Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Yikes its another photo essay

Or it will be when I get back.
I'm driving to Auckland on Friday, and I thought it would make an interesting travelogue of sorts to take a picture of everywhere I stopped along the way.

And then I thought, what if I had a list of things to photograph, like a challenge maybe? It would give my mind something to do at the very least.

So here is the challenge. You (yes you, reading this) name something you would like a photo of that I might encounter on my journey (via the magic of comments, or TXT if you have my number), and thus challenge me to record it.

Set me a challenge. Declare an item and I will see if I can find it.

Any reasonable thing eligible, but it must be visible from the road. Detours from the main route (I am undecided about going via National Park or Desert Road) of up to half an hour will also be considered.You have around 36 hours to submit.

Results will be published when I get back. Everyone whose item(s) I locate gets a chocolate fish. Yummy yummy chocolate fish.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Happy Tuesday

Listening to: Brothers in Arms-Dire Straits
Ah 1985. Despite being mythically uncool now, this is still a pretty good album. Except for 'Walk of Life'. That track is pretty much irredeemable.

Try to move

On a day when I have applied for two internal positions at work (I could do either, and by applying for two I figure I am increasing my odds of being succesful as well as sending a clear message to those concerned that I am rapidly becoming unhappy where I am), and have spent a good part of my day rearranging my CV and arranging covering letters (thanks Rich! ), seeing this in my stars is almost spooky.

Particularly when a coworker who is also a friend outside of work is applying for one of the same positions. Shame, seems a waste of talent, but on the other hand it would be stupid not to apply for that reason. We're friendly about it. Leos and Libras seem to have their work cut out for them today. Rewards are promised but they must be earned. I don't take the stars seriously, but occasionally they seem portentous.


Yo Carol, love the new do!


Its not all about me

But when I throw the intercept pass that ultimately costs us a must-win semi final, it sure feels like it. I rebuilt my ego by playing for our semi regular fill in Petone team tonight. I always feel like a superstar when I play for them. Sometimes I play like one.


Weighing oneself after exercise is almost always rewarding. I can remember when I weighed 4 stone. It was a long time ago.


This is just silly

How come I can do this to my kitchen (way smokier than the picture suggests) and not set the smoke alarm off, but the merest hint of combustion from the toaster (almost never accompanied by visible smoke) results in my eardrums trying to meet in the middle of my head?

I'm working on it. Time and serendipity may yet provide an answer.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A summer of two halves

The first half sucked. The second has been glorious. A fine still summers day makes one of my favourite places in the whole world even better.

I ruthlessly exploited the weather and went out to Day's Bay for a swim at about lunchtime before going to work (mega meh. Still, it pays the bills).

It was cathartic and cleansing and relaxing and nice and cool and just what I needed. Special kudos to the guys who swam out to the raft with a bottle of beer each, and to the amorous couple who appeared to be having, um, relations in the water. Or trying to. They were interrupted by a bunch of kayaking schoolgirls.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Bakery Cult

Listening to: Back in Black-AC/DC

"And thou shalt eat of the bread that thou hast obtained. And if thou finds the bread to be of acceptable quality, that it be just fluffy enough, that it has good flavour, that it does not have too much flour on the outside, then thou shall proclaim "Thats Darn Good Bread!". And thou shalt pass it around, in order that others may also taste of it and make the same proclamation."
-Excerpt from The Book of The Bread, chapter 71

I'm not sure how it began. I think we were at a party and got a little bored. This was in 1996 or so, maybe early 1997. Tiring of the party we decided to vacate the area for an hour or so, by way of the Hataitai bakery. This being in the time of night, fresh bread was obtained. Eating it in the car on the way back, someone said "You know, this is darn good bread!". Eager to confirm this fact, the bread was passed around the car until all the passengers had tasted some, and agreed.

And so the cult of the Darn Good Bread was born. I'm not even sure who the original carload of members was. I was there. Maybe Kieran, maybe Morgue. There were four. It's creation was spontaneous. We had/have members, even if we are not certain who they all are. Instead of Acolytes, we have Apocolytes, because it sounds cooler.
Membership and initiation is fairly simple. To enter, one must consume darn good (adequate or stale bread is ineligible) bread in the presence of a member, and state that it is indeed 'darn good bread'. If the member acknowledges the reference, you're in. At all times henceforth, one must seek out the most darn good bread one can, and visit bakeries in the wee small hours whenever appropriate.

The cult arose as a natural consequence of bakeries opening very early in order to have fresh goods on the shelves first thing in the morning. I don't know who the first late night revellers to twig to this were, but clearly they realised they were on to a good thing.

I was inducted into this ritual in the mid nineties after a night out in Wellington. We stumbled into the Hataitai bakery at about 3am, to be met by bright lights, friendly islander staff, and shelves full of fresh baked goods on the shelves still warm from the oven.
The bakery soon became a regular calling point on the way home.

There are certain etiquette rules to follow when visiting a bakery at this time of day. They are designed to embrace the fact that you will be either drunk or very tired or both (ideally).

