Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bored already

The Rugby World Cup starts in a couple of weeks.

Is it too early yet to be totally freaking over the All Blacks hype machine dominating everything?

Every other damn commercial or promotion has the All Blacks in it in some way, usually in soft focus slow-motion.

It's just a game people.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Not watching the eclipse

Listening to: Hunters and Collectors-Collected Works

Unfortunately tonight's spectacular in the Moon turns blood red kinda way eclipse has been messed up due to manky high stratus cloud providing complete obscuration. I saw the beginning, the moon start to get eaten by shadow, but then the clouds rolled in and I could see no more. I took one extremely wobbly photo. By the time I got the tripod there was nothing to be seen.


I remember the 1982 eclipse well, gazing through the window of our house in Rotorua at a crimson moon I hadn't seen before.

I remember the 2000 one a lot better, mainly due to the 'hey wouldn't it be nice if I brought my skin drums so everyone can like commune with this great natural event and we can all be one with nature' complete prat who ruined the viewing experience from Mount Vic with his inane and repetitious-even-for-drums slapping. Still a great spectacle though.

Just popped my head outside and like magic the clouds cleared, long enough to take some perhaps slightly better photos.


As I have said earlier, its far to easy to be too cool for things like this and dismiss them as boring. You can see a white moon all the time. A red one every several years only. Think about it. How often do you get to see the shadow of your own planet? Thus I deem it cool. To quote a great philosopher of my time, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it".


To the wanker who broke into Fi's car last night: Not only are you a wanker for trying to steal what others have rightfully earned, you're not even very good at it. You go to all the risk and effort of breaking in and then you don't even take anything!

You are pathetic.


On a much more important note than anything else in this post, please everyone spare a thought for strong-light at the moment. Especially today and the days to come. She and hers are going through a tough time.

One day this time will be a sad memory rather than a sad experience Cal.

Peace and empathy to you.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Arcane netball trivia

Listening to: Jam and Spoon-Tripomatic Fairytales

Back to posting about me again.

I was idly wondering how many points I have scored in my Indoor Netball career. I wasn't able to arrive at a definitive figure other than 'at least hundreds', but I did come up with the following useless facts and figures.

Highest score my team has been beaten by
75 or so. My first ever Superleague match.

Highest score my team has scored while I was on the court

Highest personal score in a game
Hard to pin down exactly, but it is in the 30+ region. Fairly recently. I have often tried to remember my points during games, but have never managed it.

Most perfect shooting in a game
On a wild and stormy night on court 5 at Newtown I hit all but one (the last one) of my 15 or so shots first time.

Number of times I have been sent off

Number of times I have been threatened with being sent off

Worst Immediate Consequence injury
At Cuba Street one time, both myself and the D were watching the progress of the ball into the circle. Unfortunately we were both running quite quickly. I saw him briefly after my head connected with his shoulder, but this vision was quickly replaced by a view of the court ceiling as I had been knocked flat on my arse and close to unconcious (I saw everything in shades of lime green for a while). My team-mates scored the points before attending to me, as they should, bless 'em.

Worst Delayed Consequence Injury that was a lot worse than I thought at the time it occured
The sprained forefinger I got in early 2006 (the physio sent me for X-rays before she would even look at it), narrowly beating the sprained shoulder I incurred a couple of months ago.

Most spectacular fall
Leaping high for a tip one time at Cuba Street (1997 ish), I stretched just a little too far, enough to make a co-ordinated landing an impossibility. 'This might hurt' I thought as I watched the world rotate 90 degrees or so before landing very heavily on my side (shoulder and hip to be exact) from a height of about two feet, which doesn't sound like much, until you try it onto a thinly astroturf covered concrete floor. I suddenly felt pain in areas that should never be painful in indoor netball. Still jarring I rolled over and got up to unsteadily run after the play. I retired from the game shortly thereafter. I have a theory it is somehow related to my occasional random and unexplainable thigh/hip pain that I currently experience.

