of which I can't remember off the top of my head.
Off to Sydney on Friday. Yay. Back on Monday in time for netball though, assuming we have a game (which I did back in July when I bought the tickets).
Since I didn't comment on the Uchoose on Sunday, and I know some folk emjoy my ruminations on such, here are my favourite New Zealand music videos. Limited to one per artist for the sake of room.
Emma Paki, "Greenstone". Cool storyline, nice visuals.
Concord Dawn, "Morning Light".
Concord Dawn, "Don't tell me". Mainly because Concord Dawn is in it, and by their own admission they can't dance for shit, which is brutally recorded for posterity.
Shihad, "Stations". "You want a crucifixion? We can do that."
Salmonella Dub, "Long time".
Trinity Roots, "Home, land and sea". This recording done at their last gig makes me wish I had been there.
Gramsci, "Complicated". Paul Mclaney walks while the scenery morphs around him.
Bailterspace, "Splat". One long take. Played backwards. Awesome.
HLAH, "I'm on Fire". I saw the filming of this while watching a one dayer at the Basin (they used helicopters). I love how the song ends, then they play it again only faster. Great cover of one of my favourite songs. Much missed.
Goodshirt, "Blowing Dirt". Again a single take, again played backwards. Goodshirt reassemble a Mazda 929 (my family had a similar 929 back in the day. Two in succession actually. We were loyal customers) with sledgehammers, don Scuba gear and drive away.
Kitsch, "Memory of me". How many musicians can you fit on one soundstage?
Netherworld Dancing Toys, "For Today". Not because it has any great qualities, but it evokes the mid eighties really well.
Dark Tower, "The Baggy Trousers Project".
Voom, "Relax". Man walks down street and removes clothes. Cooler than it sounds.
Fur Patrol, "Beautiful". Julia Deans. Strapped to the front of a truck. Striking.
Crowded House (Not really a New Zealand band mind), "Fingers of Love"
The Mockers, "One Black Friday"
Supergroove, "Sitting inside my head"
Straightjacket Fits, "Down in splendour"
Back tomorrow, it is pumpkin time
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Listening to/watching: Silver Ferns v Australia. Anyone remember the Havoc-Newsboy jingle? "Silver ferns! They catch and throw and catch and throw the ball again!"
T for the week is the Bad Attitude from the early '90s. It's a bit geeky this one. The image is of an attitude indicator (commonly known as an artificial horizon) instrument such as you would find on the instrument panel of an aircraft. It is used (in concert with other instruments) to indicate the direction an aircraft is oriented relative to its direction of flight (known as attitude), which is not always the same. Blue represents 'up' usually, with brown, orange or red to indicate 'down' below the horizon in the middle. The face is gimballed so the the artificial horizon parallels the actual one outside the aircraft.
Anyway, the gag is, if your attitude indicator looks like the one in the image, your aircraft is banking to the left, upside down, and diving toward the ground.
Which is a 'Bad' attitude, as it will sooner or later involve sudden and probably violent contact with the earth. Being upside down, the undercarriage won't matter (although one guy in the states a while ago bolted a spare undercarriage to the top of his plane, enabling him to take off and land upside down).
Never worn to work.
"Did you actually want to talk about the weather or were you just making small talk?"
One of the many great lines from "Groundhog Day", even if approximated because I can't remember it exactly.
The march of the hail bearing cumulonimbus on Tuesday was an awesome spectacle in Upper Hutt. Fine and sunny at work, while Mount Climie a few kilometres away was swathed in strokes of falling hail, with deep purple grey skies above blending into blinding white anvil headed clouds.
I like weather. I'm crap at small talk.
After one weekend of serious house looking I have some observations:
-It is simultaneously exhilirating and depressing, when you see something you might like, something you do like but can't afford, something you don't like in a location you want, something you like in a location you don't want, something you like in a location you like.
-The last one is most exciting.
-I am sick already of hearing about how glad people are that they bought when they did, how good a price they got, and how glad they are that they are not buying now.
-I am also sick of smiling fast talking real estate agents.
-I hate how many ads are geared towards attracting 'investors' rather than people who just want somewhere to live.
-I like exploring new houses.
-I like the thrill that 'the one' might be the next house we look at.
-The 'property' supplement of the Dominion Post is USELESS and largely irrelevant for first time buyers.
-Compromise is essential.
So North Korea has the bomb. Meh. Despite all the hysteria and posturing, in the big scheme of things it really doesn't change much. Nuclear weapons are more politically than militarily useful, and blowing up a mine shaft is a long way from having a weapon you can attach to a missile or aircraft. While military action against North Korea would be impractical and insane, military action by North Korea would be in a similar vein in terms of outcome.
Some of the reportage about current and past members of the nuclear 'club' and how long they have been so has been hilariously inaccurate.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Even for the 80's the video for Blondie's "The tide is high" is terrible. And whatever happened to the wierd breakdancing guy, and the tough haka kid from the "Poi E" video? And someone really needs to explain to me how 'Imagine' by John Lennon, which was released in 1971, qualifies as an 80's anthem.
