Monday, April 30, 2007


Listening to: One of my comps.

Just felt like putting up some pretty pictures tonight
Tory Channel entrance, Cook Strait
Kapiti, Mana, and North Islands, with Mount Egmont visible also if you really screw up the contrast.
The brooding and lonely south coast of Wellington
Western sky from Kelson
Mount Taranaki from the Centennial Memorial, Manawatu.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Answer me this 2

In order to let the meme propagated here run its course, I have questions ready for the willing...

Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday I'm in love

The girl who I was dating when the above Cure song was released hated it. Its not my favourite Cure song I admit, but clearly we weren't meant to be. I'm only using it because it is Friday and as this is a multi headed post (Hydric? Hydratic?), no title will cover all bases. Although I have been listening to some Cure today.

ANZAC redux
Good summary of discussion of ANZAC day, and protest actions here (including me. Thanks Morgue, I think. I am in some very interesting company!), ranging from lucid to loony.

While I love the internet as a vehicle for free speech, I also love that I don't have to agree with it all.

I had a look at some of the protest viewpoints, but haven't changed my view of their protest. A lot of the arguments are only tenable within the context of certain agendas. I don't think attending a dawn service is in any way glorifying war or otherwise militaristic. I would argue the opposite. I don't buy the encouraging nationalism argument either. There is a myth making element to proceedings which I don't agree with, and I'd argue a lot of veterans wouldn't agree with if asked (all of the veterans I have met are very ordinary people who were involved in extraordinary circumstances, and will often express that). I don't like the extensive repetition of two stanzas of "The Fallen", particularly the "stauch to the end" and "fell with their faces to the foe" references, which I don't think are entirely honest, unless in some participatory metaphor sense (one of my dead cousins was shot by a sniper while returning from choir practice. Not especially heroic. It's a nice piece of prose though).

I find it slightly offensive that some commentators seem to think they know what my thoughts or my motivations are in supporting ANZAC day, and then adopt an air of intellectual superiority in decrying them. I am not going to quote specifics here, it is a general feeling I have after a few hours of rant perusal (I also feel that as a happily married, gainfully employed, mortgage paying middle class white male I am perceived as the enemy by some, and most things are my fault. But that is entirely an aside).

That's about as much political commentary as I am prepared to have on this blog. Others do it much better than I do, and I am not going to host the ranters and haters on my comments pages. I also don't fall into either the left or the right camps as I understand them, so don't have a particularly suitable codified viewpoint. I view things issue by issue. I don't have an agenda. I don't have time. I respect those who can find the time to totally define their view and promulgate it, but I am too busy getting on with my day to day life. Call me selfish or ignorant, but that is the way it is.

Wall 1, OB 0

Out of sheer frustration at a predicament I found myself in at work last night, which was not of my own making, I kicked a wall with my steelcap shod foot, hard. I think I sprained my ankle slightly, or at least bruised something, because there is ache and pain where there previously was not. Also wondering if I might have a slight anger management issue. I tend to lash out at inanimate unbreakable objects when really wound up.

The above is a mental conversation I often have when driving to work in the morning. The road north is very tempting sometimes.
To decompress after a difficult week or two at work, I used my post evening shift day off today to go for a drive. I left a lot later than I intended to, after being at work until 3am this morning. I like long drives. They clear my head, particularly on on the roads less travelled that I like to explore, meaning I have to switch off more and more of my cognitive brain to concentrate on being safe. I like driving, and think I am good at it (bearing in mind it is a known that drivers tend to overestimate their abilities). I am a very defensive driver, having firsthand experience of the results of aggressive habits.
I can also listen to good music. Today I listened the new Kings of Leon (sorry 2trees! No-one is the king of you!), the newish Twilight Singers, and a new comp I made, which was originally intended for the southern sojourn (Take note Rich and Stretch, I had you in mind when I originally compiled it), but was delayed because I couldn't find my A-ha CD, which had been misplaced when moving houses. The track list changed a little in the ensuing month until I figured out where the A-ha CD was, but not very much.

