Sunday, December 30, 2007

On Hangover avoidance

Listening to: Eight-Moving

I avoided a hangover today after a considerably merry night last night with old and dear friends.

Here I offer my best avoidance tips in this season of merriment. This isn't about avoiding drunkeness, which can be regarded as an inevitability. It is about minimising the collateral damage.

1. Don't drink any Alcohol
Usually a bullet-proof tactic. Cheaper, and you have no chance of being DIC'd or losing those inhibitions that stop you doing silly things.


Since your classic hangover is essentially a product of dehydration, certain physiological conditions (colds, flu, food poisoning) can lead to a hangover without touching a drop of booze. In this situation not drinking doesn't do squat although you probably won't feel like it anyway.

2. Know your limits
It is quite possible to get pleasantly pissed, and still enjoy the morning after. Its all about timing, and straws and camels and things.
One drink, or even half a drink can mean the difference between enjoying the next day, or renewing an intimate acquaintance with the porcelain god and panadol.
However, knowing where that drink falls is largely a matter of chance, and introducing wildcards like shots and cocktails makes this into something of a lottery, which you have very little chance of winning.
Which brings us nicely to number 3.

3.Don't mix your drinks
The elemental of Imbibery 101, it is amazing how often this gets forgotten, even (or perhaps especially) by those old and seasoned enough to know better. You can be fine and well on the way to pleasantly pissed until someone brings out the home brewed tequila, then before you know it you're technicolour yawning out of car windows, and then hosing it off before the taxi driver will let you go.
Some would define this as fruit based alcohol versus grain based alcohol, or wine versus beer, or beer versus spirits, or anything versus the alternate universe that is absinthe for example. Anyway, if you start out drinking one thing, it is best to stick to it, with one exception.
If a switch must be made it can be done, provided that under no circumstances you go back. You get one switch per session. Any more and you are just asking for trouble of the falling over double vision and passing out in the toilets kind. Switching confuses your stomach and liver, and you're already asking a lot from them by boozing in the first place, so don't push it, otherwise they will refuse to serve you.
Mixing drinks can be particularly difficult for those who like to count their drinks. Three or four pints of beer and three or more shots of chilli vodka are in no way equivalent, especially if consumed with high simultanaeity.
And mixing drinks before consumption (like say dropping a shot glass of Drambuie into a glass of Guiness) should only be done by experts, and then under close supervision.

4. Pace yourself
Chopping is for lumberjacks. Unless there is some sort of tomfoolery involved, in which case it is pretty much mandatory. Find a pace that works for you and stick to it. This may involve withstanding peer pressure, so bring your willpower.
The old standby of alternating between alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks works pretty well too.

5.Eat something
Not cheating. Gives you a respectable time waster, as well as a viable excuse for drinking anyway: "the lamb demanded a good Pinot Noir, it would be a disservice not to" etc. Besides, the better catered events usually have good nibbles anyway. Just make sure you choose something that will potentially taste just as good on the way back up if it comes to that.

Both for yourself and your buddy. A well timed powerade or pump will do wonders, especially if you enforce it on the person you may wind up carrying home if they don't stop boozing.

Drink as much water as you can stand before retiring to your boudoir, and if you wake from your stupor, drink some more.

7.Wait it out
Hangovers can be avoided entirely by simply staying awake and riding the drunk out. Sleep lets your guard down, and opens the door to all sorts of unpleasant possibilities, not least of which is waking up with no idea where you are and who is in the bed with you, or what you did in the last few hours. You have to sleep sometime, but it will work out better if you are sober and reasonably sorted when you succumb to the inevitable.

8.Go on the offensive
Get drunk, come home, rehydrate, go to bed. If you wake up with an incipient hangover, eat something light, have more water, take as much panadol or ibuprofen as the manufacture recommends as safe, and go back to bed. Sleep is good for you here.

