Tuesday, June 30, 2009

“…when she was bold and strong”

My mate Tim published his current top 10 songs over on his blog, The Fat Man and his efforts inspired me. 

Trust me on this, it’s not a simple exercise.

My first draft has taken a couple of hours on and off this afternoon between the chores. After initially building to upwards of 50 tunes I’ve finally managed to prune it to the required 10. Don’t be surprised that the 70’s and 80’s are over represented, after all they were my formative years.

In no particular order;

  1. Better man - Pearl Jam
  2. A little is enough - Pete Townsend
  3. Run to the water - Live
  4. Because the night - Patti Smith
  5. Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin
  6. Fishing for Lisa - The Feelers
  7. Imagine – John Lennon
  8. Numb - Linkin Park
  9. Creep - Radiohead
  10. The Boxer - Simon and Garfunkel


I’m finally getting back to work tomorrow after nearly 3 weeks off. It’s great to be feeling better but I’m somewhat dreading what I’ll have to deal with at the office.

Lost all perspective

The French rugby team have been in New Zealand playing a couple of test matches against our All Blacks.

After the first test a couple of weeks back French layer Mathieu Bastareaud, was reportedly set upon by half a dozen Maori or pacific island youths who beat the crap out of him as he was returning to his hotel in Wellington after celebrating their victory over the All Blacks. He was sent home to France as his fractured cheek and eye socket meant he couldn’t play in the second test.  Bastareaud being tackled by All Black Isaia Toeava

New Zealand was shocked. Though we’re far from crime free here, the idea that a high profile visitor could be targeted like that was horrible.  We were embarrassed. The story was splashed al over the front pages. How could this happen here?


The cops investigated and video footage taken from outside the hotel showed Bastareaud arriving home unharmed. They talked with him further and a few days later Bastareaud subsequently ‘fessed up and conceded he’d made the story up as a better alternative to admitting he’d fallen in his hotel room and hit his head on a side table. He didn’t want to embarrass his family by admitting he’d been drunk.

OK. Scum. Fine. We talked some trash about him and prepared to move on.

A couple of days later it emerged in  a French newspaper that it was in fact a couple of his team mates who’d given him the bash when he was p*ssed and acting aggressively after they’d arrived back at the hotel.

OK. What a dickhead. Life’s way too short for this rubbish.

This morning I read that Mathieu Bastareaud attempted suicide in France yesterday and has now been admitted to a psychiatric hospital where he will remain under observation for at least two weeks due to his fragile emotional state.

And now we feel like scum for talking trash about him. Sigh.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

It’s all about meme

This meme is unashamedly stolen from the blog of the ultra sophisticated edder, “I don’t care for your tone.” Join in.


The 7 deadly sins

Pride: What is your biggest contribution to the world? My enormous capacity to take the piss out of people who think they know it all.  There aren’t that many of us who actually do.

Envy: What does someone have that you wish were yours? Abs

Gluttony: What did you eat last night? Enough panzotti to feed a modest sized Argentinean village followed by half a family size block of Cadbury chocolate (which perhaps explains the sans abs situation).

Lust: What really lights your fire? Porn

Wrath: What really pissed you off?  The fact that every single time I try to plug in a USB device it’s upside down. How is that even possible when there’s a 50:50 chance of getting it right? It’s a freakin’ conspiracy and I can prove it - it involves a grassy knoll and a fake moon landing.

Greed: Name something you hoard and keep from others: Old newspapers – I have 3 rooms full of them now. I’m considering leasing a storage unit so I can extend my collection.

Sloth: What’s the laziest thing you do? When training new workers, I always give incomplete or misleading instructions as this ensures weeks of hilarity as they seriously f**k things up.

The Joy of Glastonbury

I just saw a report that the Glastonbury music festival is on this weekend in beautiful Somerset, England. GlastonburyThe festival started in 1970 (in fact it was first held the day after Jimi Hendrix died) and has been held most years since then. I was there in 1990 when The Cure were the top act -it was a fantastically psychedelic weekend. Oh to be that young and brave again.

The headline acts this year are  Blur, The Prodigy and Nick Cave  and I see there’s even a few of my old favourites including Crosby, Stills and Nash, Bruce Springsteen, Echo and the Bunnymen and Neil Young.

Initial reports indicate there’s been rain and the first photos, see example below, indicate that mud is yet again an issue this year. I guess it makes for a softer landing at least.





Photo / AP

It makes me feel old that upon seeing this photo, my initial reaction is to thank the gods that I don’t feel the need to put myself in situations like this anymore.

I have gotten shamefully soft.

What’s the buzz?