1. Sweetness-Jimmy Eat World
2.Watching the wheels-John Lennon
3.Inside Track-Headless Chickens
4.Worlds Apart-Bruce Springsteen
5.System Virtue (radio edit)-Emma Paki
6.Growing on me-The Darkness
7.Lovesong-The Cure
9.Carry on-Motorace
11.The Sun Always Shines on T.V.- A-ha. Is it me or does the instrumental on this sound like house music, or at least what I think is House?. I am not an expert on dance and electronica but this song predates it by a few years.
12.Swimming in your Ocean-Crash Test Dummies
13.Long long way to go-Phil Collins
14.Close to me (closet re-mix)-The Cure
15.Twilite Kid-The Twilight Singers
16.Edge of Nowhere-Hunters and Collectors
17.I'm on Fire-Bruce Springsteen
18.Boys of Summer-Don Henley

I dropped in to the museum at Ohakea one last time before it gets closed, future uncertain, and briefly visited Palmy. I explored an old haunt at Raumati Beach as well.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Listening to: The Superjesus-Jet Age. Been ages since I've had this one on, I want to see if I still like it.

Today is the first ANZAC day in about ten years that I haven't gone to a dawn service. Working evenings and getting home after midnight will do that. I used to go to services with my father when I was young, which was I think my Dad's way of stopping me getting too gung-ho with my military interests. It worked. I've always had an interest in military history, warfare and weaponry, but that has always been tempered by the knowledge that at the sharp end warfare is deeply unpleasant (I think a lot of enthusiasts and to an extent gamers miss this point. I was reminded of this recently when overhearing some guys at work discussing an email video of some poor schmo in Iraq being mown down by machine gun fire after pointing a rocket launcher at a US tank. An enemy, maybe a fundy, maybe even Al Quaeda, brave but not too smart, but still a living breathing person. I found it deeply unsettling to hear people discussing violent death like it was some kind of funny home video or sports highlight).

I started going again about ten years ago after meeting veterans at the RSA Dad was working at. I wanted to show my respect and gratitude for their experiences.

I mentioned in my 101 things that there is a lot of military in my family. Dad was in the Air Force from 1957-81, Fi's parents are ex Army (her father fought in the euphemistically titled Malayan 'emergency'), Fi's brother in law is in the Air Force (and played bagpipes at the dedication of the NZ war memorial in London last year), Fi's grandfather served in the desert campaigns of World War Two, Dad's brother fought in the Korean War (1950-53), his father was wounded at the Somme in World War One, and two of my cousins were killed in the same conflict. Were I not an asthmatic I would have joined the Air Force at 18.

For a New Zealand/English family this is probably a fairly typical summary. For a small country, we have always contributed above our share, rightly or wrongly. Hindsight is a wonderful thing when reviewing decisions to send people to war, especially if it is someone else's war. I'm not sure it is fair to judge.

From his own experiences, Dad was always willing to point out that warfare was not like it was depicted in the Commando comics I devoured as a child. Real people suffered and died. Neither his father or his brother ever really talked about their experiences.

The modern resurgence in attendance at ANZAC day parades is encouraging. It means people are taking an interest in the past, and their ancestry. I dismiss the notion that ANZAC day is somehow glorifying or mythologising war (although I feel the media coverage may be tending this way, ever willing to amplify the truth).

If the protestors at the Wellington service this morning acted as depicted by a number of sources, they should be ashamed of themselves. Trying to disrupt a memorial service, burning the flag and heckling veterans is crossing the line. I think that is incredibly inappropriate, arrogant, ignorant, and disrespectful. There is a time and a place for that, and it isn't today. Free speech sure, but accompanying free speech there is responsibility.

The intention of ANZAC day has always been to remember those who didn't come home, and acknowledge those who did. Just like Easter, take a moment to bear in mind the reason you have a day off, and be thankful it is not you being honoured.

PS, interesting to see Jessica Lynch testifying before congress today about how much of the 'Saving Private Lynch' story was a total PR fabrication. Gives me hope for the US.

Answer me this!

Listening to: Powder Burn-The Twilight Singers
Drinking: Oranjeboom! Anything with 'boom' in the name needs an exclamation mark I think.

So while doing some random blogroll reading at the H-perm system, I came across the special-K questionator. Not being one to shirk from a complete strangers (although this is Wellington. We likely know someone in common or have been to the same party at some time) offer of personal questions, I took the bait. And here we are.

1. Have you ever forgotten to put underpants on? What happened?
Never, although I once forgot to take them off before putting togs on when I was seven. That seems to be fashionable (even if it is gross) amongst young males these days anyhow, so I am not sure that is of any consequence. A cousin of mine once forgot to put her underwear on before school. It's a family legend.

2.Whats the best thing about you?
This was hard. If you ask my wife she'd probably say my butt, but from my perspective it is difficult to answer. The best thing about me I think is all the cool people I have managed to incorporate into my life without alienating them at some point or another.
I am modest, I don't like to talk myself up.

