Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ads not like they used to be

I've been revisiting the world famous in NZ mid 80's Hilux ads after randomly discovering them on youtube.

This one was apparently banned, although I clearly remember seeing it screen at around the time it would have come out.

I like how Scotty's tunnel 'shortcut' getting from Kent Terrace to Thorndon via the Mt Vic Bus Tunnel is in completely the opposite direction they need to go :)

Bringing the fine dynasty of Hilux ads up to date is the brand new 2011 version:

While it is light years ahead in concept and execution, I think I prefer the 80's ones in that they make me want to buy the truck more. And just how is that chimp managing to use an airbrush in the slipstream like that?

I know. Rambo'd up pig driving a tooled up motorcycle with a talking chimp in the sidecar, and it is the airbrushing I call out for being unconvincing...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Smugly Blissful

Saw this the other day, and am in a grumpy mood anyway, so am taking it out on the internet:

Makes as least as much sense as an invisible omniscient omnipresent being creating everything out of nothing on a whim. No, in fact it makes more, since it even though the statement is a profoundly over simplistic generalisation the theory it mocks is backed up by repeatable observation and experimentation. Y'know, freaking actual science, something I bet the authors and propagators of this piece have little useful understanding of. Anyone who argues "Evolution is just a theory anyway" usually needs to brush up on the scientific definition of "theory". It is a bit more strict than the common one.

I have no general issue with religion, I really don't, but when it gets all "scientists, what do they know?" anti-science like this (aside from the literally holier-than-thou "my sect is better than your sect" BS that screws up everything it touches), it really pisses me off. Science and religion can co-exist, if only the fundies will let them.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Officially best in the world again

While my relationship with rugby can be love-hate at times, after a very hard fought and too-close-to-call-until-it-was-over final on Sunday night, this was a pretty sweet moment to savour:

This is my favourite press pic from the night, Corey Jane and Israel Dagg making confetti angels (source NZ Herald), and summing up the mixture of joy and relief felt by All Black fans everywhere after hanging on to win a low scoring game by a single point.
While it wasn't the prettiest game to watch, it is nice to be able to say we are World Champions again, especially if like me you are old enough to remember the last time we won it, at the same ground on a winter afternoon in 1987:
And this, for anyone interested, including the muppets at the IRB who are discussing fining the French team for technically breaking the rules by crossing the half-way line, is a perfectly acceptable, nay encouraged, response to the challenge of the haka.

And to their credit, the French took some beating, despite most pre-game predictions, making the game anyone's to lose right up until full time.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Do you have a flag? *

Spotted in the stupormarket carpark this morning:
One of the things I have liked about the RWC is the car flags, from little window ones to full size national flags stretched across bonnets. They haven't usually been as nth level as this one though.

* gag reference

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lights over Wellington

More or less coincident with the World Cup, bright lights have been piercing the skies above our fair city. I thought it was something to do with the event itself, but after a bit of digging I found it sort of is and isn't.

It is a promotion for Victoria University (press blurb here), with a light shining from each of their campuses around the city.

With the right cloud base the effect can be quite striking:

No reports of Bat-signals have been noted, although something similar in Christchurch last month prompted someone in a Batman costume to turn up at the local copshop and ask to see 'the Commissioner'.

On a vaguely related note, while the Stadium is still helpfully labelled as such, last night while driving past it I noticed the the 'T' in the lettering wasn't lighting up. This turned the title into "SADIUM", which made me wonder if there was hopefully a "HAPPIUM" out there somewhere.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Prodigal Bella

A few days after the prodigal piglet episode last week, another wandering companion serendipititiously (I have no idea if that is even a word, but I'm using it) returned to the household after a much longer absence. Pussycat Bella has been on an extended holiday at the gym creche, after last being in our possession over a year ago. The stories she could tell...(or he, as Charlotte calls him/her. We think it is a her since it is named after my parents real female housecat)

She fit right back in.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Final finally

Our house yesterday evening:
I didn't even know we had this until Fi discovered it while rummaging around for something else. Seemed only natural to join the rest of the flags up around the neighbourhood.

I'm not the hugest rugby fan in the world, but I do like watching my team, and like it even more when they win. My cynicism around the World Cup mostly sprang from the way it was promoted, but also a little bit from being wary of committing to the idea that this time we might actually win the thing. After last night's semi final win ruthlessly brushing aside our closest rival and biggest threat 20-6, a whole lot of people are daring to hope, and swinging from very (very) quiet confidence to well placed belief that this time next week we will be World Champions for the first time in 24 years (could be worse, we could be English football fans; their national side hasn't won the Soccer World Cup since 1966). The tension before the game was the most I have felt for any AB's match I have ever seen. Interesting though, throughout the game the AB's themselves were the most pumped and psyched I have ever seen as well, which was borne out in the result. Australia didn't play that terribly; we were just a lot better.

