Sunday, September 30, 2007

I's got arms now

Listening to: an ancient (summer of '94-'95) compilation tape, featuring Supergroove, Stone Temple Pilots, and stuff off the Crow soundtrack.
Got the arm pods attached and they haven't fallen off yet. Just need to finish the side pods (which I have been putting off as they are far more work than is necessary) and it will be complete.......
Envious of the wahines activities down south knowing I am missing out on fun and adventure. Missing the company.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Are you listening?

Listening to: A Stitch in Time-The Twilight Singers, and Cure for Pain-Morphine

When writing the 'Listening to', I can never remember if I put the album or artist first. Does anyone take note of it anyway?
I would like to think someone has discovered their new favourite band through my listing it and encouraging intrigue by naming semi obscurity, but I doubt it. I'm the only person I know who listens to some of the stuff I do, but that goes for pretty much everyone who has a serious music habit I think.

Here's how the Department of Conservation tells you a link from their website is bad:

I love it.

Speaking of semi obscurity, I picked up The Afghan Whigs retrospective "Unbreakable" last weekend, at the Warehouse of all places, an outlet not especially known for eclecticism in its wares. Saved me fifteen dollars though. Despite this, the warehouse is really not my favourite place to score sounds. Selection is poor (invariably involving a single CD title stacked many deep on a shelf, making you think there are more CD's available than there actually are), service is worse, the only attraction is the price. No lectures about mp3's and buying on the internet please, I'm not into that at the moment.

I'm not sure it adds anything to the stuff I was saying about greatest hits collections here, but I am now of an age where the bands I spent my late teens and early twenties listening to are or have put out best ofs. As I have the Whigs back catalogue, I get the luxury of knowing the tracks anyway. As compilations go it isn't bad. It isn't chronological, and the tracks cover all era's of the bands sound, from the early post-punk to the latter soul and funk influenced. There is a nice fade from 'crime scene part one' into 'faded' to close, which are at opposite ends of their source album.

A couple of half decent unreleased tracks are included (which I think is written in some law somewhere "thou shalt have previously unreleased material on thy retrospective compilation, or thou shalt suffer the consequences of mediocre review and poor word of mouth expectation" or something more legal and less biblical sounding). The chosen tracks are good ones, some are my favourites.

For the sake of being a whining fan I would have liked 'Honky's Ladder' or 'My Curse' (the only Whigs track with a female lead vocal, and a damn good one at that), or the instrumental 'Closing Prayer' to have been included.

In the 1990's, the Afghan Whigs were just the right band in the right place at the right time for me.

I like this collection, it works. Unlike the Thompson Twins compilation I picked up in Masterton (for all of five dollars) a few weeks ago, which is diabolically bad. All of the best known tracks are on it.

As awful 80's remixes. Yerrrgh.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Listening to: The Essential-Cheap Trick

Had a good day at work, starting to slightly feel a little tiny bit like I know what I'm doing.

Had a casual smash fest at netball.

Spoke to my fishie on the phone.

Had a very interesting opportunity present itself hobby wise.

Had a very nice dinner at the in laws.

Good day.

Now I'm going to play with the rats on the stairs. They're fun to watch when exploring. Curious little creatures.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Up too late

Listening to: Everclear-Sparkle and Fade

I had a longer post planned, but I've been staying up too late lately and I need to go to sleep.

I really enjoyed filling in (along with everyone else) for Michelle's netball team tonight. Without romanticising it too much, when I finally can't play anymore, games like tonight will be ones I remember, fun games with old and good friends, and well practised combinations.