9.Get busy
Even ignoring all the above, if you have something to occupy yourself enough, a hangover can be ignored. If sober, driving is good for this. You need to be the driver though. Passengering from Wellington to Hamilton on a hot summers day after a spectacular wedding after match is not recommended. Driving the distance however will give you something to do. While exposing you to further dehydration, exercise can also sharpen the mind enough to forget the fact that it feels like your sinuses are imploding while your stomach has been relined with sandpaper.

That said, sometimes all you can do is get busy sleeping on the couch.

10. Watch Test Cricket
I'm not sure why this one works, but the slow unhurried gentlemanly game of 5-day Test Cricket works as a hangover cure, or at least it did one Sunday morning in Palmerston North a wee while ago.

Here endeth the lesson. Feel free to add your own

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

Or Christmas Eve Eve as it was, for the annual flatties Christmas Dinner last night, now entering its sixth year.

Eschewing more formal settings, this year pizza was the fare on the beach at Days Bay on a fine summer evening, courtesy of the woodfired pizzeria across the road from the sand.
During the summer months, the beach is officially a liquor free zone, although a blind eye tends to be turned if everyone is behaving themselves.

These guys however were taking no chances, and exploited the technicality of the raft anchored 50 metres offshore being not actually on the beach. Beer and Champagne soon flowed, despite the drinks container (a plastic crate) nearly sinking as the raft was neared.

Note: This guy had been wearing a tank top earlier in the day, but not at the time I took the photo. Ouch. Some people just have to learn about sunscreen the hard way. Bet he's rueing it now.
I got some practice in for the airshow season by shooting the ever present seagulls.
Who proved that they can have as much trouble finding parking spaces as we do.
Christmas Eve itself looks ominous, as a storm gathered to the west at dusk, and the nor'wester picked up.
Ten minutes later it was raining.
Hopefully it will have sorted itself out by tomorrow.
Anyway, have a good one wherever you are.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Listening to: Alice in Chains-The EssentialSpotted recently in Lower Hutt.

My fans drive BMWs apparently.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bursting through

Listening to: Seal-Seal. The good 1991 first album before he went all 'Kiss from a Rose' weird MOR style for subsequent stuff.

So after raining all day, at dusk the rain finally stopped and the sun peeked through the misty clouds up here, lighting up the damp hills.
I like that. I'm not normally much for symbolism, but it works for me on this occasion. After warding off the physical hangover from sharing David's Guinness with Murray and Sarah after the funeral yesterday, today I think I had an emotional hangover. I have been fragile and sensitised all day.

Its funny how I prefer the written form as a means of expression, but I can't seem to make it work to properly share my thoughts today. This is thus a ramble.

Now that the ritual events are over, the reality of the way ahead is beginning to become fully apparent, in that for both Fi and I this Christmas there will be people missing who have always been there in the past. I have been a pallbearer twice in the past six weeks, and while I consider the duty an honour and a priviledge, its still one I'd rather not have the opportunity to perform.

I will miss John and David both and I didn't realise fully what I had in them until they were gone. Its often stated to the point of cliche, but I'm not sure we can help taking people for granted. We are just wired that way. I always try and say goodbye to people socially, and feel uncomfortable if I don't, not just for the sake of politeness, but in case the unexpected happens and I never have the chance again.

This is the future I guess. And when Megan's old enough I'll have to buy her a drink sometime, she enabled a lot of laughter yesterday and cheered us up no end.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fi's dad died tonight at about 1045, peacefully with friends and family at his side. A top bloke, a guy couldn't ask for more in a father-in-law (if you watch Outrageous Fortune, he was just like Grandpa West, but without the criminality).

I'm glad I knew him, and I will miss him.

Godspeed David, see you round.

Monday, December 10, 2007

And the hits keep coming...