3.Have you ever done something you're not proud of? What was it and why did you do it?
Anyone who answers no to this is either incredibly virtuous or a liar. I have done many things I am not proud of, mostly when I was a child. I think the worst was not taking seventh form seriously enough and failing half my subjects, which was a huge let down for my parents. I made my mum cry. In typical teenage fashion, I thought I knew it all, didn't have to do coursework or study, and could cram enough to pass. This habit persisted for a couple of years into my tertiary education as well. I was a dumbass.

4.Whats the biggest let down you've ever had?
Getting all set to leave for a big overseas trip when I was 13, the first time I would be travelling overseas, and finding out at the airport check-in counter that there had been a miscommunication, and we didn't have the right visas, and would not in fact be flying to Los Angeles today. We sorted it out and left the next day, but initially it was a huge disappointment.

5.Have you ever had a "penny drop" moment? What happened?
Many many. I'll relate one from almost a decade ago. Got to a party when I was a student and was told by a third party that a girl who I'd been friends with, fallen out with, thought I'd reconciled with, had been telling all our mutual friends different things than what she had been telling me, and they weren't terribly useful or complimentary or actually true things. It's a long story, not terribly complimentary to anyone involved, including me. Haven't spoken to her since. 1998 was a difficult year.

There. I love how this blogging thing works. I am still considering the offered topics. Some of them require research before coherent consideration. Be patient....

Saturday, April 21, 2007

No more trees and defining a Hutt identity

Turns out the trees at the back of our place weren't inside our property line after all (although one was on the line, and shouldn't have been touched). Our normal dawn chorus of birdsong has been replaced this week by chainsaws. I liked having the trees there. By ring counting I reckon the oldest were at least thirty years old. However, I am looking on the bright side. The backyard is now dramatically improved for stargazing purposes, and our view to the south has been widened.
Even though they were non native firs, and thus ideologically unsound, I don't like seeing trees fall. I would like to plant a garden of native podocarps to fill the gap.
What defines the Hutt Spirit
(Lower Hutt colours: green and gold)
This is the first of the suggested topics I'll have a go at. I have been actively pondering it since it was suggested. I think I am too close to the subject to be objective though.
I have lived in Lower Hutt for 25 of my 30 years. Wellington is my city, but Lower Hutt is my hometown. I'm not sure I can identify a particular archetype that can't be associated also with the rest of New Zealand.
The first European settlers lasted only a few months on the Petone foreshore before upping sticks and relocating to Thorndon on the other side of the harbour. Lower Hutt I think exists perpetually in the shadow of Wellington, although it could be argued that Wellington could not have prospered without the Hutt Valley to provide space for workers and industry, as well as food production.
The Hutt Valley appears to have something of a poor reputation nationally, promulgated mostly in my experience by those who have never lived there. It is said to be a tough neighbourhood, full of criminality and promiscuity, of hard men and harder women, a place of low class and white trash. Some areas may be like that it is true, but most of it isn't, which pretty much goes for any decent sized urban area in the country.
Where this comes from I have never figured out (although the Juvenile Delinquency/Milkbar cowboys scandals of the 1950's may have something to do with it), and it riles me a little. If ignorant people think I am harder and tougher than I am simply because of where I grew up, thats OK. When my hometown becomes the butt of jokes for no reason I can see it gets annoying. The Hutt Valley of joke emails and stand-up comedy is not the one I know.
I disagree entirely with the assessment of the Hutt spirit as being essentially bogan. The Hutt is no more bogan than any other urbanised area of New Zealand, no more than Levin is full of market gardening Chinese, or Seattle full of flannel wearing, coffee drinking alternative muso's. It has its fair share of slappers and mullets, but no more than many, and a good deal less than some other places in NZ. We don't have a speedway track in the suburbs like Palmy or Auckland.
The Hutt is a fairly unsophisticated place admittedly, although I think having the capital city only ten miles away doesn't help this. Wellington will always be the dominant partner in the relationship. While it is unsophisticated, at the same time it is not backward.
I think any Hutt attitude will be influenced by the topography. In my teens I often looked at the hills in the same way I would regard a prison fence; a boundary set too close, ever present and visible, and needing to be overcome. It is fairly rugged terrain in which we live.
An important part of the Hutt spirit is a willingness to travel when required. A lot of people who live in the valley don't work there. Hutt people seldom think about making a car or train journey of half an hour or more to get to say, Wellington. A lot of resident Wellingtonians (not all mind) display a marked reluctance to move beyond the city.
I still haven't done much defining. Any features of a particular Hutt attitude (hardnosed, willing to speak up, insular and outward looking at the same time, wary of change but embracing of good ideas) could be assigned to New Zealanders as a whole. I don't think New Zealand is old enough or big enough for properly discernable regional attitudes and identities to have formed, but I'm not a sociologist, so I don't quote me on that.
So in answer to the question, I don't rightly know.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Friday the 13th

I sense I missed an opportunity by not posting on Friday. Having Friday the 13th as a post date would have been cool.