Fastest scoring I have participated in
7 points in under thirty seconds. I was centre for Teachers Pet, about 5 years ago.
Sequence thus: Two point shot, pass-off, intercept, one point shot, pass-off, intercept, two, pass-off, intercept, two (buzzer beater) to end the second quarter. I shot the twos. We lost the game by one point....

Longest scoring shot
Pass that went through the hoop from about one metre inside halfway last year.

Worst team I have played against
The folks at Petone last year who included personal insults and a total disregard for fair play as part of their game, and then nearly had a fist fight with an umpire after the game. Big factor in my dropping playing for the Petone team last year, as they weren't the only team in our grade with a significant attitude problem.

Most netball I have played in one day
Four and a half complete games, or 18 nine minute quarters to put it another way.

Best partner in A
Wouldn't be fair to name one, there have been so many to catch my wild passes, or deliver me the ball safely, or carry me when my shooting was off, or just make me look like a better player than I am.

First game ever played
October 1995. I played C/L, ran around lots, had three attempts at goal, missed them all, and was generally rubbish.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

It's your birthday

Actually no it isn't.

Unless you have the same birthday as me.

Like if you're Sean Connery for example. If you're reading this Sean, Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Right, where was I?

Listening to: Audioslave-Audioslave

As I was saying last night this article in yesterday's Dom, conveniently reproduced on Stuff, detailing apparent 'tampering' with Wikipedia's account of the Erebus disaster by someone using Air New Zealand's server caught my eye.

Caution: the below contains opinions. Please don't start a flame war in my comments if you disagree. Constructive comments only will be allowed.

What's interesting isn't that the entry was altered, it is what it was allegedly altered to.
According to Stuff the amendment said "pilots are divided to this day as to whether the responsibility ... should rest with the pilot or the flight planning department".

For those not familiar with the subject, on 28 November 1979 an Air New Zealand DC-10 on a sightseeing flight to Antarctica crashed into the lower slopes of Mount Erebus, on Antarctica's Ross Island. All 257 aboard were killed instantly, making this by one fatality more than the 1931 Napier Earthquake the worst single loss of life event in New Zealand history.

It has been often said that everyone in New Zealand at the time either knew personally or was connected to one of the victims (certainly true in my family's case).

The official Ministry of Transport accident investigation report listed the cause as (massive summarisation here, so as not to spend days writing this thing) pilot error in descending to an altitude below that of surrounding terrain when he may not have been certain of his position (the crash occurred 1500 feet up the side of a 12,000 foot mountain). This was compounded by a change to the pre programmed flight path by ANZ's navigation department to fix an incorrect set of coordinates for a navigation waypoint, the effect of which was to place the DC-10 flying over Mt Erebus instead of some distance to one side. The change in track was not communicated to the crew, meaning they may have thought they were in one place when in fact they were in another. Whiteout conditions ahead created the illusion of flat land ahead, meaning they never saw the mountain which killed them. Many many more factors were detailed, but those are the main ones.

Are you with me so far? This is where it gets complicated.

As would be fairly normal practice for an event of this kind, in 1980 a formal commission of inquiry was set up to investigate the circumstances. It's findings disagreed completely with the accident report, exonerating the flight crew and blaming ANZ for the accident (changing the flight track without telling the crew basically), going so far as to accuse the airline of a conspiracy to avoid blame and hide evidence (the famous 'orchestrated litany of lies' referred to by the inquiry judge), ordering the airline to pay $150,000 in costs.

This was overturned on appeal (on the grounds that the inquiry judge had considerably exceeded his remit and not allowed ANZ a fair hearing), and reinforced by a Privy Council hearing which overturned the inquiry judge's counter appeal.

As you can imagine, there is a fair amount of history and opinion to this. So my thoughts on seeing the quoted wikipedia amendment were "fair enough". I didn't think that statement was particularly inaccurate.