Not going to court tomorrow as there was an adjournment.
Not playing Superleague this season either, due to not enough numbers being around to fill three mixed teams. As Fi and me fell into the third team, we don't make the cut.
I have mixed feelings about it. Happy to not be spending the time or money, both of which are considerable. Disappointed at not being able to make a team that will actually get to play. I wasn't really up to speed skill wise at trials, so I am not surprised or feeling wronged, but a little disappointment is inevitable.
So I need some other summer sport. Anyone know of any Touch rugby teams or the like that need personnel?
In other news, with birthday gift vouchers I bought the new Killers album (I'm so cool, the Killers named an album after me), and an A-ha singles collection.
Does anyone get the "Move to Dunedin" ads? Seriously. Anyone?
Thursday, October 05, 2006
I'll bet this won't be as exciting as it looks on TV.
This week 1.21 Gigawatts?!
That wacky Doc, always getting into crazy adventures with Marty and Einstein. This post partly inspired by a dream I had last night where I was driving the DeLorean. Not in a time travelling sense, but in a way faster than anything else on the road sense.
I saw 'Back to the Future" twice during its initial cinema release in 1985. Once at the Odeon in Lower Hutt, the second time at The Paramount in Wellington. I had been lining up to see "The Rats of Nimh" (I think. Definitely a Nimh movie of some kind) at the St James (old school Wellingtonians may remember that the St James was a cinema for a while rather than the stately theatre it was meant to be), but that turned out to be sold out (it was the school holidays), so my Dad gave up his ticket for "Back to the Future" and I saw it again with my two sisters rather than roaming Courtney Place on my own for two hours. I'm sure Dad saw the movie eventually. Visiting the set in 1989 at Universal Studios in LA was way cool, especially as the sequel came out a few months later.
I love "Back to the Future" as much as for it reminding me of a particular time in my life as well as being a great movie in its own right.
Now, as promised, a wardobe malfunction involving problems with acid.
Here's what happens when you spill 10% sulfuric acid solution on the thigh of your jeans folks (don't ask how. It's complicated, and I can't discuss it in this forum anyway). Strangely, aside from a slight discoloration, the coverall fabric the acid soaked through to get to my jeans is unaffected. As was my skin. Incidentally, this sort of damage takes a few days to develop at this strength.
Don't try this at home kids.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
I was sick of a lot of things on Monday night. Monday was fine until I got to work. I slept in, hung out with the divine Mrs H, and chilled out. Then I got to work for evening shift. I think I jinxed it by asking one of my co-workers at handover what calamities had befallen us today. EVERY DAMN ONE of my regular tasks had something wrong with it that required extra attention. And then there were the irregular spill over from day shift tasks, that also amazingly, had things wrong with them that required more time and attention.
I wasn't actually that wound up when I skipped out for an extended lunch/dinner break to play netball. The stressful "am I gonna get there on time or not" drive, and our opposition who spent as much time showing off as playing sort of tipped me over the edge. I gladly let also late Ken have another quarter instead of me; I was pleased to be leaving the court. My team was ok, I just knew that I was getting too frustrated with my own game not even getting out of first gear (getting slapped in the eye because of clumsy opposition defence didn't help) and it was inevitably going to end badly, either at the hands of the opposition or umpire. I'm getting better at not being a grumpy player, but I still haven't got the bountiful well of calm thing going for me yet.
Back at work, everything just got worse. I think the single worst thing was going to use a small but important piece of equipment just after midnight and finding it missing. It had been taken a away for a routine service I later found out. Without checking if it was needed for use. Or telling the people who would be using it. Or providing a backup. A lot of swearing and throwing of unbreakable objects at other unbreakable objects was done. By the time I finished after a 12 hour shift at 0245 I was wrung out in every way.
So much so that I called in sick yesterday on grounds of exhaustion (Fi will testify to this, and if your wife thinks you should call in sick, there is probably something to it). Actually, in my job if we feel too tired or otherwise unfit, the onus is on us to pull the plug, primarily for safety reasons. There are lots of ways for sloppy people to hurt themselves at my work.
So instead of going to work I gave blood (filling the bag in under four minutes, which is quick for me. I have taken as long as fifteen to fill a bag, but usually average 5-10), went to Talladega Nights with the Hutt crew (Okay movie. Makes NASCAR look interesting, which is no mean feat. Quite funny too, even if some of the best lines are outtakes over the credits ("98% of people will die at some point in their lives") I prefer watching Formula One. That oval track stuff bores me stupid. Says a lot about the must be entertained psyche though), and watched Fi play netball.
Shiny thing though. During my day off, the rest of the weeks schedule was canned for technical reasons, so work tonight was blissfully unpressurised.