New Zealand has no native bumblebees or honeybees (which live in colonies) but we do have several species of native bee that live in individual holes in clay banks.

Bumblebees of various species were introduced to New Zealand from England but the short-haired bumblebee pictured below, is the rarest here. They were brought to New Zealand from England over 120 years ago to pollinate red clover. Buzzy Bee


Associated Press 


These particular bees are now extinct in England and UK conservation groups have announced a programme to create a secure home on farms in southeast England and then start a captive breeding programme using bees from New Zealand.

Bees will be caught in Central Otago in the South Island  and will wake up in England after being flown back in cool boxes during their winter zzzzz’s (aka hibernation).

Interesting thought that they’ll be repatriated after hundreds (thousands??) of generations here.  I wonder if other breeds of local English bees will look down on them as backwater colonials and quietly mock their accents?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Great Food Robbery

Interesting story on Campbell Live here tonight for any Australian readers. 

Sounds like you guys are getting totally ripped off on food prices. We’re somehow paying significantly less here in NZ for your Australian products and this is despite our extra 12.5% GST which is payable on all goods.

Click on the todaytonight logo for the full story from Craig Kelly of the Southern Sydney Retailers Association. Sorry I can’t find the actual video anywhere online to link to.


Prepare to be plenty pissed off.


 23 June_2009_7


As promised earlier here is a photo of Cathedral Square, Christchurch at night with the lights on.

Awww pretty.




After saying I was struggling earlier, here’s my second post of the evening… I’m making quite a liar of myself.

I’ve lost my voice

Figuratively that is.

I’ve been sick and was finally discharged from hospital on Saturday afternoon after more than a week. I’m still off work for another few days but I must be feeling much better because I was getting excruciatingly bored by yesterday.  To break the monotony I’ve come to hang out with a friend in Christchurch for a couple of days. Christchurch is a couple of hours flight south of Auckland (latitude 43°S).

My hotel is right in the middle of town and23 June 2009_3 my room looks down on the square, the sculpture and the cathedral as below. If I remember rightly the sculpture lights up and looks quite cool at night so I’ll try and get another shot of it after we get home from dinner. 

Since I got home from hospital, I’m finding myself with a crisis of confidence - I haven’t been able to think of anything worthwhile to post about. Everything I write seems so banal. I’m hoping that a bit of a break from Auckland town might nudge me from my malaise.

Thanks to you all for your well wishes over the last couple of weeks. Every single message was truly appreciated – thanks heaps. I have a lot of reading to do over the next while to catch up on what I’ve missed, but not tonight – I’m off for a quick Thai meal before an early night as the flight etc has taken it out of me. I must admit to still feeling a bit fragile.

Good night from the deep (and freakin’ freezing) south of New Zealand.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Just a quick check in. I’ve been sick and not up to posting but slowly getting better now. Should be out of hospital within the next few days hopefully so I will be back in touch then.

I’ll have a lot of catch up reading to do.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Retail therapy

Laptop bag - PQQ




The handle on my lap top bag gave up on me a few weeks ago so since then I’ve been on the look out for a more stylish replacement.


…and t’ da, this is it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

No secrets

Probably fake but funny none the less.

I only say it’s probably fake as I seem to be getting fooled so often lately. I still naively take things at face value – perhaps it’s a sign of my age, I’m just not used to the electronic trickery that’s available.

Has anything fooled you lately?

Monday, June 8, 2009


I wore a brand new charcoal grey fine wool suit to work today for the first time. I matched it with the beautiful black pumps I bought in Melbourne a couple of months back and a black silk top. I felt like a million dollars.

I was in the cafeteria making a coffee when a good friend and colleague came in. We chatted and she noticed my new suit. I did a twirl for her and casually asked  “ Ya like it?” 

Big mistake.

“Hmmm dunno – I’m not sure about the colour. Is it wool? It’s not my kind of thing I guess. Too formal. Too tailored.”

I felt deflated.

I know that I asked the question and some no doubt would say that if I didn’t want an honest answer I shouldn’t have asked. But hang on a minute, when did tact become a thing of the past?  It’s not like I was asking her in the shop fitting room before I bought it - I had already shelled out the big bucks. It must have been obvious to her that I felt great wearing it so why would she feel like it was necessary to be so brutal?

whyatt-ugly-baby-cartoonWe all get asked questions every day where a completely honest answer is not the best course of action. 

Isn’t she the most beautiful baby you’ve ever seen?

What do you think of my new sofa?

Do you like my new hair cut?

Wasn’t that the best lasagne you’ve ever tasted?

Selective honesty has it’s place  – telling a white lie in response to these types of questions means that no-one gets hurt. There’s almost always something positive we can come up with to save hard feelings.

