Sunday, January 28, 2007


Listening to: Tunnel of Love-Bruce Springsteen. Seem to be in a Boss phase at the moment. ToL is the underrated follow-up to Born in the USA. Always evokes memories of a road trip Fi and I made to the deep south in winter 2003.


The hoosewarming was cool. In fact in view that it worked so well, and lots of excellent people couldn't make it, we might have a Mk2 version soon, in order that the aforementioned excellent people (who know who they are) can share the Kelson groove. Watch this space

The weather was warm and still, encouraging backyard action. The comet was visible for once and lots of oohs and aahs were heard.

Bubbles were blown, and pictures unstraightened
A good time was had by all.
And we wound up with a whole lot of leftover booze. Score. Admittedly most of it we bought ourselves to hand out to guests if refreshment bereft, but still leftovers is leftovers.

Thanks to all who brought gifts, many of which I missed noticing until today, so apologies if I didn't acknowledge at the time.

Maths at work

For those who remember our thursday night conversation, here is the fractal based camouflage I was talking about. Don't ask me where I find this stuff, I don't know, it kinda finds me. I think it was linked to on a forum somewhere.


I seem to have a penchant for spectacular low flying aircraft videos. This is one of the best/scary/craziest I've seen. Proving that Germans can be wild and wacky at times, this guy is either insane or about to retire (or be retired) or brilliant, or the plane is being retired. I'm not sure which. The guy in the back seat, who usually isn't a pilot and has no control over the flight from his position would have either loved or hated that ride.

Cool to see a Phantom being thrown around like that as well, as it is pretty much the aerial equivalent of a Holden Kingswood (i.e. an old dinosaur, big, heavy, not that agile compared to a modern aircraft. In its day though, the sixties and seventies, it was the benchmark that other fighters were compared to. Phantoms were what the air force really wanted when our Skyhawks were bought), which ties in with the music well.

Star Wars pondering

Jiving neatly with the alternative Star Wars readings posted here by the magnificent Svend, lately I have found myself reimagining Star Wars dialogue as if it had been written by Fred Dagg.

"Mate that's no moon, shes a space station. My mate Bruce had a run in with that last week. Took him ages to get his tractor back, and when he did the transmission was buggered". Etc.

I admit it isn't a very good evocation of Dagg dialogue but you get the idea. I am mildly disappointed that I am about ten years too young to have caught Dagg in his heyday.


It just just started hooning down with rain with no notice, prompting a mad scramble to get the washing in in the dark. Not really no notice to be fair. I looked at the sky about four hours ago, darkening to the northwest, and said to myself, "there'll be rain tonight". Still didn't get the washing in when I got home though.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"I seen the little lamp"

Finally, after several evenings of cloud filled frustration, tonight I saw the comet.


Monday, January 22, 2007

One week

A week of Wellington moods, from my second floor landing.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Nose Art and Zaps

Listening to: Paradigm Shift-Rhian Sheehan

Further to a conversation with NotKate, here is some Nose Art. Good brief definition here, even if some of the photos (the more modern ones near the bottom) are actually of standard markings.

'Nose art' is a term used to describe a genre of graphic art, which is non-standard personal markings applied to aircraft (or other machinery) by their crews or owners for morale purposes, most often during wartime, but also for special occasions and exercises away from home. Themes and subjects vary widely. Such decoration is usually frowned upon by officialdom, and is normally short lived. The heyday of nose art was during the second world war, with many aircraft sporting slogans or illustrations, however the practice continues to this day (if you check out the video for the U2/Greenday song 'The saints are coming', one of the helicopters lifting people out of the water has sharks teeth painted on the nose).

This is likely the most spectacular example of all, which was worn by a bomber in the pacific near the end of world war two.

Good second world war examples here.

Slightly more modern examples here.

