Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Listening to: The quiet house. Apart from rats nibbling on things and ripping paper, Moreporks in the distance, and Fi sneezing.

I thought a while ago I would describe exactly who is who on my blogroll, but then I realised that most of you know each other anyway, so it would be kinda pointless.

I can however, almost guarantee no-one knows fair Lauren, being that she is Canadian, and currently resides in said Canada. That said, she will no doubt meet most of the local crew when she arrives at chez Kelson (that is, my chez Kelson, not Judge+Jurys chez Kelson, which is actually Stretch's chez Kelson) in mid July for a four month stay as our houseguest.

Also added today is the Alligator, who needs little introduction. I am slowly spreading the word of nails.

The man who formely used to drive me to many places in a Red Trueno whilst barefoot joins us.

As does the lovely Miss M.

Spanblather for some of the 'others do intelligent commentary much better than I can' (hey I can quote myself on my own blog if I want) relevance, and to keep me informed on various things.

Plus a couple of webcomics in the interest links I have been pointed to lately, and an old favourite (Laughs 1, 2, 3).

And sadly, a moment of silence, a raised glass and a bowed head to the creator of the brilliant Rest area 300, who it would appear is no longer among us.

Cheers Dodderyoldfart. I very much enjoyed your work, and thank you for sharing it with us.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Listening to Fi watch CSI on TV. Ostensibly Crime Scene Investigation, but more often Crap Science Insulting my intelligence. Still, it does have KC from KC in it.

These things become ritualised.

Check the nails to make sure they are short enough. Find the right socks. Left shoe on first, then the right. Tape over the ear-ring so it can't catch a unwary finger. Find some shorts and a t-shirt that is ready to go into the wash.

Pack the bag. All the usual stuff, plus a water bottle, maybe a sweatband or bandanna if its hot. If its cold, you put on extra layers. Then you hit the road.

The city unfolds before you on the motorway, then just when you seem about to dive into its heart, you skip off to one side. Occasionally you'll nip into the city to pick someone up, but you want to make it quick, like a burglar or panic shopper, get, make the pick up, get out. Wait too long on the side of the road and you'll get antsy, especially if the traffic is still heavy.

Your mind is on whats going to happen in the next hour or so. The drive up Hanson Street, with its speed humps, can seem endless if your're in a hurry. Turn right into Hall Street, then right again to go up the too narrow driveway, with its too tall speed hump at the top that will scrape the underside of your car if you go straight over it. Find a park, near the door or up by Te Whaea if you're lucky and don't want too far to walk later when you are tired and sweaty and maybe injured.

You can hear the sound of whistles and umpires calls, and the beeps as the scoreboards register points. You pass the smokers huddled outside. You don't remember the first time you came here; it is long enough ago not to matter anymore. This place is intimately familiar to you now.

Entering the building, there is the familiar aroma of stale cigarette smoke and fried food as you pass through the door. From the relative peace outside you are assaulted by bright lights, usually a small crowd milling around the registration desk, the noise of games and music.

Once in, you look up to the left to check the chalkboard for the court you have been assigned. In winter you want the upstairs courts with the sprung floorboards, as heat rises and the courts will be warm. In summer they will be shoe melting, eye stingingly hot and humid, and the downstairs courts will be your preference.

You check in with your team, pay your money, get your bibs, and wait. You watch the game ahead of you and check who the umpire is, and try to figure out what sort of mood they're in. If your opponents are milling around, you check them out too. Do they look onto it or clueless? Have you met them before? Have you defeated them before? Are they clean or dirty players?

Warm up if you have the chance. If you sprain a finger with a wedding ring on it, there is a good chance the ring will have to be cut off once the swelling sets in, so it is removed, along with your watch.

The game in front of you ends. You rush onto the court to grab the ball, so you can have some practice with your team in the few minutes before the game starts, and deny your opposition the chance to throw the match ball around.

If your opposition are particularly clueless and disorganised, they won't be ready. Your team is already on the court and ready, they are stuffing around, and if the clock has started, wasting precious gametime. You're all psyched up and no place to go.

Get your eye in with some shots at goal, and warm your hands up. The umpire checks your fingernails and jewelry aren't dangerous, and calls for the ball.

Players take their positions, and two centres meet at halfway for the toss. The clock starts, the whistle blows, and the ball is thrown.

The game begins...

Friday, May 25, 2007

more with the accent thing

This was rather serendipitous after my recent blather about accents.