Do you agree or do you believe there is not any excuse for any degree of dishonesty?


Do you like my new do?



I got e-mailed this today. 


Sunday, June 7, 2009

All grown up (almost)

My son went through a rite of passage last night at his first senior school ball. A fabulous time was had by all and he’s even more in ‘serious like’ with the sweet Rhiannon. 062

It takes my breath away to think that next week Rory will be 16 and he has only 18 months left of high school before he starts university in 2011. He’s decided he wants to teach; senior level history, geography and biology so he’s planning to complete two degrees in arts and science. Teaching will never make him rich but I am very happy he’s found his passion. He has the perfect attitude for it, he’s caring, calm, patient and tolerant and importantly I believe, he laughs easily.

As jadedj said poignantly in his post of yesterday, there’s a sadness to it. My baby boy is nearly all grown up and not needing me in the same way he has done for the last 16 years.

Bitter sweet. But of course I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Only time would tell

WARNING: Strong language.


If Lisa said it then it must be true. Fuck!

If Rachael really is pregnant then surely David must be the father – they only split up a month ago. Fiona gasped as she took in the seriousness of this. Her and that bitch Rachael pregnant at the same time? To the same guy? Fuckfuckfuck.

The arsehole wanker prick had promised her that he wasn’t shagging Rachael anymore. He said he wasn’t even attracted to her and was just waiting for the best time to give her the flick. That was the only reason she’d let him get that far that night at Lisa’s house 6 weeks ago.

Fuck! This changed everything.

Fiona had been planning on giving him the news on Saturday night after his parents 20th wedding anniversary party. She was sure he’d be pleased. Sure they were young but they weren’t kids, she’d be 18 in a few months and his 18th birthday was only 3 weeks away. He’d already said he wanted a family with her, though admittedly he was talking about after they’d both graduated from university in 4 years.

Fiona was brought back to the present by her cell phone ringing. The caller ID said it was David so she answered trying to sound as normal as possible though her stomach was turning somersaults.

“Hi there how was the camp? I’ve missed you”

David had been on a 7th form biology camp for the last 3 days and Fiona had felt kind of lost without him around. Though they’d only been officially together for a month, she had pined after him for months. Since that first night he eyed her up and down and winked at her at Richard Howells party.

“It’s been great Fi, we had the best time.” David responded. “I need to talk to you though, where are you now? Can I come see you straight away?”

Fiona was worried. What could be so important? Oh my god, had he heard about Rachael? When David arrived at the school library a few minutes later she felt faint when she saw the look on his face. All business. He gave her an awkward kiss on the cheek. Fuck, she thought, he has heard and he’s going to go back to her. Bitch. Fuck. Arsehole. While these thoughts were racing through her mind, she kept a smile plastered on her face. If he thought his life was complicated now, just wait another few minutes buddy – it’s going to get worse. Way worse. They went outside and sat down on a bench in the sun.

He swallowed. “This is hard” he said slowly and somewhat cautiously.

Damn right, she thought, still holding the smile as her brain worked at a million miles an hour. What was the best way to handle this? Should she be sweet and understanding and gently explain the true scope of his predicament or should she let him have it with both barrels and point out that he’d made the decision to be with her and there was no going back now if he didn’t want her daddy to deal with?

“I’ve met someone and I think I’m in love” he began, “Her name is Alison and I want to be with her. I’m sorry but we’re over.” He got up and started to walk away, “Can you bring my iPod and my blue jersey to school tomorrow, I think they’re at your place.” He turned and walked away.

Fiona sat on the bench while the sun completed his journey through the sky. She didn’t cry. The late evening chill finally galvanised her into walking home and into a long and difficult discussion with her parents.

The next afternoon Fiona boarded the 3.00pm bus to Whangarei. It would be easier there living with Aunt Meredith and her cousins. She never wanted to see the prick again. One day she might tell him about his child but she wasn’t even sure of that yet.

Only time would tell.

Friday, June 5, 2009


My wonderful mother turned 70 years old today and my sister and I  had planned a big surprise dinner party at mum’s favourite local restaurant.  The whole restaurant was booked to accommodate the 80 invited guests. Mum

Somehow we’d managed to keep it from her. She thought the hair and facial appointment and the manicure we’d booked for her today were simply a birthday treat and not party preparation.

Unfortunately late last night she was feverish and struggling to breathe. Dad called an ambulance and mum’s been in the high dependency unit in hospital since then with a bad case of double pneumonia. The hospital recommended we all come in at about midnight as it appeared that mum’s fragile heart (she has mitral valve disease) was failing. It was incredibly worrying, we thought we were going to lose her.