Getting used to the absence of human females in my house, and envious of their mainland shenanigans. Deriving a stupid amount of pleasure from leaving the loo seat up though.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Man about the house

Listening to: Throwing Copper-Live

On my own here at home for a couple of weeks while Fi and Lauren are tiki-touring in the South Island. Naturally, upon boarding the ferry, the first place they headed to was the bar, even though it was only 10am. We scheduled a photo op of sorts as they left the harbour. After mad scrambling across the length of Breaker Bay (no nudists present! Also shingle beaches are really really hard to negotiate quickly) I climbed a precarious rock to shoot from. The girls promised to be on deck, and on the right side of the ship.Try and find them in this photo:
Maybe this one would be better. If you biggify the image by clicking on it you can make out the people on deck. I think I know where they are. I like the newish Interislander logo, they certainly got their moneys worth from the design studio for that one.
This pic included solely because I like the composition. From Breaker Bay looking across the harbour entrance to Pencarrow. MV Arahura in the middle.
Meanwhile, when I got back home I found all these packages for Lauren in the mail box. She missed them by an hour or two. Hopefully if the relevant Canadians see this they recognise their respective packages and can be reassured they arrived safely. They won't be opened for another fortnight, so hopefully there isn't anything in them perishable......

Speaking of relevant Canadians, I found this picture in one of my aviation magazines and put it up for Lauren's dad to see, since I understand it is in his line of work. A former Saskatchewanian fire-bomber, now being flown privately in the UK. For those wondering what I'm going on about (yeah like thats unusual) fire-bombers dump large amounts of water or fire retardant from the air onto forest fires etc. We don't have any here, relying instead on an abundance of helicopters with monsoon buckets. Amphibians like the Catalina (which can land on a runway or on water) were/are handy for this because they can reload by skimming the surface of lakes without having to go back to an airfield.

As it happens we've got one flying here in NZ. We operated a bunch of them in World War Two. This isn't one of them (ours were pure flying boats, not having any wheels like this one), but its painted like ours were.

I like the Catalina, its kinda funky. Designed for ocean patrolling (what Orions (Auroras if you're Canadian) do now) in the 1930's, it is basically a huge wing with some floats attached. It has only one speed, cruise, and does everything at its own unhurried pace.

From some angles it can be almost elegant.
And from others not. It has an unglamourous charm all of its own.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Linky Dinky Do

Links I have been telling people I will post for ages, plus a couple I haven't. Mostly youtube so apologies if you're still on dialup.

Irrefutable proof if any were needed that Star Wars Episode IV was reverse engineered from The Dam Busters (among others).
Anyone with the intention of seeing the Peter Jackson produced version next year(?) should check out the 1954 original first. Still an excellent movie, and almost all as it happened in real life

Boy Racers in 747's. Nuff said really.

RNZAF Skyhawk fleet put on Trademe. It's only two years since the government announced (probably completely coincidentally just prior to the last election...) that they were sold and would be leaving the country soon. Farce. Seller allows pickups apparently.

How to make your tank or Landrover disappear in the middle of the street. Inventive.

Crazy 1950's US airshow using actual live weapons. Think of the liability.....course, in the 1950's this was probably perfectly normal.

The nine minute tour of Paris. Don't try this at home, especially if you live in Paris. Okay so it isn't as fast as the soundtrack would have you believe, but there are some plenty faster than sensible bits.

And trying to recreate the tour thirty years later. Not trying the recreation at 5:30 in the morning probably didn't help. Good background though.

And finally, all glory to the HypnoToad!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Pimp my dropship

Because I know one or two of you might be vaguely interested.
After years of being back-burnered by real-world kit subjects, the dropship will likely be completed during the current phase of work. There, its in writing.

The keen eyed among you will note that it does not depict either of the movie Cheyennes (if you don't know which movie.......its this one ) I figure there are thousands of those around, so I decided to create my own colour scheme for the beast. Besides, I try and make my real world models fairly accurate. Doing SF means you can kinda throw away the rulebook and have some fun.

The windows are taped over for protection from the painting and weathering process. Not that you can see through them, as they are blacked out due to the cockpit being too much hassle than it was worth to detail.

So it's a dropship with a custom paintjob and tinted windows.