For the country renowned as generally being the best in the game historically (with the All Blacks being one of the most winning teams in any code worldwide), the lack of World Cup success has been mystifying and frustrating, and ultimately monkey on the back building. After winning the inaugural event in 1987, we only reached the final again in 1995, and have fallen at the quarters and semi's every other time (1991, 1999, 2003, 2007, the last mentioned here).

A few other hoodoos around the tournament:

-Prior to last night, the All Blacks had never beaten Australia at a world cup. Hoodoo broken.

-Conversely Australia haven't won a match at last night's venue since 1986. Hoodoo stands.

-In prior world cups, the team that beat the reigning champions went on to win it. Australia did that this time, eliminating our other biggest rival South Africa in last weeks quarter final, but that trend is now broken.

Also in prior world cups, no team that has been defeated in pool play has gone on to win the tournament. Since Australia got knocked over by Ireland a few weeks ago, that trend still stands. The AB's are the only undefeated team in this years tournament.

-Our final opponent, France has eliminated NZ from a world cup twice and have been regarded as a bogey team for NZ, mostly because they are so unpredictable even the French themselves don't know which team (the rubbish one or the awesome one) will turn up on the day. We thumped France in pool play this time, so that monkey if not dead, is seriously wounded. Plus France lost not once in pool play, but twice (see above), and were lucky at best to win their quarter final. They are not to be underestimated, but if the AB's play the final with the intensity and clinicality they displayed last night, no team in the world right now can beat them.

Still it isn't over until it's over. The final matchup is the same as it was in 1987; all going well the result will be too.

And kind of apropos of nothing, but I liked the sky at dusk last night, so here it is:

Reading Nature's signs

Mowed the lawns for the first time in a while on the weekend. If things on the lawn start disappearing into the grass, it probably means it is a good time to get the lawnmower out:

That's better:

Due to a combination of factors I hadn't been able to get out and get the lawns done over the last little bit. Combined with the spring growth spurt we had been watching Charlotte's Dora ball slowly disappear...

PS lest the amount of debris leads anyone to think I was mowing with a chainsaw or something, we don't collect our grass clippings, since we have nowhere to dispose of / no use for them. In this instance there just happened to be a lot of clippings, hence the mess.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bumpity bumpity bump

So just as history repeats itself with Charlotte needing another dilatation, it also repeated itself with the op to perform said dilatation being bumped. Last time it was because she had a cold, this time it was because there were more acute cases needing the surgeons attention (Charlotte herself being one of those acute cases).

I don't begrudge them that. I'm grateful she isn't worse off, and it isn't anyones fault the schedule got busy today (we've been told she will be rebooked for a couple of weeks from now, which will in theory be an unbumpable fixture).

It's just frustrating to be there ready to go, having gotten up early (so early Charlotte needed to be wakened, and she is usually Early McEarlyson when it comes to getting up in the morning), been in the ward for a couple of hours, seen the anaesthetist and signed his consent form, meeting the surgical team and having the risks and conditions explained and signing that consent form, then settling down to wait for the call to theatre, only to be told it's all off and you can come back in a couple of weeks provided she is okay right now. Which she was, need for the op aside, the blockage at the root of this weeks adventures having resolved itself in the two nights between when it happened and this morning. Buildup and let down. It has been a tiring couple of days.

Still, while waiting she got to play around with some new toys, taking her friends along for the ride (along with Tigger is also shoehorned in there with her along with Piglet ).
She liked the toy room so much she didn't want to go home. Piglet would go on to have his own solo adventure this afternoon after being left in the play area at the mall. We had given him up for lost (just like her original Thomas engine, which is having a long holiday at the new Kilbirnie sports centre), when the mall rang to say someone had handed him in. Which is good, since I am probably just as attached to the little guy as my daughter is.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

This and that

Wellington from my upstairs window this morning:

And this evening:
I love this place when it is like this.

More than a little fecked off with the master and navigator of the Rena at the moment. I'm not normally one to prejudge investigations, but for pete's sake, this is the 21st century. The reef they hit was first charted in 1827. There was a hint of a story today that their charts might have been out of date, but I'm betting they are less than 184 years old. I haven't spent a lot of time in Tauranga, but the times I have been there have been good. This is just a shame. I'm getting annoyed as usual with all the "somebody must DO something, why aren't they doing this?" speculation from the armchair experts and the media which are usually in ignorance of what is actually involved. I'm not an expert, but at least I usually know enough to know what I don't know.

Another long night in A&E last night with another bit of food stuckage, ending at 2:00am with a check in to the Children's ward for Charlotte. Since this is the second incidence in a month, we had prediscussed going to Wellington hospital with the surgeon so thats where we wound up. Charlotte was well enough to come home today, but is going back tomorrow for a second dilatation. Her last was back in 2009 and went without too much drama, so hopefully this one will be the same.