I'm not a big believer in 13 as an unlucky number. When I was in form one I wore the number 13 soccer jersey in my team, since then I have always sought it where possible for team apparel.

I have a head cold, which I don't like very much. My sore throat is affecting my speech, by way of being really painfully aggravated my normal volume speaking, so at the moment I am talking like this. Working in a noisy environment means this is somewhat difficult. I also have a trainee shadowing me, which makes it even worse, as I have to speak to explain things. My eustachian tubes are also blocked, which makes driving up and down our hill interesting.

I really shouldn't play netball when I am already in a bad mood. Sometimes it cures it, but mostly it seems to aggravate it, and I play dumb and get all mood swingy and aggressive. Although I stand by my comment that our third quarter last night really was a "Fu**ing shambles", largely due my crap two point shooting (0/5) upon which my offensive plan for the quarter hinged.

I am considering some of Notkates post ideas. Lines are still open on this one.

Easter weekend
As related here, we shot over to Blenheim on Easter Saturday for an airshow.

Our flight to Picton in this was brief but highly entertaining. Any day I get to fly is a good day.

Meet the Fokkers. 7 Fokker triplanes in the same bit of sky. Cool.

Unforunately, I had a slightly too slow shutter speed selected for a good portion of the afternoon, as this picture of the Corsair shows. Still, the propeller is nice and blurry though. With propellored aircraft shutter speed is a very fine balance. Too slow and you get blur, too fast and the propellor 'stops' and appears motionless, making the plane look as though it is about to crash, and really screwing up the dynamic of the photo.

The Huey display was nice and dynamic as well. Not bad for a 40+ year old airframe.

Not as dangerous as it looks. But it looks cool.

The Air Force Cat Tree Climbing team also put in an appearance, courtesy of Sporran.


The food at Matterhorn was nice, but I consider $6.50 for a bottle of Mac's Gold pointlessly expensive. I have been to Mighty Mighty a couple of times now and it is starting to grow on me. I like how it seems to encourage eccentricity.

Pan's Labyrinth

Seen tonight. I liked it, although the mix of trailers beforehand was a little wierd. "Terrabithia", followed by "Shooter". What audience are they expecting? Are movies like "Terrabithia" the price we pay for the "Lord of the Rings" success?

I expect Pan's would be a lot more meaningful and resonant if I were Spanish and more aware of the period in which it is set in a being 'part of my countrys recent history' context. It was nice to see a subtitled film attract such a big audience. I can remember a time not so long ago when subtitles were box-office death. I saw a lot of subtitled movies in near empty houses in the 90's.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


In a not happy with customer service in pissed off enough to make a proper complaint kinda way tonight. In the meantime I feel like some old fashioned bad mouthing.

Despite twice asking two separate operators at Camera House, Westfield Queensgate, and thinking I had made myself explicitly clear, it turns out they just don't listen, and failed to put my airshow pictures from Saturday on CD when I developed my films, which would have been the most easy and convenient time to do so for all involved. I was going to post some in various web places including here.
Now I can't without more waiting and inconvenience.
I'm not sure what has happened at that shop. Service last year was brilliant, now it seems fairly incompetent, and I am on the verge of taking my business elsewhere. Not paying attention to customers and making assumptions about their needs appears to be becoming habitual there, as this is not the first time I have been a bit miffed there in recent months. I also feel that as a film user I am an inconvenience.

Also ignoring customer requests lately seems to be Animates Lower Hutt, who ignored Fi's position at the top of a waiting list to sell new rats to other people, without even telling people on the waiting list the rats were available. Useless.

To cleanse the air, here is a nice photo of the sunset from New Brighton pier:

Symbolically farewelling summer.

After Devo's question and answer thing, I had an idea. Suggest a post topic you would like to read me blathering on about, and I will endeavour to comply.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Fading away

Listening to: Gentlemen-The Afghan Whigs
When it comes to being alone at home with the stereo on, I'm with Billy.
Drinking Becks.

I'm fading away. I know I'm fading away because everyone I meet who hasn't seen me for a while tells me how trim I look and says "wow you've lost weight, whats your secret?" or some such.