Even incomplete and without the weapon pods, it still looks a fintimidating creature.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Listening to: Devils and Dust-Bruce Springsteen and Dyzrythmia-Split Enz

Picking up the stick thrown at me by Morgue here and running with it.

1. You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451. Which book do you want to be?

My first inclination was to say 'Fahrenheit 451' just to be absurd.
'Empire of the Sun' by J G Ballard. I love the depiction of a world in complete collapse (Japanese occupied China at the end of the Second World War) yet seemingly still full of wondrous possibilities.

2. Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
Assuming from the context of the other questions that this is a literary character...
Miss Alexandra Kincaid (Brunswick). Maybe Mara Jade (Dark Force Rising Star Wars trilogy) as well, although she might be a bit difficult to live with.

3. The last book you bought is:
Discounting book fair purchases, which tend to be en masse, the last new book I bought (for myself, gifts don't count) is "When the wind calls your name: Tales of the supernatural in Aotearoa", by Tahu Potiki and Grant Shanks. A companion to "Where no birds sing" by the same authors, this is a nicely presented collection of anecdotes from around the country that lets the reader draw their own conclusions.

4. The last book you finished is:
"Modern Naval Combat", by David Miller and Chris Miller. Thats 'modern' as in published in 1986 'modern'. Interesting guide to how naval warfare works, and was expected to progress, and how things were in the mid eighties at the height of the Cold War. Still vaguely relevant since the last significant naval combat was in 1982, meaning a lot of theory is still just that.

5. What are you currently reading?
Fortuitously still current, see here.

6. Five books you would take to a desert island
'Fools Paradise' by Steve Braunias. A collection of 'Listener' columns from the late 1990's. Steve and I appear to see the world in similar ways, and I like the way he writes.
'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' by Hunter S Thompson. One of the most quotable books I have ever read, and whether you read it as critical journalism, scathing satire, a work of fiction or straight comedy, it is the only book I have ever read that has stuff that can make me laugh out loud on almost every page of text. Given that it was first published in 1971, I still find it oddly relevant in trying to understand US culture and the death of the Hippie dream.
'Piece of Cake' by Derek Robinson. Following the a Royal Air Force fighter squadron over the course of a year from the beginning of the Second World War in September 1939 to the climax of the Battle of Britain in September 1940, this novel utterly refutes the myth of the noble steely eyed, square jawed, chivalrous and unafraid fighter pilot. Somewhat controversial at the time it was published, it paints it's protagonists as real people; some nice, some thoroughly unlikeable, most good, some bad and some barking mad. And inevitably one by one they fall (often messily and horribly) as the war moves from a sort of exciting and risky game into an utter and desperate battle for survival. Being well researched and peppered with irreverence and blacker than black humour doesn't hurt either. I like its lack of idealism.
'A Brief history of Time' by Stephen Hawking, on the grounds that the isolation might force me to actually finish reading the damn thing.

7. Who are you going to pass this stick to and why?
Why? Because they read interesting stuff.
Judge and Jury
Not Kate
Ethel the Aardvark

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

200 not out

Listening to: Chisel-The best of Cold Chisel, and Who cares a Lot-the best of Faith No More.

Drinking the Monteiths Black that a certain Mr Heegers left in my fridge.


To mark my 200th post, a tribute of sorts, with apologies to Tenacious D

This is not the greatest Blog post in the world,

This is just a tribute.

Couldn't recall the subject,

Of the greatest post in the world,

This is just a tribute.


Not so wobbly eclipse

The Tripod helped things considerably, although the breeze still induced some camera shake. Still looks cool though.

Forgetting to close the apeture a little meant that the later eclipse shots got over exposed somewhat. Earth's shadow visible to the left of the face of the Moon.
Perfect Day

Had a near perfect day (moment of imperfection: catching the repeat of 'The Nine' while waiting for the AB's Kickoff) on Saturday.

The weather was good.

The magazine back issues I had ordered from the UK arrived, and weren't in Spanish, as I had dreamt the night before.