I'm a sucker for sunsets. The moodier the better. Like say this one from our recent Taupo sojourn with D3vo, Morgue, My other half, and others:
The suck thing about holidays is coming home. Taupo was fun, even if the place itself is a little soulless these days. The accomodation was brilliant. The nightlife was awesome:
Because it was someones birthday or something, a whole bunch of our party decided to go skydiving. Fi and I didn't. I'm more in tune with flying planes than jumping out of them, and ultimately couldn't decide if I actually wanted to do it or not. Listening to everyone rave about it afterwards was kinda depressing though.
The plane they went skydiving from had teeth and eyes painted on it. All machinery looks better this way I think. The exhaust pipes are supposed to be crooked if you are wondering. I suspect you weren't.
Taupo was kinda fun. The Huka Jet was definitely fun, if not actually scary. The nightlife was better than I have given it photographic credit for. I liked the see-through beer dispensers at the tables, and the TV screens under the taps. The drive by homo-ing at breakfast time was quite strange, but entertaining nonetheless. Frisbee in the park was cool. I am way better at catching with my left hand than I ever used to be. The peaceful dawn on the lakeside was nice.
I enjoyed my long walk back to the motel from the centre of town. I say long because the brochure said '10min', when the reality was 5 times that. I wasn't really up for the direction the night was taking, so I left the crew to it. I think I needed some serious alone time at that point, so it was convenient. I walked past million dollar mansions nestled next to weatherboard batches. I disturbed sleeping waterfowl. I discovered geothermal outlets into the lake, which raise the temperature of the lake at the beach to around 50C. It was peaceful. When I got back to the motel I tried to have a spa bath, but something kept tripping the pump out so I was out of luck. Either the water was too hot or I had too much of it, or not enough.
Driving up was entertaining. I have driven to Taupo many many times, but seldom at night. At night you lose all of your scenery cues, so only the meandering of the road tells you where you are. At night, all is the road. At one point on a Desert Road straight I got a little spatially disoriented. I had to convince myself that we were going as fast as we were, that my speedo and tach were reading correct, since it felt slower. I felt somewhat disconnected from the car at that point, which was a little uncomfortable. Once I found some corners and effectively recalibrated my sense of speed things returned to normal. Apart from that I really enjoyed the drive up (apart from the traffic at Plimmerton, which stopped us for half an hour). We completely accidentally ran into D3vo and Brendan at Paraparaumu, and convoyed for the rest of the way. D3v0's eyewitness reporting of our nearly being buried was quite entertaining (we were hit by falling rocks and mud near Taihape, which was attention getting. My car now has a new scratch or two).
Watching the skydiving was fun. I got to answer questions about something I actually know something about for once, even if I was later to be mocked for my knowledge. I enjoyed the chief photographer role, and I think I got some good shots. I have been taking "proper" photos for about ten or so years now, in the not just taking happy snaps way. Having a decent camera helps enormously. I make an effort to compose images and think and stuff these days. Not that others don't, I am just getting more concious of it.
It was a good weekend, but I think I caught the hangover on Monday.
Next sojourn: Sydney in two weeks. I'm going to kick the airshow season off with a bang by spending two days looking at and photogaphing planes. Freaking Geek. There, I said it so you won't have to. One day will be spent exploring and shopping. Anyone want any duty free? Believe it or not, attending an airshow in Sydney is now cheaper than attending the Wanaka airshow that people always ask me if I have been to (I have been to four).
Going to be a great airshow season this summer. Two major events within easy reach at Blenheim and Masterton, plus Sydney at labour weekend.
And the Big Day Out line up looks extremely promising.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Some days I really shouldn't leave work to play netball. Today was one of them. The fact that I have just got home and it is now 0306, when I normally get home from a twilight shift at about 2330, should illuminate just how crap an evening I have had.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
So I tune in in time to catch 18, 17 and 16. "Everything I do", "Can you feel the love tonight", "I will always love you".
Two Kevin Costner movies, and a soundtrack whoring Elton John. Eltons modern stuff just makes me sad, given how cool his 70's stuff is. The Lion King's animation seems really dated now. And Simba bears an astonishing resemblance to the Wellington Lion's captain Rodney So'oialo, which is a healthy coincidence I think.
Kenny Loggins is in at 13 with 'Footloose'. Now there is a terrible movie, although I have fond memories of putting the soundtrack cassette on high rotate in the summer of 1984 (for cheesy 80's movie pop, its not that bad). Loggins is kinda the king of the soundtrack song. He was everywhere in the 80's. He soundtracked for "Footloose", "Over the top" and "Top Gun", and maybe one of the Karate Kid movies, and that's just the ones I can remember of the top of my head. "Danger zone" is my pick for number one if it hasn't been in already.
Oh jeeze. "School of Rock" at number 12.
Thinking of my favourite uses of pop/rock in the movies now, but I will do so from bed, where I will watch the rest of the countdown. I'm tired after all the shenanigans and stuff, of which more later.
U2's "Elevation" at 11. Alright song, great video, terrible movie.
Dai Henwood is insane.
"Greased lightning" at 10. Maybe I won't keep watching.