Listening to: Magic-Bruce Springsteen

I know I put up sunset pictures last time, but the combination of high multilayered overcast and a clear horizon was spectacular a couple of hours ago. Also for Rich and Kirsten, since we were looking at this in the car on the way home and marvelling.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Wallowing in goodness

Listening to: The radio

Been listening to the retroactive 30th birthday special on Radio Active all day. I love a good retrospective. It gives me an excuse to wallow in nostalgia, sing along to songs I hated when they were released, and remember fondly good times, and muse on the bad ones.

Covering a different year every hour, this has been going since last night. This morning they hit the 1990's, and I was reminiscing like a reminiscing thing. Despite being single for most of them, and having a couple of spectacularly downer periods, I really enjoyed the 90's, especially the late '93-early 96 period. There was a definite positive feel to the early 90's, maybe what the late 60's felt like. The Cold War was over, and things were going to change. Didn't last if course, but damn if it wasn't fun. I remember the mid 90's as being fun mainly (the fun memories drown out the bad ones), lots of new friends, lots of parties, lots to see and do. I remember going to four 21st parties on four consecutive weekends in 1995. 21 seemed so old then.

They were talking about the first time they heard 'Creep' by Radiohead, and I remembered the first time I heard it, on a classmates walkman in first year. We had no way of knowing then that it would become a classic anthem (love it or hate it), then it was just a kicking breakthrough single for a relatively unknown band. You can never go back, but sometimes its fun to imagine hearing something for the first time. Try it.

Coming up to 2000, they played the extended mix of 'Little Things' by Trinity Roots, and I remembered the first time I heard that, a snippet of outro on Channel Z while driving home from work (you know how it works, you hear a bit of a new song, like it, then wait ages for it to be played again, usually hearing a different bit. It can take several attempts to hear the complete song). That single was my coming home from work song for a while in 2001. I remember getting home to the flat on Kings Crescent and putting it on to begin the chilling process. I remember looking at the evening sunlight streaming through the window and across the floor, and listening to the vocal and thinking it was a good vibe.


I have been living on this hill for nearly a year now, and have yet to tire of the visuals. Tonights sunset was low key, but rewarded the patient.
I love that being summer, I can take pictures like this at 8:30 at 'night'.
About a week ago there was low cloud piling up on the ridge behind Porirua. The streetlight glow illuminated it, and from the other side of the ridge in Kelson it looked kinda cool.
I also love that being summer, Orion is now high in the sky. The second constellation after the Southern Cross I learned to recognise, I look forward to its return every summer.
Even if he is standing on his head.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

It's December!

In honour of today being the first of December, I implore you to check out or revisit the Weebl Advent Calendar, with observations, handy hints and the like for Christmas. Day 21 is my favourite. The rest of weebls stuff is also worth a look, especially the DJ Cat should you stumble across it.

Meanwhile, spotted about Wellington today:

St Johns in the City reveals the hitherto unknown 11th Commandment:
And on Boulcott Street....

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Funny how whenever the word 'Unmissable' appears in a promotion for an upcoming TV programme, I am instantly disinclined to watch it, and somehow make time to miss it.

Similar sort of thing to how Christmas music in a shop makes me want to leave the shop instantly rather than stay and spend money in it.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Lazy Sunday 2

Listening to: The deranged melange that is 'The Island' on TV in the lounge.

This post brought to you by sunny Lyall Bay.
And this Seagull.
Sensing Ben Harper
I have this thing I do periodically. For no particular reason, I will get a song in my head, then when I turn on the radio, that song is played almost straight away. I have been doing this since childhood. The most recent occurence was on Friday, when I thought 'gee I'd really like to hear the new Ben Harper single today', and lo it was the very next song to air. I'm not claiming to be psychic at all, but it is an interesting phenomenon that I don't at all understand the mechanism of.

Is post modernism dead?
So while attending Urinetown at Downstage on Friday night, a question occured to me. Urinetown is a satire, of several things but largely of the musical genre itself, and is loaded with self referential and knowing gags and humour. Which got me wondering. Is acknowledgement and mocking of cliche in danger of becoming a cliche itself? The show was quite good and never dull (and I am known for loathing musicals), although I thought some of its points about consumerism and environmental calamity and wannabe revolutionaries maybe went over the heads of some of the audience. And Rima Te Wiata is way taller than I thought.