TV3 news item today about how the Kiwi Accent is evolving.

Ahh Philip Sherry. Now theres a sensible no-nonsense newsreader if ever there was one.

Plus comments from some rather excitable types.

In other news, it was discovered at the weekend that our new 50 and 20 cent pieces are simply crap for use in table rugby. Too small and too light.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Listening to: World Party-Private Revolution

The hardest part about writing a blog I have found is not convincing others to read it, but convincing myself it is worth reading.

That said, I quite like some of the stuff I have come up with.

Here are my favourite posts from my first year (it occurs to me that this could become an annual tradition) revisited.

The ghost car of state highway 2

Mosh pit etiquette

The Bakery Cult

The Challenge

The Tao of indoor netball

Taking 'Snakes on a plane' altogether too seriously

My uncle Harry

A week of looking at Wellington

The southern Sojourn, 1, 2, 3

The Levin roadtrip

Comet chasing

Love and Hate

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Love your accent

Listening to: The Fragile-Nine Inch Nails

Lauren, our Canadian soon to be housemate sent us a list of kiwi slang (linky) for verification. It is surprisingly accurate. I say surprisingly, because most lists I have seen of this kind tend to be completely archaic. That said, I have never heard or used 'Boohai' in a conversation, nor have I encountered 'Tata' lately in any context other than humorous. I have been to Eketahuna though.

Laurens comments about accents here got me to thinking. Is it possible to write in an accent? I'm not talking Irvine Welsh/Trainspotting phonetic dialectical style here, but a more subtle thing in terms of phraseology or dialect that imparts a regional characteristic.

As evidenced here I apparently handwrite like a boy. I am curious if there is anything in the way I type or express that marks me as a New Zealander.

Which brings us in a roundabout way to vocal accents. I love accents, I love hearing them and then trying to decipher where exactly they are from. I like my own accent, even though it does tend to mangle softer consonants like 'l's.

It was amusing to read Lauren describing my accent as 'heavy'. I would consider it mid range personally as kiwi accents go, but then I seldom get to hear myself speak, and cringe when I do, so I am not sure I have any basis for comparison. I can have two accents depending on the company. I use my normal accent (which I think of as the lazy one) for general conversation and such, and reserve a slightly more focussed, clear, clipped and 'proper' accent for more formal occasions like talking to a room full of people or job interviews.

Laurens canadian accent is interesting. It is a fairly neutral (to my ears) classic northern american accent, but with clear british and french influences, which perhaps you'd expect in Canada. It is odd to my ears to hear a north american voice use 'mum' instead of 'mom'. The use of 'no' at the end of a question (e.g. you were going out, no?) sounds french, Rich (whose mother is french and is a fluent french speaker himself) and I decided.

The New Zealand (and its sibling, the Australian) accents are apparently a mix of various UK accents. I'm not a linguist, but this seems borne out to me by listening to those UK accents. At times a word will be said in exactly the same way as a New Zealander would. In the same way, at times UK words will be pronounced the same way a north american would.

I'm not sure either New Zealand or Australia have been english speaking long enough to develop strong regional accents. The only readily identifiable NZ english sub accent is from the southern South Island, which was largely settled by Scots, hence resulting in a pronounced rolled R (e.g I went to worrrk on the farrrm). By the same token, you could expect Dannevirke in the norhern Wairarapa to have a scandinavian influenced accent, although I have never met anyone from Dannevirke so don't know if this holds true. I have no idea if there are regional Maori accents. I think there may be some dialects though.

Another aspect of accents that is interesting to me is how some people can hold on to theirs indefinitely, while others lose them. I think my own accent is extremely malleable. After spending six days in Los Angeles as a teenager I noted myself starting to use californian phrases and inflections. My father is from Durham in Northen England, and the accent he grew up with is almost unintelligible on first encountering it, being not only very strong, but littered with the sort of dialect that can vary from town to town in the UK. That said, having lived in New Zealand since 1963, his accent has almost disappeared. Fi disagrees, saying he has a very strong accent, but all I can pick up is some elongation of certain vowels.

Maybe I should have been a linguist. I appear to have a gift for it.

Another aspect of talking to Lauren got me wondering about the etymolgy of certain phrases. The phrase "Getting along like a house on fire" entered my head more than once. Now the intended meaning is obvious, you get on well and enjoy the interaction, but the literal meaning? How does a burning house relate to a conversation?