I don't have a secret. I live in a house with lots of stairs, exercise moderately, and try to eat well. Other than that I am making no concious effort to decrease in mass. It just happens.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

For today

Listening to: Galore-The Cure

So as I enjoyed the autumn sun on the Picton Ferry on a calm still day today, listening to an excited group of Italians see Wellington for the first time, I wondered what it would be like to see Wellington for the first time, and was happy that I can call Wellington home.

The ferry crossing today was primo, the calmest I have ever seen Cook Strait. I challenged myself not to take any sea-sickness medication, and didn't, and didn't need it. Took some cool late afternoon moody sunlit photos as well.

The video for Netherworld Dancing Toy's 1985 hit "For Today" was partly shot on the Arahura, which I travelled on today. By coincidence I saw the video last night, and it was fun identifying specific locations 22 years later.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Death by Chocolate

So on the day I do my round of familial easter chocolate shopping, what happens?

I win the huge hamper in the work social club raffle, full of eggs, bunnies almonds and the like.

There is a super abundance of chocolate in my house.

I am the law

Welcoming Judge&Jury to the blogroll. He needs a place to rant, and the blogosphere provideth. I'm sure there will be some nice philosophical ramblings as well, and as he is pretty switched on, a considerable degree of intelligent observation also. I will be disappointed if there are not occasional comic or Wonder Woman references either, served up with lashings of dry wit.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Pondering things

Listening to: Starlifter-Fur Patrol

Late night after a bout of Twilight Shift combat brings out the thoughtfulness.

-Devo's school reunion post caused a lot of pondering. It has occured to me that I may have one or two unresolved issues relating to my high school experiences. I am thinking of getting into them here, but I'm not sure I am ready to reveal that much on this blog yet.

-My 1995 car accident has come up a few times lately. I'm not sure I am ready to get into the details of that yet either. Or maybe I just haven't figured out the right words.

-The stars are my friends. They are my companions when driving home on nights like this. Sometimes I detour to a darker place away from the city lights and just bask in their ancient glory. The night sky is an illusion. When you look at the stars, you are looking back in time, because the speed of light is slow, and the distances to travel are enormous almost beyond comprehension. I like that. We can never see the night sky as it is, only as it was.

-My job seems to be getting harder and harder, and less and less enjoyable. I more and more am thinking about moving on. I have no idea what to. I'm getting particularly frustrated with being asked to do new tasks with no instruction or experience, and inadequate briefing. Nearly incurred a major time wasting loss tonight because of the inadequate brief. Monetary loss would have also ensued, but the time and effort wasted is more important.
I didn't get either of the internal positions I applied for, despite being admitted to by an HR person that I was more than qualified and would have been competent in either.
F**k 'em, its their loss.

-It's odd, while I am happy to use profanity in my speech, I don't like using it in anything I write.

-I was so thrilled to get my car back after a warrant and service that I backed it into a lamppost at the garage. Now I have to find out if the cost of panel beating is less than the excess, and thus if it is worth claiming.

-When I get home late at night I like to spend a few moments watching my wife sleep.

-Not all friends have to be your best friend. This has taken a long time to figure out. Different friends serve different purposes.

-I particularly enjoyed throwing the long pass from halfway to the backnet, over at least three defenders to NK for the succesful score at netball last night.

-Having the theme from 'Happy Days' stuck in your head is infinitely preferable to having the theme from 'Neighbours' stuck in your head.

-'Life on Mars' wrapped up pretty well. Thoroughly enjoyed the series. One of my favourite moments with Moto (our recently gone-home Japanese boarder) was watching 'Life on Mars' with him and explaining all the accents and slang to him. I think because my father is from northern England I have an affinity for their language, and enjoy hearing it.
My other regular watch 'Jericho' just got a bit more interesting, after a flat few episodes.

-'Starlifter' is a pretty good EP.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

I am serenity

So I did the serenity thing that Ethel posted some time ago, which I meant to do at the time, but never got round to.
I think I confused the poor thing. I am WashKayleeMalZoe. Not sure about the 20% reaver result.

Your results:
You are Wash (Ship Pilot)

Wash (Ship Pilot)
Kaylee Frye (Ship Mechanic)
Malcolm Reynolds (Captain)
Zoe Washburne (Second-in-command)
Dr. Simon Tam (Ship Medic)
Jayne Cobb (Mercenary)
River (Stowaway)
Derrial Book (Shepherd)
Inara Serra (Companion)
A Reaver (Cannibal)
You are a pilot with a good
if not silly sense of humor.
You take pride in your collection of toys.
You love your significant other.

Click here to take the Serenity Firefly Personality Test