Attending the musical meant I missed out on Not Kate's Birthday dinner, although this was partly offset by catching up with folk for drinks later. By all accounts it was a pretty good lash. I am rueing missing out. I hate missing out on things.

Drunk detection
I use the room is spinning sensation as a key indicator that I have had too much to drink and need to engage in hangover prevention techniques. This is tested by closing the eyes. If spinning is felt, nausea is usually imminent....which can be fraught if you happen to be really tired. Anyway, since childhood, I have exeperienced the same sensation periodically when very relaxed. And in that sober state, I really enjoy it. Quite why I find it so unpleasant after drinking I have yet to fathom.

Shouldn't be but is
Paul Henry on TVones weekday breakfast show appears to be developing a cult audience. I know I shouldn't, but I find him quite watchable, and so do other unlikely audience members I have asked about it. I suspect I would find the guy quite unpleasant in real life, but he his probably the most free speaking broadcaster on TVNZ at the moment, and handily offsets the seemingly endless parade of lookalike blonde dishes who occupy the right hand side of the screen.

I haven't seen any news of any kind since Wednesday. Anything happening I should know about?

That is all.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Lazy Sunday

Looks like Lauren left a couple of weeks too early.
Nice warm for November day, went to the beach at Days Bays in the afternoon.
And on returning there was no option but to fire up the barbecue and open the season. NB, those are mushrooms, not burgers.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thunder! Lightning! The way you look at me etc etc

First ever attempt at photographing lightning, courtesy of the arrival of tonights cold front.

I read about how to do this years ago, and no longer being limited by film I decided to give it a go.

Helps if you point the camera in the right direction though.
Lots of classic forked lighting about but didn't manage to get any in frame. Actually I think I did here, but it was too bright for the camera settings. Need to work on that.

Backdrop courtesy of Kelson School, with their sturdy new fence providing a handy steady base to brace the camera. Would have got more, but I was either looking the wrong way, or scurrying to get inside as the rain started.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Words and pictures

Listening to: Almost Here-Unbelievable Truth

A picture is worth a thousand words. Apparently.

Really I can't argue with that. Showing someone something is generally way more effective than describing it.

So having established that, I got to wondering how much a picture of a thousand words was worth.

First of all, a picture of a thousand words had to be created. And here you go:
You can count them if you like, or just take my word for it (cue comedy drum splash).

So what is it worth? The traditional market dictum of "as much as the market will stand" (i.e., just a little less than too much), or the slightly vaguer dictum of "as much as someone is prepared to pay for it"?

Comic value
Hard to define. This can range from none to priceless. Up to the viewer really, but I at least found the concept moderately amusing, to the point of chuckling quietly to myself at various times when toying with the idea.

Philosophical value
Obviously I found this intriguing enough to blog about it, so clearly not valueless then. The value of a thousand words philosophically (or perhaps in this specific case metaphorically) clearly depends on the chosen words, their meaning and intent, and distribution and understanding.

Surrealist value
4 giraffes, the radiator grille from a 1976 Leyland Mini, and a dog eared signed original edition of "The hitchhikers guide to the galaxy". So there.

Wage value
Given the legal minimum adult wage in New Zealand is $11.25 an hour, and the image took around ten minutes to create, plus about twenty minutes to blog about, lets see, someone owes me $6.65. At least. Creativity of this calibre normally commands a higher rate.

Economic value
I had a bottle of beer while putting this together, $13.99/doz, divide by twelve, thats roughly $1.15 to the brewery then. So by that tense, it is worth at least $1.15, since I am out of pocket to that effect. Although cost is not necessarily the same as worth.

Ecological value
I am using electricity for an arguably pointless and wasteful exercise. Never mind the carbon footprint for the brewery, and the means of delivering the beer to the supermarket. Ecologically then, the value is probably negative. However, comic value can offset this, improving your immediate environment by making you laugh, so it is not all bad.