"They got done like a dogs dinner" also causes confusion, as does 'Pack a sad'. Again, the intended meaning is obvious (if you've grown up with them, sorry Lauren!), but I'm not sure how they got to where they are as common phrases.

This has almost nothing to do with the above, but I'm closing with it as it is a nice piece of demonstrating flexible meanings. Its a quote from an irish soldier in a book I read once referring to a piece of equipment that was not working as intended:

"F*ck! The f*cking f*ckers f*cking f*cked!"


The comments label stubbornly refuses to appear for the previous post, no matter what combination of trickery and option resetting I try.

Monday, May 21, 2007

One year on

Listening to: Tears for Fears best of

My blog turns one year old today.

157 posts.

At least 50 odd "Listening to's".

Oodles of comments.

Some nice piccies.

Thoughts, expressions and imaginings.

Thanks to all who have read and said nice things, and all the nice folk I have encountered through doing this. I had no grand scheme for it when I started, and still don't, but I like the way it has turned out.

I was going to highlight a favourite post, but need some time to ponder it. Watch this space. Well actually the space somewhere up the page where it will turn up.

Just in case anyone didn't get the Ribena reference in the last episode, GlaxoSmithKline, Ribena's parent company were recently heavily fined in New Zealand after a high school science project showed that the vitamin C levels in their product were somewhat less than the advertising gave the impression of.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Aww, pretty!

There are two prevailing winds in the Wellington Region. One is a fearsome south/southeasterly, direct from Antarctica (often referred to as a lazy wind, as it tends to travel straight through you rather than bothering to go around).
The other is a north/northwesterly generated by large masses of air attempting to penetrate the gap in New Zealands mountain ranges that is Cook Strait.

On occasion, the northerly will condense as it passes over the northern reach of Cook Strait, leaving the lower North Island covered in cloud. As the cloud cover is incomplete, there is a clear air gap at the horizon, allowing the cloud to be lit from below, at say, sunset.
Looking roughly southwest it can be seen that the cloud stops pretty much where the island does (for those non-familiar with Welly geography, the distant mountains in the bottom right of the picture slope down to the sea on the other side).
I love how sunsets fill your house with warm reflected and refracted light.

In other news

I've been meaning to post about this for a while. As someone who enjoys a good sky, I think this is interesting, and this is a great idea.

Ribena is in damage control mode by the looks.

All together now : BWAAHAHAHAHAHA! One suspects they are still cleaning the bloodstains off the walls of their quality and marketing departments.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Build it and win

Listening to: Kings of Leon-Because of the times

So rather than just attend the Model Expo in Lower Hutt this weekend, as entries were open to the general public I thought I would enter some of my work instead of just admiring others. I know there are great modellers out there who exhibit excellent stuff, and I don't consider myself one of them, so I thought I would make up the numbers

Judge+Jury generously loaned me the Starfury I built him as a birthday present.

I also put out a couple of Skyhawks (which have previously graced the pages of this blog) and a Lightning (the grey pointy one) which I thought looked good. I was way surprised when the Skyhawks were awarded 2nd and 3rd in their category. Okay, so there were only five models in their category, and three of them were mine, so I was at least guaranteed a third place. But getting two awards is kinda stoking!
As occasionally happens with my surname, I became a Hill for a while, until Fi got it changed. I didn't really care, the unexpected award was nice enough. I got a couple of certificates, some decals, and a model I had been thinking of buying at some point, which was cool. Also in a fine example of geek humour, this was spotted in a line up of tanks.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ups and downs

Listening another comp. "Must go faster". A comp of very fast and up songs to drive/motivate/cheer up to. Like say "I wanna be a nudist" by Regurgitator and "Ty Cobb" by Soundgarden, and "Dirty Beats" by Roni Size and Reprazent.

Realised a couple of things this week.

1. I am somewhat stressed. The primary cause of that stress is my job.
2. I am merely doing my job properly for the sake of professionalism and perfectionism, not because I am actually interested in it anymore.
3. My head has a big bundle of negative energy (I can actually feel the tension between my eyes. Feels like a sinus headache) in it at the moment, which expresses by popping up terrifying thoughts at random moments.
4. This scared me until I realised it is just my brain trying to unload.
5. However, this has not stopped me from being worried about being stressed, which doesn't really help matters.