The quotes from The Right Honourable Jim Anderton, if accurate, that the amendment was "outrageous (and) entirely erroneous", and "to suggest there was disagreement over blame for the Erebus crash was unjustifiable and wrong" are completely laughable and absurd. At least three books have been published about the inquiry and its aftermath, and the fairly definitive "New Zealand tragedies: Aviation accidents and disasters" devotes an entire chapter (55 pages out of 300) to discussing the argument.

Also nonsensical is Anderton's proposal that the government "make a formal declaration that Captain Jim Collins and co-pilot Greg Cassin were not to blame for the crash". I'm not sure they can, as the accident report is the only official statement of facts (and that is all it is meant to be, rather than the assignment of blame it has been used for) about the disaster (it was not overturned by the commission report as the item claims. It has never been properly challenged in court). The Commission of Inquiry report is legally opinion only.

In all fairness to the spokesman from the Airline Pilots Association who is quoted as saying "Justice Mahon's finding, that was the official finding of the Royal Commission and that was accepted in Parliament. Our pilots are completely happy with that finding, that it was not pilot error", he is pretty much bound to say that. The statement that other pilots associations agree with the commission findings, while it may be true now is not exactly accurate historically (an article strongly criticising the commission was published in a British pilots association journal after the Privy Council hearing).

In my admittedly lay experience, there has been a huge amount of debate amongst pilots and others about Erebus, so this whole item appears somewhat under informed and misleading, as well as being hijacked for some soundbite time by a member of cabinet.

I feel sorry for the relatives of the who have had to put up with this crap periodically for 28 years now, especially the families of the crew. My personal viewpoint based on what I've read is that a combination of circumstances put those people into the wrong place at the wrong time.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wikipedia vs the Volcano

In a timely relation to Billy's post here about just who is editing wikipedia, comes this item about someone at Air New Zealand editing Wikipedia's account of the Erebus disaster.

This is interesting and bears further discussion, but its late, so I will examine it in a bit more depth tomorrow.

In the meantime, for those who have seen Die Hard 4.0, here is what actually happens when a hovering aircraft loses it's vertical thrust component, (i.e. the bit holding it up) thanks to the miracle of youtube.

As usual for youtube, ignore the comments. After a rough browse of the numbers, less than 1% actually know what they are talking about. Seriously. The ignorance is that rampant.

And the pilot survived if you're wondering, although he did sustain a broken ankle when he landed on his now semi submerged aircraft.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Happy Monday

Listening to: Under a Blood Red Sky-U2. Say what you like about them now, 'Gloria' still kicks arse.

This Saturday

Is the 25th of August. Which is my birthday. Hence, it will be an ideal time to drop by to my place and say hello. In accordance with this, we will make sure we are at home. If you bring appropriate Kai, we may even get the barbecue going. Anytime from say 2:30-3:00 ish. It's not a party as such, just an excuse for you to drop in, say hi and spend as much time as you feel like. Also a great opportunity to meet our houseguest, plus any fellow travellers she has attracted.

Hopefully that cleared up any doubts about the date.

Why bad Umpiring annoys me

Inconsistent or indifferent umpiring hacks me off because I, and the teams I play in are generally wholesome clean living folk, who make an effort to play within the rules (I have never played in a dirty team, or one that encouraged dirty play. I have played against many though.). Which means that if my opponent breaks those rules either through intention or incompetence and gets away with it, they are gaining an unfair advantage.

Thus frustration occurs.

That said, Sweep The Leg overcame such umpiring tonight to win by one point in a great come from behind victory, in which all team members had a useful hand. It's nice to get both a moral and an actual victory at the same time. Tonights was a very satisfying win.