Memorable value
Again in the hands of the reader and highly linked to the relative comic value. Instantly forgotten, mentioned in conversation now or years later, linked, making blogspots 'Blogs of note' list?
Impossible to gauge without the passage of time.

Associative value
Value inherent due to the fact that I created it, or that it is viewed via the various links I appear on. Maybe that should be 'Ego value'.

Right, I've just about run out of ideas on this one, so here endeth the post.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Farewell and Goodbye

Listening to: Time on Earth-Crowded House


To Lauren of Canadia, who departed for Brisbane and eventually points further north and home this afternoon.


To my Uncle John Rodden Tarleton, who we laid to rest at Taita Lawn Cemetery today. After a life that could never have been called easy, yet lived to the full extent of effort and possibility, he passed away in his sleep early on Thursday morning. I will be forever grateful for the insight he gave us into living with a disability, and how much we take for granted.

29 June 1940 - 01 November 2007
Fois do t'anam - Peace to his soul

Thursday, November 01, 2007

When we were young

Listening to: The Radio.
Last night I indulged in Time Travel. For such an awfully acousiticated (is that even a word?) venue, the Queens Wharf Events Centre (which it will be, regardless of what TSB labels it) somehow manages to have character. Of a sort.

We arrived halfway through Pluto's set, and for an act that sounds pretty polished on radio, they were curiously uninvolving live. The Muttonbirds were the same. Great studio sound, but kinda boring on stage.

This was demonstrated by Supergroove, who within thirty seconds of starting their first song (Next Time), had blown Pluto completely off the stage, beaten them up with their guitars and horns, jumped up and down on their twitching bodies, and then backed over some pizza with a car and made them eat it. The difference between the two in terms of stage prescence was like night and day.

Che Fu and Karl Stevens make for one of the oddest front pairings I have ever seen, yet somehow they are perfectly complementary. Supergroove looked nothing like an act that has been in the wilderness for more than a decade. For a few moments I was 18 again, in the front row on a hot summer evening in January 1995 at Mountain Rock, sharing a badly mixed rum and coke (in a plastic coke bottle) with some guy I had just met, caught up in the moment, as the band started their set with 'You Freak Me'. For a while in the mid 90's, it felt like Supegroove was the default party soundtrack, and seeing them play again brought back a lot of excellent memories of good times. Like a lot of punters, for me seeing Supergroove again was almost as much of a draw to the gig as seeing Crowded House. It was a Crowded House gig, but the T-shirt I bought was the Supergroove one.

Crowded House played a free gig in Palmerston North on Waitangi Day 1995 or 96. I had the opportunity to go, didn't, and rued it. While their recorded work is brilliant, if a little 'safe' feeling at times, they built their reputation largely as a live act, and I didn't want to miss out this time. Like Supergroove, they didn't disappoint. While Paul Hester will forever haunt the stage and always be missed, the new drummer Matt Sherrod brings a different prescence and feel to the classic tracks. Live the songs are punchier and rockier, and just as good. The mix of old and new material was good, in a set that lasted over two hours. No complaints about value for money. And the reputation is deserved. They are a really good live act, involving and acknowledging the crowd, jamming, improvising, telling stories, trading banter. After all this time, it was nice to see one of my longest term favourite bands for the first time (I've seen various Finn combinations before, but never Crowded House).

While the venue isn't that great (honestly, the sound quality really sucks. When its not echoing its reverberating), I've been to a few really good gigs there. That is where the character comes from perhaps. A hair product meltingly hot night in February 1998, right in the mosh pit for Pearl Jam. A somewhat milder evening in 1996, with Billy Corgan's curious "I'm gonna stay on stage after the rest of the band has gone and tune my guitar for ten minutes while ignoring the crowd" finale to a Smashing Pumpkins concert. A mellow and chilled out viewing from the higher seats for Ben Harper. Some retard casting doubts on my manliness for wearing earplugs at Audioslave.