1. Stumble through the door. Trip on the sill or catch the door handle on your clothing, its up to you. Improvise if necessary. This should be relatively comedic (see rule 4). Sober drivers are excempted from rule 1 on the grounds of needing to appear sober as well as actually being sober. In fact sober drivers are excempted from most of the rules, in order to gain maximum amusement from watching their non-sober charges adhere to them.
2. Hold the door open for the gorgeous girl/guy who is leaving as you enter. It's about a 1/1000 chance, but your night may just pick up here.
3.Talk loudly to your mates and the staff in hoarse voices. You will be hoarse having to yell at each other in the nightclubs and bars, and slightly deaf for the same reason.
4. Laugh a lot. EVERYTHING is humourous in this situation and at this time of night.
5. Take AGES to choose your purchase. Its a big decision. The severity of your hangover and your need for breakfast may depend on it.
6. Rifle through every pocket, purse or carryall to find the correct money. Again, take your time.
7. Buy something glorious and munchie vanquishing.
8. Take it outside and eat it from the ubiquitous brown paper bag. Park benches and carseats are good eating locations, but failing that the footpath or kerb will suffice. Babble happily to other bakery patrons. Reflect on your good night out.
9. Go home and sleep it off. The night is essentially over. Unless rule 2 worked out for you, or you are introducing a new potentially special person to your late night rituals.

In addition to the Hataitai Bakery, the Moera Bakery was/is a good stop on the way home for Hutt folk. I recall many visits to it sometime around dawn. For those wanting the good night out to go on just a little longer, the Hataitai is a good bet. It got to the point with us where someone just had to say "Bakery?!", and we would head off for the short trip around the basin and through the tunnel to where the good honest food was.

And the food was good. Baguettes, sticky buns, coffee buns, rolls, pies. I think the king was the still warm cheese and bacon loaf.

Even though I am using the past tense, I still partake in late night bakery calls when the mood is right. There was a quality dip at Hataitai a couple of years ago, causing much lamentation, but I am reliably informed that it has returned to its regular good form.

So find a good bakery and add it to your night.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Not sure what I'm doing with this post, if its introspection, cartharsis or what, but bear with me.

I got Fi back from her conference in Auckland yesterday, and I am incredibly grateful for that.

Last Friday night we went out for drinks with some of my coworkers in honour of one who is leaving us to pursue his masters degree. Fi and I didn't stay long as we were going to a movie. As we were leaving another co worker arrived with his wife in tow. I had only met her briefly a couple of times and was a bit disappointed we couldn't stay longer and get to know her a little more.

Tomorrow we're going to her funeral.

This is absolutely tragic in more ways than I care to relate here, but whats been doing my head in for the last couple of days is that we could see someone happy, healthy, laughing and joking, when all the time someone could have pointed at her and said "you have less than five days to live. You won't see it coming, you won't get any warning, you'll just be gone."

Death is manageable as an abstract but in close proximity even when you barely know the deceased it gets messy. At work we had good news, bad news, scant details, then final announcements. There have been times this week when I have wished my memory would fail me and I could just forget.

I have found I can usually compartmentalise my emotions pretty well but the end of life breaks down those walls. I'm wondering if being *this* (brings thumb and forefinger together in a dramatic fashion) close to being dead once has a role in this, or perhaps I am more sensitive than I care to admit, or maybe I just really don't like people dying.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Brown eyed girl

I looked it up, the above Van Morrison song was released in 1967. So Reidun, Notkate and I were all wrong.

The ghost of Nightclubs past

Further to conversation of last night:
Notkate, Reidun might like to have a look at this

Shopping poster. The Christmas eve referred to is 1998.

And a Shopping flyer

I wound up at shopping with a bunch of cohorts in the wee small hours of Jan 1 1999 after a party at Knife's flat in Karori. It was hot and sweaty. The humidity generated from a mass of people in a small space made the walls run with moisture, and eventually drip from the ceiling. This is the only time I have been in a nightclub that has generated its own rain. A mate and I took a breather outside, where some random guy took a photo of us sitting on a step, drenched with sweat and exuberance. I'd love to see it someday. Rather than take a photo, I took a poster.

Now, the story as I understand it was that shopping was occupying a space between leases, and was only temporary. This is reinforced by the dates on the flyer. Reidun reckoned it was around for longer. I'm figuring d3vo might know the truth.

My clubbing phase pretty much ended in the early '00s. I just kinda lost interest. I turned 20 in 1996. The night I turned 20 we went out on the town. I remember going to Planet (now the Sports Cafe) before midnight, and the bouncer letting me in as I would be twenty by the time I left. I liked Planet. It was a good warm up bar. It was never great, but it was never truly dire either. It had a good consistency.

The Reading complex was a carpark then. Where the frontage is now there was a wooden fence with a couple of piecarts. Kenny was still actually busking rather than existing off donations

I've been thinking of other bars that were around then that are gone now. Shooters was located where the Cue room is now. What is now Rain was occupied by The Big Easy (or the Big Sleazy) as it was more commonly known. The Opera was where The Establishment is now, and of course, the legendary Tatou (which no-one could agree on how to pronounce) was still providing the end of the night haven for the hardcore reveller. This particular night ended at around 5am at The Bull and Bear, after watching the All Blacks win a test series in South Africa for the first time.