Still Fi and I were watching TV earlier and a promo for 24 Hours in A&E came on. Quick as a flash she joked that was just a reference to the waiting time for those triaged as non-urgent :)

Friday, October 07, 2011

Communistical sculpture

Listening to: the sound of my children sleeping. Or occasionally grizzling.

So a couple of months ago I blogged about the Wellington Odd Shaped Ball tournament commemorative statue, and how I thought it was a bit communist-y.

Turns out I'm not the only one who thought that as noted by The Wellingtonista here, and the style even has a name, although to be fair in a post eerily similar at times to mine, Wellingtonista's scribe did note a few things I didn't, most notably a certain feminine aspect to the piece. I won't be able to look at it the same way again, although the observation does remind me of this scene from The Big Lebowski, which works just as well in Italian as it did in English.

The hopes of one of the sculptors that people might climb on it being summarily vetoed by an anonymous council operative fits nicely with the totalitarian imagery too.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Sophie Show

It occurred to me the other day that we were getting close to falling into the classic parental trap of not documenting our second child nearly as much as the first. So given I haven't said much at all about Sophie so far on this blog, here is a post just for her.

We were at a friends place the other morning and the sun was prisming in the window glass just so :)
On a blanket made for her by her Auntie, which immediately made it look like she was hosting her own talkshow. I'm not sure what five month olds would necessarily talk about, but that's probably over-extending the idea...
At five months she is now old enough to grasp and hold her own bottle (sometimes at least, when she isn't too distracted by pretty much anything).
And practice for being the really annoying little sister who is always messing up her big sister's stuff. She can't quite reach out and grab those trains yet, but you know she is thinking about it:

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

In The Navy....

No disrespect intended to the Royal New Zealand Navy, but that song always comes to mind when the subject comes up. Not so much due to The Village People as it is to these guys:

The whole idea of Vikings singing this song in their longboats cracks me up.

Anyway, back to the actual Navy, the Navy was in Wellington over the weekend to mark their 70th anniversary. And when I say "the Navy", I mean literally the entire fleet bar one ship. Not often you can get almost the entire navy in one shot. There are nine RNZN ships out of twelve in this pic, with another couple berthed around the corner to the right:
The aforementioned couple, Fleet Replenishment Tanker HMNZS Endeavour and Survey and Research ship HMNZS Resolution, along with the just returned from being upgraded Interisland Ferry Aratere.
Sealift and Amphibious Support Vessel HMNZS Canterbury at Queen's Wharf (middle), with Inshore Patrol Vessels HMNZS Taupo and Rotoiti (left) and Hawea and Pukaki (right):
Offshore Patrol Vessel HMNZS Wellington:
ANZAC/Meko 200 class Frigate HMNZS Te Mana, and OPV HMNZS Otago:
The other half of the combat element, HMNZS Te Kaha. That we only have two instead of four of these was one of the bigger NZ public spending controversies of the early 90's.
Te Kaha with Canterbury behind. Charlotte was concerned that the big gun might frighten people:
Te Kaha from astern:
Te Kaha's Phalanx Close In Weapons System for self defense. A bit like R2D2, but less cute:
The girls and I went for a wander amongst the crowds and ships around the waterfront on Saturday morning. Charlotte liked the helicopters (both Naval and Civilian) best. Combined with the World Cup games at the nearby stadium (we ran into the All Blacks leaving a signing session just as we got there) it was a busy weekend in the city. With all the overseas visitors here for the tournament, there has been a nice buzzier than usual atmosphere around town.

Reports that much of the buzz was from excited singles reacting to the sudden appearance of hundreds of sailors wandering around in uniform are unconfirmed :).

Along with most of the ships being open to visitors, Helipro was conducting operations as normal from it's Queens Wharf base. Small helicopter (Robinson R44), big ship (Canterbury):
Slightly bigger helicopter (Eurocopter Twin Squirrel), still a big ship:
While the crowds waited to board the Canterbury, they could check out Helipro's BK-117 which was opened up for inspection (and which can be seen hard at work in this post ). It made an interesting contrast with the Navy SH-2G Seasprite embarked aboard the Canterbury.
Three helicopters in one shot. R44, Jetranger, and Te Kaha's Seasprite
The Navy has since left Wellington to go back to their usual ports and duties. Before they sailed the stood out into the harbour yesterday so they could be inspected by the Governor General. I happened to drive into town in the evening and they made for a moody and impressive sight looming out of the heavy rain in the gathering twilight.

It would have made a great photo, but I didn't have my camera with me (plus I was driving along the motorway at the time, which is probably more critical).