I love a good gig. The crowd singing along, the roar of recognition when the opening chords of a favourite ring out, the vibe, the atmosphere, hopefully the band having a good time, watching how the music is created, the whole thing. There are few things better than seeing and hearing your favourite music played in your prescence by those that created it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


We don't really do Halloween here at Chez Kelson, but make a party of it as Pearce did on Saturday and we're there.

For the record I think we make a pretty damn cool pair of ghosts. I'm the one on the left.
In costume, I thought Fi bore more than a passing resemblance to this woman, the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall. Even if the photo might be less than accurate.

The full moon made things nice and atmospheric as well.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Introducing Bella

As part of an ongoing project to make our family moggy internationally famous, I present Bella, here being devotedly groomed by nibling Eleanor.
Yes I know. Posting cat pictures on my blog. At least she isn't wearing a hat or jersey, or a grammatically disorganised caption.
Bella's age is unknown, but she is probably at least eight, as she came to the family 7 years ago as a young adult feline. I think she is part dog anyway, which shafts the dog years/cat years thing. When you leave the house she follows you to the gate, and to the end of the street at times, although I'm not sure if this is to ensure your well being, or to see if you are going to get more food.
One of the oddest (as can be seen she has a particular fondness for daffodils, flowering or not) and least graceful cats I have known, but I like her a lot.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Not condoning vandalism but....

Listening to: Like Stray Voltage-Gramsci

I like this
'nuff said really

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Listening to: Hot Rocks, 1964-71-The Rolling Stones

Labour weekend involved a crew visit to Waitomo, Wanganui, and The Bridge to Nowhere.
See also here for another perspective.

After visiting the caves at Waitomo on Saturday, early on Sunday morning it was primary reason for the trip time, most of us having oohed and aahed at Waitomo at least once before. Although Fi and Lauren singing in the Cathedral room was pretty cool.

To meet our jetboat we had to get to Pipiriki. Not quite the middle of nowhere, but you sure can see it from there. The country and journey inland left me slightly uneasy. I felt a long way from anywhere, and a long way from home. I felt like the hills were watching.

That feeling might have been in part supplied by the road we travelled to get there, the end of which is shown below. Note: the sign says 64 Km, not 6.4. Half of it is one lane gravel, great if you're in a four wheel drive, not so cool if you're in a heavily laden Corolla. Had we known better we would have gone in the other less direct way which is much easier, as we discovered when we used it to leave. Right, so the pics are totally out of order then. Bear with me. We seemed to be forever passing through Raetihi. Approaching fom the south this is the sight that welcomes you.
Behind the sign is a graveyard. I'm not sure if the placement is intended to be ironic, or we have a slightly black sense of humour, because we all found it funny.
Anyway, back to the bridge. 40 minutes jetboat ride from Pipiriki, is a landing, and 40 minutes walk after that you get to the bridge. This is not an easy place to get to. It arrives suddenly. You walk around a corner and it is there. Its a lonely place. The names of the families who tried and failed to make this place work are recorded along the track. The bridge is their monument.
We were served a fine meal while our guide related the story. My tea was good, and I had cameo cremes for the first time in aaages.
After something other than a generic shot, I carefully scrambled down the bank to get underneath the thing.
On the way back from Waitomo on Saturday we stopped at the crest of the Wanganui-Ohakune road for photos. From the side of the road I saw something amiss. The object in the rectangle is a crumpled and wrecked car.
With no other visible means of arrival, it looks like it came from the road above. Somebody had a very bad day here.
Even for NZ, the countryside north of Wanganui is rugged.

The Whanganui river itself feels timeless, like it has never changed. Signs of people are few and far between.
At Waitomo there is an interesting sort of motel. You can sleep in a boat, hobbit house, or a plane:
What is it with me and sunsets? Somewhere between Bulls and Wanganui, Friday night.