Then it would have been off to the bakery for breakfast before going to bed.

I'll be off line for a few days while Fi takes the laptop to Auckland for a work conference. I'll talk about the vital role of the bakery in the come down when I return. As well as the cultish aspects of bakery visiting.

It's been two years but,

Sunday mornings still aren't the same without Channel Z's "resurrection selection"

The Jazz show on Active is no substitute.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Big Fish and notes

"Makes Jaws look like a goldfish", reads the billboard on the Hutt Motorway advertising the James Woods TV vehicle "Shark".

Aside from the utter uncreativeness of the line, it is also in error. No mere lawyer can diminish Spielberg and Benchley's Great White.

This on the other hand, manages it quite well. Imagine the biggest Great White shark you can (the official record is 7.1 metres long). Now enlarge it by two or three times and you have a creature that primarily ate small whales, and could swallow you whole. Its extinct. We should probably be grateful, but imagine cage diving with one....
Another link here which I include solely because it includes the quote "50 Freakin feet!", as well as an interesting insight into the sort of turf wars scientists can engage in.

Why am I rambling about a giant dead shark, after viewing a billboard for a TV show I have neither seen nor intend to see?
I dunno, I saw the billboard, it made me wonder what could make Jaws look small, I've been interested in zoology and paleozoology since I was a kid, and knew about a shark more badass than Hollywood could ever dream, and here we are.

Really I am a closet greenie.

Interesing things I have discovered lately

If the UK participants are anything to go by, I am plenty knowledgable enough to go on "Who wants to be a millionaire", as are several of my friends.

A vast and majority proportion of commenters on youtube have absolutely no idea what they are talking about, but don't know it.

A shark's only tactile organs are its teeth and skin. They can see and smell of course but they learn about how things feel by biting them. Which is small consolation if one has just learned about you by biting your leg off, but hey it was just being curious. A lot of shark attacks only involve one bite, as the shark decides it doesn't like what it has just tasted and goes away to find something tastier.

Flying a Boeing 737 is much trickier than I thought it would be. Still, I didn't crash it, which is the primary object of the exercise.

Ancient boardgames

Further to my idea for recreating "Hungry hungry hippos" in breakage proof stainless steel or maybe titanium (clank clank clank clank), here are some old games that have been the subject of discussion lately.

Chopper strike
I suspect this one looks way cooler than it is to play. I have dim memories of playing it when I was about seven and enjoying it, but I was seven, so it probably gets old quickly

The Incredible Hulk
I'm pretty sure this was the one that had the wind up hulk that randomly roamed the board knocking down the little plastic buildings that would just as easily fall over on their own, even though said hulk isn't actually visible in the photos.

Generally agreed to be way more fun to set up and activate than actually play. Didn't know it originally dates from 1963.

Also from the early sixties, this one actually wasn't bad. I have an inherited copy somewhere at my parents place.

Run to the water II

Had my belated first swim of the summer after netball at petone beach. Only vague nudity was involved as it was still daylight. The skinny dipping thing is more of a nighttime ideal, and best practiced as a group.
The water was bracingly cold at first but once acclimatised was quite nice. Helps if you run headlong into it rather than inching I find.

Crazy netball lady

I looked forward to playing her tonight and she didn't disappoint. She is strange...she'd be a lot better player if she didn't try to be so fancy, but in the meantime she is amusing as hell. I thought she was going to so a full on lay-up at one point. Apologies if some of you have no idea what I am talking about, but the Sparkle Motioners will. I'd like to say we won a hard fought victory tonight, but I think the reality is that we nearly lost rather than they nearly won if that makes sense. I blame the heat and the eternal 6:20 rut we seem to be in robbing us of our zing.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Run to the water

Listening to: At the drive-in: Relationship of Command

I think

its high time

some group skinnydipping occured.

There'll never be a better time.

Day's, Turakina, or Scorching Bays would be ideal locations.

That is all

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Flying into the sunset

Listening to: Primal Scream-Screamedelica

Talking about the comet again......well it is my blog.
For those who thought that Comet Mcnaught on Saturday was a bit disappointing, here is what it looked like last Tuesday (23rd Jan) when it briefly appeared from behind the dominating clouds. I am quite surprised this came out given that it was about a four second exposure and the comet was barely visible through the lens, combined with a cheap tripod providing a less then steady platform.

It's fading now. I saw it again last night and it was only faintly discernable through all the light noise of Hutt Valley and Wellington. Still, glad that I saw it and will have a story to tell about the brightest comet for forty years. Definitely not an everyday occurence. In terms of spectacle it was way more bang for your buck than Halley's Comet twenty years ago. That was a not very bright smudge only about a quarter the apparent size. Still, glad I saw that too.

I think its way too easy these days to act too cool for school about these things. Sometimes you need to sit back and enjoy the scenery.