I am determined to find a new job, and actually do it this time, not like three or four other times I have said that in the past couple of years. If any of you who know me personally come across anything that strikes you as perfect for me, let me know. Tips, suggestions welcome.
Something that lets me not work nights and weekends preferred.

Had a good game of netball tonight. OK, so the opposition was all inexperienced girls on the court (where were their menfolk?), and they were all shorter than me, so in a sense it was clubbing baby seals, but it was the endorphinic game I needed.

I have been notified that I now form a small part of the ever interesting spanblather. Thank you span, I hope I don't disappoint. That goes for any spannerers that journey here from there.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Season of not quite suck

Listening to: Burned-Electrafixion

Okay so the Tuesday pick me up game didn't work. I am officially in what a sports hack would call a 'form slump'. I'm also chronically not getting enough sleep, and finding my job really unstimulating at the moment, which may be contributory factors.

Still there is hope. While Fi picked up a freebie after our scheduled match, I had a look around and picked up a freebie with none other than Rob Malcolm, who will be known to some readers. It was well fun, and I had a really good instinctual game, and shot some glorious two's over much taller than me defenders.

Perseverance will be rewarded. I will regain my mojo.

Way cool to play with Rob again. He was in the original dynasty team I played in at Cuba Street, 1997-1998 ish. I mentioned to Rob's team mates that we had played together a long time ago, and he said it was "half a lifetime", which isn't far from the truth. Still as tall and reachy as ever (Notkate, imagine a taller rangier version of Booner).
Didn't have time to catch up properly unfortunately. Social sport is like that.
Also Rob's game was umpired my favourite umpire, which was refreshing, as he is the best umpire I can think of, and I thought he had retired. And he knows me from Newtown. It feels good to have an umpire personally welcome you onto the court.

Now I have to go work on the sleep deficit.


Monday, May 07, 2007

The season of suck

Listening to: Wammo-Bailterspace. "The rockets have landed, the spacemen are stranded, not where they wanna beeee......"

You need a minder to be out here
The ground floor carpark at Queensgate (Hutt locals never call it Westfield), is apparently rated PG. This has potentially interesting permutations. I wonder if there is an R18 carpark somewhere.

The season of suck continues. Monday is normally my favourite netball night with my favourite netball team, but this season is different. Somehow we've been graded too high, and every week it feels like we are getting our arses handed to us on a plate by 20+ points or more. Losing by 10 or so is okay. At least you were competitive. Once you start getting up into the 15+ range thats the kicking zone. There is nothing wrong with our team, its just that the others in our grade are a lot better (if proof were needed, tonight we played a bunch of players who play for teams I have trialled for but failed to get into. I am not the best player in my team, but you get the point).

Its demoralising. When most of your plays get shut down with little or no apparent effort from the opposition, it starts feeling like you don't have any skill, knowledge, or clues. Irrational I know, but I'm talking subjectives here. My court confidence is taking a hammering. I'm trying not to let it, but meh it is starting to affect my game, so at times I am playing like I have no skill, knowledge or clues. I hate not enjoying my netball. It is one of my tools of happiness (working on a post about that D3vo!), and I don't like it being dysfunctional.

I acknowledge I'm being slightly hypocritical, in that I enjoy thrashing an opposition on occasion. It does get boring if you do it every week though (been there, done that).

My Thursday team is also suffering an absence of fun at times. Brand new team, not all the players have skills, experience or clues, which can make it really hard at times. Fun when it comes together though. They will be really good when the new folks have some nous.
It's times like these when I go running back to the Tuesday night team I occasionally play for. They are in a fairly casual grade, and are excellent rebuilders of mojo.
It's times like these that I remind myself that you have to lose to enjoy winning.
It's times like these you learn to live again. It's times like these you give and give again. It's times like these you learn to love again. It's times like these time and time again.
Thanks Foo Fighters! (said to the cadence of the old Honeypuffs commercial).
I'm not the hardest core Foo Fighters fan in the world, but they have a peculiar habit of writing a new favourite song for me about once an album. 'This is a call' from the debut, 'Everlong' from The colour and the shape, 'Times like these' from One by one, 'Best of You' from In your honour. I saw one of the innumerable clips from Nirvana's MTV unplugged on C4 the other day, and had a hard time reconciling Dave Grohl then with the modern version.
Shout out Yo
Thanks to all peoples who made our gathering yesterday for Fi's birthday. 'Twas cool fun.