'Zapping' on the other hand, is kinda like graffiti, and is usually inflicted on aircraft by friendly rivals, like in the picture below where an Australian aircraft has been zapped by New Zealanders.
This is a landing gear door on an Australian fighter that I saw at an airshow in Melbourne a few years ago. The aircraft has either visited NZ, or been on exercise with New Zealanders, since someone has spraypainted the stylised markings of a New Zealand air force squadron on it, albeit in a very discreet place. It is a related sub genre of nose art, with much more spectacular examples that I know of. For example, a New Zealand air force jet that was stuck at at Australian base for a few days with mechanical problems came home with giant Australian unit markings covering most of the tail, and a British jet visiting NZ had all of its British markings replaced with NZ ones.

Markings like these and nose art in general is cool because it personalises otherwise drab and generic machines, and also shows that art can exist even in unlikely environments.

Friday, January 19, 2007


Listening to: 10,000 Maniacs-Our time in Eden, and Bruce Springsteen-Nebraska

Look to the skies
This comet chasing lark is proving very frustrating. Three nights in a row now I have been in the right places to see something rare and cool, and each time cloud has appeared in exactly the wrong place.....

Over the hill
Can't think of many better things to do on a Friday than take a day of annual leave to go over to Masterton and watch pilots practicing their display routines for an airshow. A road runs past the end of the runway (outside the airfield boundary) which I thought would be an ideal observation point. And lo it proved. Air displays are oriented along a line parallel to where the crowd is. By being at the end of the runway I was at one end of the display line, which meant often there were planes flying directly toward me and whizzing over my head. When I go to the show proper on Saturday safety rules won't allow aircraft to overfly the crowd. This unusual position meant I could get some cool photos from not normally obtainable angles for an amateur. If they come off (the curse of day I'll have a digital SLR).
So a hunch I'd had from seeing that spot at a previous airshow paid off in spades. Even Fishy put up with it for a couple of hours without getting bored.

Posting a picture of my latest plastic creation inspired me to dig out my first:

An Airfix Spitfire, the traditional first kit for many a modeller.

My father brought it back from a trip to England in 1982, along with a companion Messerschmitt-109. Neither are in their original colour schemes, both being repainted in the mid eighties.

The Spitfire went together first. A few years later it suffered dramatic damage in an accident. You might be able to see where the wing was glued back on (this was in the days when if something didn't fit I just added more glue). Both of the models had their tailplanes removed fairly early on, as as a five year old I just didn't like them. Propellor blades would have vanished fairly early as well, fragile items like that not being able to withstand the rigours of hand flown aerial combat.

By 1986 I had started to show signs that I had a clue. This is a Matchbox Spitfire that has at least the right colours painted on (even if the thickness varies), with a visible attempt to follow the instructions.

In 1993 I remade the original Spitfire building the same kit to show what it should look like (spot the differences).

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Could this be the summer we have been promised?

Ok, so its not Blenheim or Napier melting the tarmac hot, but its a damn sight better than the crap we have been putting up with in Welly for the past few weeks. And it's five pm in the shade up a hill, which knocks one or two degrees off. No wind though.....

I like having my own little forest even if
A: they aren't natives, and
B:they are slightly allergenic

Global Netball

Found this on a random sitemeter trawl the other day. Interesting perspective from a somewhat unexpected place.

Plastic modelling explained

Carol, you can skip this bit if you want!

You start with stuff that looks like this:

Eventually after the application of various solvents, putty, sandpaper, files, paints and chalks, ingenuity, patience, skill, cunning, and one or two beers you end up with something looking like this:

1:72 scale (about 17cm long) A-4 Skyhawk kit modified by me to represent an upgraded RNZAF example as it looked when retired in 2001. About 99% finished. Not quite fully accurate but very close.

I like my hobby. It continually tests my patience, imagination, intelligence and creativity. And they look cool when they are done.

Any questions?