Breakfast included yummy fresh pancakes courtesy of the lovely fish.

Discovered the most elaborate abandoned house I have yet seen near Stonehenge Aotearoa. I bet its haunted.

Went roadtripping with a good bunch of people.
Who seemed strangely obsessed with photographing each other as well as the scenery....

Our notional destination was Castlepoint, which when you think about it, is a fairly long way from anywhere, being on the sparsely populated east coast of the southern North Island. 64 K east by road from Masterton, which itself is hardly a bustling urban centre. For some undefined reason I really don't like Masterton. Maybe it's because they demolished possibly the best adventure playground set up ever sometime in the late eighties (a series of interconnected concrete tubes, buried in a concrete hill, with several possible entries and exits. It was way cool, trust me).

I took a picture of the boardwalk because I liked the way the shadow was falling on to the sand.

Castlepoint, reef and lagoon on an uncharacteristically calm day.
While calmish, there were some nice breakers coming into the lagoon. The Northerly breeze gave them some elaborate headwear....

As well as quickly erasing any passing footprints in the sand.
As usual the lighthouse watched everything impassively
One of my favourite places.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Eyes and Ears

What I'm Reading
Verdict on Erebus, a memoir of sorts by the presiding judge of the Royal Comission of Enquiry into the Erebus disaster, Love is a Mix Tape, an insight into how music can become the sondtrack to your life, Magnitude Eight Plus, an account of the 1855 Wellington earthquake and its impacts, and Planet Simpson, about the Simpson's place in popular culture.

What I'm listening to

Bought with my birthday present from the Hall in-laws (Thanks guys!)

Woke up today, a Mockers best of. Shapeshifter Live, Shapeshifter umm live, making up for me not getting to their concert on Friday, and Take Control by State of Mind, some NZ (actually all three are NZ) drum and bass with a killer track called Sunking that I have been trying to find for yonks (took me ages to figure out the title and artist).

What I've just finished working on Skyhawk in the 1987 RNZAF 50th anniversary scheme. Making serious plans to finish the dropship now, to the point of acquiring the necessary materials for completion last weekend.

What I'm not doing

Playing any sport this week after my thumb was sprained due to opposition cluelessness.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Wobbly eclipse and shooting stars

Listening to: Boys for Pele-Tori Amos

Its amazing the results you can get when you try to take a picture of a Lunar Eclipse with a long lens, a long exposure, and no tripod. Still the colour shows up nicely.
I did take more with a tripod, but I haven't developed them yet. Hopefully they will be better; it would be hard for them to be worse....

I have been messing around with taking photos of the stars (with a tripod). These pictures should be clicked on to biggify, it will make the details easier to see.

Southern Cross
The pointers, Alpha and Beta Centauri are the two bright stars near the centre of the picture, showing the way to Crux (the Southern Cross) in the lower centre. The orangish thing on the left is a tree, while the blurry thing at the bottom is cloud. The other white dots are stars.

The big bright thing is the Moon. Left of the Moon and curling down to the bottom of the picture is the constellation of Scorpius. The planet Jupiter is shining brightly just to the right of the constellation two thirds of the way to the bottom of the photo from the Moon. Scorpius' tail is up by the Moon, its head the three stars at the bottom.

With a nearly full moon in the sky, the stars get washed out a bit. I intend to try these photos again when there is no moon and the stars are brighter.


Raukawa Falls (on the Whanganui River between Wanganui and Ohakune) at near dusk. The sun had already set when I took this and darkness was imminent. This meant a longish exposure (making the water look like hair rather than liquid, emphasising the flow) which made for a classic waterfall shot which I quite like

Cabbage trees outside my house illuminated by streetlights and mist. I really really need to take these sort of pictures with a tripod.
Kereru (Wood Pigeon) in our backyard the other day. I like these birds, they have a lot of character. They are the only birds I can hear flying past my house. When I am inside it (woomp woomp wooomp).