Not Blogging, modelling

Haven't been blogging much lately because I have been diligently hacking away and painting at this assembled lump of plastic, a Fujimi 1:72 scale TA-4J Mcdonnell Douglas Skyhawk, converted by moi to a TA-4K (the letters at the end make all the difference):

I know this is may be boring and you may not care. But its my blog. So there.To mark the 50th Anniversary of the forming of the RNZAF back in 1987, they decided to give one of the Skyhawks a one-off paint scheme (also known as "The Benson and Hedges special" ), which I remember fondly from the time, and think looks way cool.

Heres what the real thing looked like in more sensible clothing:

So when a nice company made decals for it a little while ago, and I got my hands on the right kind of kit, and the extra bits needed to make it look proper, and the decals themselves, I had to give it a go. Despite the looks, single colour paint schemes (the gold base) are actually a little harder to do than more conventional schemes.

Before you all rush to comment along the lines of "Hey that looks cool" (right after thinking "Geek!" ) being a self deprecating perfectionist Virgo, I have to point some of the faults. All models have these, usually only known to the person who built them:

It's not finished yet. It needs seats, fuel tanks for under the wings, a refuelling probe (not attached yet as it is way too fragile, a canopy. All the bits are ready, deciding which order to put them on vs likelyhood of breaking them off again however takes some time.

There was something else I was going to blog about, but I have forgotten what.

No doubt I'll remember after hitting 'Publish Post'

Maybe it was the migraine I had on Saturday that continued messing my head around on Sunday, and again today.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through

Listening to: Kitsch-The Burning Ground, oh and Slim-Drive Thru

It's my birthday on Saturday the 25th. Since we haven't had an official "Welcome Lauren to the Southern hemisphere" function yet and she has been here for a month, we thought some sort of combined event would be appropriate. Maybe even a barbecue.

This year I am shamelessly going to ape Fishie's idea and declare an open house at my place on the day and night. From about 3 or 4pm ish, feel free to drop by for a no pressure visit and mooch. you heard it here first, emails will be sent at some point. If you don't know my address and would like to attend, find someone who does, although anyone I don't recognise personally, or be vouched for by someone I do, will assuredly be denied entry.

I feel the need to state publicly that Jim Steinman's 1981 release of "Rock and Roll dreams come through" totally knackers MeatLoaf's early 90's remake. I was somewhat dismayed when Meatloaf felt he had to cover it, as it would inevitably cause the original to fade into the shadows. It is more restrained and expressive, while still epic and overblown (the guy writes songs for Meatloaf after all). I mean hell, look at the album cover:

It has one of my favourite lyrics ever:

"You can't run away forever, but there's nothing wrong with getting a good head start".

And the false ending with the returning string section and wailing chorus, while unnecessary and silly, only adds to the aural glory.

So there.

I was going to bring you a picture of Womby the flying wombat (Vombatus ursinus volaticus), proving that he is in fact capable of aviation, but sadly the picture I was thinking of I don't appear to have in digital form. So instead you will have to settle for this shot of Womby in his current nesting place:

Both of the women in this picture are asleep. Aren't they cute?

That is all.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Listening to: Straightjacket Fits-Best of

I once had a fairly passionate debate about 'best of' collections with a workmate. He didn't believe in them, saying that the tracks selected were seldom an artists best (which I actually agreed with), and they thus devalued the rest of the body of work, as well as the loyal fans who had been buying the source albums as they were released.
My counterpoint was that if by chance, misfortune, apathy or incompetence you hadn't been in a position to buy the originals, or weren't into the artist at a time when they were released, 'a best of' provides an excellent way to introduce yourself to their work without forking over a massive wad of dough to buy the entire back catalogue. Which you shouldn't do anyway without having at least some idea of what was on those original albums.
Besides, 'best of's' can be really good compilation albums in their own right. This is why I have a few complete back catalogues and relevant 'best of's' in my collection.

The above is entirely an aside to the original point of the post, which was the underwhelming quiz at Murphy's Law (Petone) last night.

Or as I am thinking of it, the night a good quiz went bad.