Sunday, January 14, 2007


2006 in review kind of

Best Movie
Based on what I’ve seen this year, regardless of when they were made. No gyp please if your favourite is not on the list. Also no gyp if your taste is more sophisticated than mine. Only movies I have seen are eligible. If I didn’t see it it is not included. Plus it’s all off the top of my head. I may forget my own favourite movie.
My halcyon days of the mid nineties are long gone, when I would see upwards of 50 movies in a year. These days I tend to focus more on quality than quantity. Historically I also seem to have a spidey sense about good movies, and seldom see bad ones.
Contenders include, ‘Good bye and good luck’, ‘Children of Men’, ‘V for Vendetta’, ‘Casino royale’, ‘Out of the Blue’, ‘Talladega nights’, ‘The 40 year old virgin’, ‘Walk the line’, ‘The smartest guys in the room’, ‘Munich’, ‘Snakes on a plane’, 'Batman begins', ‘Metallica: Some kind of monster’.
But the best I think was ‘The Departed’. It reminds me of ‘Heat’, a really good ensemble crime epic, with all involved giving career best performances. Plots pretty good too. (I know it’s a remake of ‘Infernal affairs’, and that ‘Infernal’ is probably way better etc etc blah blah blah….. I haven’t seen ‘Infernal affairs’. I have seen ‘The Departed’).

Worst Movie
‘9 songs’. You’d think a movie with concert footage and non-faked bedroom scenes would be more interesting
‘My super ex girlfriend’. Should have been better.
‘Grease’ (invoking my seen this year rule). I was looking forward to the car race at the end, but even that was a let down. They drive so sloooooowly.

‘Loose change’. Dire on all fronts, almost actually offensive at times, rather than just relentlessly insulting my intelligence.

‘Hedwig and the angry inch’. Good weird though.
‘Lady in the water’ gave it a good run for its money.

Favourite movie line
Bartender: “Will that be shaken or stirred sir?”
Bond: “Do I look like I give a damn?”

Dumbest fan campaign
The campaign against the new bond as being too ‘Blond/tall/short/smart/dumb/not Sean Connery etc etc’

Best TV that I made an effort to watch (I don’t really watch a lot of TV)
‘Top gear’, ‘Family guy’, Sky1 showing hours of Simpsons and Futurama re-runs on Sunday mornings, ‘Mythbusters’, ‘Globetrekker’, ‘Eating Media Lunch’.
‘Cold Case’ was good for a while, but seemed to run out of ideas

Worst TV
‘CSI’, ‘NCIS’, or anything with an abbreviation in the title. ‘CSI’ is the worst. Crap science selling itself as good science. If I worked in a lab that dark I’d go blind.
‘NZ Idol’, ‘Rockstar INXS’, reality TV in general.

Best Party
My 30th. Rocked. Almost worth getting old for.

Best sports event
The mist shrouded Super Fourteen final. I loved every vaguely discernable minute.
The Red Bull Air Racing on TV from Perth was awesome. Kinda like pod racing but real.

Most fun personal sports moment
Receiving the looong pass from Morgue downcourt with almost no time on the clock and then landing the basket for 2 from well downtown.
Also twice landing 2’s after opposition players dared me to ‘Go on have a shot, bet you can’t sink that etc etc”. Best way to shut them up.

Least fun personal sports moment
The opposition at Petone who confused personal insults with trash talking, then got really wound up when we showed them that good players don’t need to trash talk by beating them.

Worst sports event
The continuing idiocy that is beach volleyball. Not the sport, the costumes. Guys wear shorts and T’s, girls wear basically nothing. Stupid.

Best new thing I did this year
This blog. Oh yeah, and buying a house.

Most cathartic thing I did
Cut off all my hair on my 30th birthday.

Best roadtrip
The Big Day Out/Whakatane/White Island jaunt a year ago. Although the Queens Birthday Kapiti Coast Comedy Cruise came close. The Pinnacles camping was fun as well.

Most fun new thing I did
Jetboating in Taupo

Most fun new thing I didn’t do
Skydiving in Taupo

Best gig
The Go Team at the Big Day Out. Narrowly rivalled by The Shatsuns last weekend.