I am very very pleased to share that there has been some good  improvement today, and especially this afternoon, after a barrage of antibiotics. Her temperature is down, her heart is ‘running’ smoothly again and she’s breathing more easily.

A couple of friends helped me with the huge cancellation job this morning - the birthday celebration that never was. We’ll organise something on a smaller scale when mum’s better.

Happy Birthday Mum I love you.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Momma always said…

…that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

I am determined to start making a better go of breakfast during the week rather than the current situation where Rory gobbles down his cereal standing at the kitchen sink and I grab something, usually unhealthy, when I get a chance later in the day at work. I want to be one of those families where breakfast is a sit down event. 

In my fantasy world, every morning there would Cappuccinobe a clean and pressed plain white Irish linen tablecloth on the table and freshly squeezed chilled pulpy orange juice in tall glasses. Our places would be set with an eclectic but stylish mix of old fashioned pretty crockery and there would be rich dark cappuccino in beautifully glazed cups. Rory and I would sit down and chat for at least 15 minutes about our plans for the upcoming day.

We’d be eating…



  • Monday: A fresh made waffle with locally grown berries and yoghurt. 
  • Tuesday: Light toasted muesli with fresh apricot and peach fruit salad.
  • Wednesday: A buttery croissant with a slice of gruyere cheese and a couple of slices of tomato.
  • Thursday: Kellogg's crunchy nut cornflakes followed by a hot piece of toasted Vogels bread with Marmite.
  • Friday: Half a juicy pink grapefruit followed by a creamy banana and yoghurt smoothie.

Spring Onion and Cherry Tomato Omelette 


  • Monday: A cherry tomato and spring onion omelette.
  • Tuesday: A bowl of porridge with sultanas, cinnamon and a wee sprinkling of brown sugar.
  • Wednesday: A short stack of pancakes with real maple syrup and banana.
  • Thursday: A poached egg on Vogels 12 grain toast with a drop of HP sauce.
  • Friday:  Grilled chicken bacon with a toasted sesame bagel and cream cheese. Vogels_Bread



…or something like that *sigh*

How about you? What’s your idea of the very best week day breakfast options? Feel free to put me to complete shame and share your family’s breakfast routine.

A life cut short

WARNING: Slightly grisly story follows.

I only found this yesterday though it’s a couple of months old. 3 April, check it out here: www.msnbc.msn.com.

James Hines was a preacher and a funk musician from Allendale, South CarolinaJames and Ann Hines. He was a visible character. He was 2 metres tall (that’s about 6’7” I think) and an albino black man. 

60 year old Mr Hines died of cancer in 2004. Inexplicably a worker at the funeral home used an electric saw to take off his feet so he would fit comfortably in a standard size coffin. This despite the funeral home having extra height coffins available. Mrs Hines says she wasn’t told that she needed a bigger one and didn’t consider it herself until people started commenting at the funeral that the casket didn’t look big enough. Nothing came of the questions though and the body was buried. The feet were buried with Mr Hines in the casket.

In April this year, after persistent rumours circulating in the town since 2004, the local police exhumed the body to confirm the situation.

Mrs Hines has now received an undisclosed sum in compensation from Cave Funeral Home though this hasn’t halted the police investigation. Apparently under South Carolina law, destroying or desecrating human remains is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Freaky. Taking ‘solution focus’ to a whole new gruesome level. 

“I was kind of like smoothing things out finally. But now it's like starting all over again," Ann Hines said. Sad.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What’s in a name?

  • Major
  • 4real
  • Talula does the hula from Hawaii Baby
  • Bishop
  • Spiral Cicada
  • Cinderella
  • Duke

What do these have in common? 

An attempt has been made to register all of these given names. Most though have been disallowed by the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs (Birth, Deaths and Marriages).

I can’t believe some of the names that idiotic parents want to saddle their offspring with - life is hard enough for goodness sake.

The New Zealand Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages Brian Clarke  said names can be declined for registration if they may cause offence to a reasonable person, are unreasonably long (generally more than 100 characters) or resemble an official title or rank.  Names using numerals will also be declined.

The applicant can have a negative decision reviewed by the Courts if they’re determined.

Do you agree with the sort of guidelines as above or so should we be allowed to name our children whatever we want? What are the rules in your country?




Natures revenge

I love this. I especially love that the elk scent spray he’s bought says specifically do not use on your body and so he uses it as a mouth spray – I hate to think what’s in that stuff.

It cracks me up that the wife just keeps videoing while the deer is kicking the bejaysus out of him. Hilarious. The deer is striking a blow against red neck hunters the world over.