It wasn't the needless technical issues (the picture is fine, just stop fiddling with it already!), or the inability of the announcer to pronounce words like 'Arabic' and 'Acronym'. Painful, but no-ones perfect, and I have seen far worse.

It was the 'challenge for points' rounds in between the question rounds that had us going
"W T F is this then?"

One representative per team fronts up. To do things like eat a plate of vinegar soaked weetbix and fries, or a plate of ice cubes followed by a mixed shot, or chop a half pint of beer with a raw egg in the glass. Do this faster than anyone else and you get 10 or 20 points (seriously) for your team.

Eh? I thought this was a quiz? We realised right then after witnessing the first challenge that no matter how many questions we answered right, we didn't have a shit-show of winning.

In truth I can see why perhaps this has come about. Us and two or three other teams have been dominating. And now we aren't. If it keeps up we won't be back. Sad, but if I wanted to see someone vomit half eaten vinegary weetbix onto the floor (as one contestant did last night) I'd go to a student flatwarming in Palmy or Aro Valley.

As the Don memorably summed up, "It's a quiz, not a f**king keg party." I admit, I may be having a total-sense-of-humour-failure about this, but I go to quizzes to test my wits, not my stomach (and teeth in the case of the ice).

Kudos and big ups to Lauren (weetbix) and Fishy (ice) for participating in the madness though, due to the apathy and sheer cowardice of the other team members.

The Simpsons Movie was fairly underwhelming as well, as very eloquently noted here.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Clean sheet

Listening to: HDU-Higher ++

My indoor soccer team (I still have not yet been able to refer to it consistently as football...) won 4-0 tonight.

As the goalkeeper this makes me very happy. Our defence was solid, and the opposition attack sporadic, but always threatening, and I made a few good saves.

This is the first time in nearly a couple of years worth of indoor keeping that I have kept the goal score free, so it is worth mentioning. The last minutes of the game were quite tense, knowing that achievement was beckoning...


After two days the new job is going well. While I can be a good trainer, I had forgotten that I am an impatient trainee. I hate not knowing what is going on around me and shadowing people, and standing around watching others work. I hate feeling useless. I enjoy being competent. While fully expected and somewhat welcome, I am finding the transition from being super competent (old job) to not yet competent due to inexperience (new job) a little difficult. Still, this is what I wanted and expected, having trained many folk in my time, so I just have to put up with it. The rewards will be worth it. The first few weeks of a new job are never easy.

And the atmosphere and people are really nice too, which helps.


I will blog about something profound and illuminating and not just about me soon, promise.


Matt and Tarn, "ON YA!" for the Bay beating the Lions on the weekend. Well done.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

quiz, winter, mountain


In one of our more epic quiz victories, last night we took out the UHC Dragon boating fundraiser. Not bad for a team of only four, that was a team of only two (Fi and me) for the first few rounds, facing several dozen other competitors. Sometime we are going to get our arses handed to us at one of these things, but not this time.


One of the things I will miss about not driving to Upper Hutt every morning is the river in winter. Often on cold mornings there is a mist over the river basin, and sometimes the sun catches it just so:

Frost and ice on the bank behind our house.


Some shots from last weekend. It was FUN! I have never been there before, so everything was new and interesting. And the sliding down the slopes on a giant plastic sheet was primo. Apart from the rock I hit. The rock was not primo.

On the chairlift. This guy carved "Marry me Beck!" in the snow beside the chairlift, then highlighted it with gold glitter. Legend. Also apparently successful. Well done that man!
Tahurangi from Turoa
The stream below Waitonga falls
Beech forest, Waitonga falls

Sunset at Ohakune, heralding the rain the next day. The grey sky and bare trees evoke winter to me.
Mount Ruapehu at dusk from Ohakune
Halo around the full moon caused by ice crystals suspended high in the sky.
Sunrise at Ohakune

More pics for the interested here and here