Best CD I bought
Nah, not even going to try that one, the numbers are too big (meaning I can’t remember what I have bought).

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Take to the hills

Turns out my proclamation of normal service resumption was a little premature. Can't do no blogging when you ain't got no internet because yur ISP cut you off after stopping yur direct debit without telling you.......


Looks like we got out of Waiwhetu just in time. It saddens and angers me that a place I have spent a lot of time in and enjoy immensely is now a murder scene. And a particularly wasteful and pointless murder at that. There are a lot of ways I don't want to die, but being killed just because an evil moron thinks I am in the way is high on the list. I don't endorse capital punishment as a rule, but part of me wishes the police bullets had hit a little higher.

Hillside life

I've never been rained on from inside a cloud before. Kinda novel.

The view from the lounge has changed somewhat



Still getting used to it. I have started tentatively exploring the network of trails around here.

Monday, January 01, 2007

The ghost of New Years past

Listening to: Lost Dogs disc 2- Pearl Jam


Bloggage has been interrupted of late due to moving house and switching phone and internet connections. Normal service will now resume.

The ghost of New Years past

This New Years day I have mooched around and helped my wife assemble some flat pack kitchen cabinetry in our new house. This time 13 years ago I was in A+E.

Rather than eulogise last night or 2006 itself (although I may do that later), I will indulge in reminiscence of New Years past. Note: Accurate recall may be affected by the passage of time. Those readers who participated in events described below are free to correct any inaccuracies. Some names have been politely omitted.

Unlike the cool bleak day we have today (although it is steadily brightening), Saturday 1st January 1994 was overcast and warm. As confirmed here, the last day of 1993 was a Friday. Folk gathered at Dan’s place on Pharazyn Street in the early afternoon to indulge in the time honoured teenage pastime of mooching around. My strong hands won me a few bouts of ‘mercy’, while Anthony (this Anthony in fact) expressed his distaste for U2 by jumping up and down on my U2 cap which was a souvenir from the concert three weeks previously.

The party broke up as plans were made to reconvene that night to welcome the new year. The venue for the revelry was never in doubt.

At this point, we need to thank Kevin’s parents. For going on holiday over the Christmas/New Year period. For taking Kevin’s little sister with them. And for leaving Kevin in charge of the house. Alone.

The first party was on the evening of Boxing Day.

Precedent thus set, every night in the ensuing week people were up there.

By the time New Years eve rolled around a pattern was well set.

I hopped off the train at Heretaunga in the early evening sunshine, a six pack of DB Bitter in my bag (along with some water and a change of clothes, likely some music cassettes as well). It was on.

People were already there when I arrived, driveway cricket being played along with loud music. Inside a drinking game was ensuing. I arrived just in time to see a slight girl misinterpret the meaning of ‘drink’, and down a whole bottle of beer rather than just a mouthful, quickly followed by a dash to the bathroom.

Events proceeded normally until about seven, when I fell off the trampoline. There was a trampoline in the backyard, and it was enthusiastically utilised by not quite grown ups. An incident occurred when I tried to dismount the trampoline by jumping to the ground from the mat (a technique I had perfected many years previously on my own trampoline) rather than stopping jumping and stepping off. Leaping forward to my launch point, I landed rather too close to the edge of the mat, where there is no bounce. As momentum carried me forward instead of going up I went out and started falling. As my feet were still on the mat I could not get my legs forward and underneath to facilitate a safe touchdown. For a moment I resembled a flailing bio-mechanical see-saw. This state of affairs couldn’t last forever, and in fact didn’t. The lawn rose up to meet me. Luckily, my left hand and face broke my fall.

After spitting out dirt and grass, there was a round of applause and laughter from the watchers on the deck. As I was rushed inside by others for some first aid the two spectators gave me 9/10 for the dismount. My top lip was grazed on the outside, and completely cut open on the inside. As I was almost upside down when I landed my hand and fingers had been bent up and back towards my forearm, and where now hurting in a previously unknown way. Some fairly inept probing and examination determined that no bones were broken, and I was released back to the party, with the suggestion that maybe I don’t have anymore to drink.

I had only had three beers (which prevented me from using any excuse other than incompetence for my downfall), and wasn’t even tipsy. However my current state of injury prevented me from drinking from bottle, can or glass with any degree of comfort. Luckily, my water bottle had a large sturdy straw.

Problem solved. Now I can’t really recommend drinking beer though a straw (it gets kinda frothy) but in time of necessity it will get the job done.

I met D3vo at the train station an hour or so later, and he promptly wondered aloud if I was in shock on seeing my state. I assured him I wasn’t (like I would have known) and we got back to the party.

The night really got going about nine as more people flooded in. Big epic youthful fun was had. At some point I laid down along the seats on one side of the breakfast bar as I was hurting more than a little. Not long after an argument erupted on the other side of the bar between two cohorts about who had taken the last of their beer from the fridge. I mentally resolved to give them my last beer if they would just shut up.

A little later another friend approached and queried me about whether the relationship I had with a mutual female friend (who happened to be his ex) was just friendly or a pursuit. Sensing jealousy, I told him it was friendly (in fact it was a pursuit), not knowing that said female had sent him to me with this question, and I had just given the wrong answer (I found this out much much later). Dang (it worked out in the end. we would have been disastrous for each other, and remain friends to this day). Still we wound up platonically sharing a blanket on the lounge floor at the end of the night.

By the time midnight approached everyone was hammered, except maybe for 2trees and Morgue if they were there (I think they were), who were sensible sober people at the time, and tended to wind up doing a lot of much appreciated looking after of less sensible folk.

The New Year was welcomed in by cheers hugs and for one tears (a girl whose name I forget had recently lost her father I think, and the celebration was a trigger for her emotions. ‘Bliss’ got put on the stereo, cranked up and sung along to. The party was at its height.

By two or three the casualties were starting to mount. One guy passed out on the deck. Quick thinkers rearranged him so his head hung over the edge, lest he choke on his on spew. By four passage through the lounge without standing on someone became impossible. Split Enz’ greatest hits went on to the stereo about now, and stayed on for hours. One sensible person spent the rest of the morning sleeping on a trampoline.

D3vo wandered into the lounge at about half past five, drink in hand still, and loudly exhorted everyone to come outside and watch the sunrise with him. Not surprisingly, several of the floor dwellers loudly exhorted him to bugger off. A little later some of the outside folk performed a dawn chorus, which consisted of three people walking around the outside of the house whistling badly and yelling ‘TWEET TWEET’ at regular intervals.

At about seven my platonic clinch was interrupted by someone stealing our blanket. Outraged, I followed the thief down to one of the bedrooms where another accomplice was trembling in a bed, considerably the worse for wear after too many bourbon and cokes. He was now being ably assisted by a couple of girls, which he was unfortunately completely unable to appreciate fully. Having ascertained that A: he was in capable hands and in no imminent danger, B: I wasn’t getting my blanket back anytime soon, and C: I wasn’t exactly a picture of health myself, I laughed heartily at his predicament, which elicited a single raised finger in response.

I got a lift home squashed up against the glass in the back of a Toyota hatchback. My hand had swelled considerably by this time. I don’t recall being hungover, although it is possible.

Getting home went something like this:
“Happy New Year, can you take me to accident and emergency sometime today?”

Examination of my injuries revealed a possibly fractured finger to go with a definitely sprained hand, along with a comment that I was lucky not to have a broken wrist or arm. My lip was also showing signs of infection. Due to being suddenly one-handed I got some time off my part time job, but couldn’t drive or ride, or drink due to the antibiotics. I asked for the x-ray as a souvenir but the doctor wouldn’t let me keep it.

Everyone who was at that party has a story to tell about what has become known simply as ‘Kev’s New Years’. For most of the attendees it marked the end of their last year at school. There have been other, greater parties, but this one remains special.

Happy New Year folk