Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday night and the lights are low

Just a quick post before bed.

I’m tired and slightly drunk. It’s been another long week, work continues to be frantic and I seem to be running around after Rory almost every night. I would almost kill for a sleep in tomorrow but he has another early football game….so maybe Sunday.

Have a great weekend everyone.


An Estonian woman gave birth to a daughter on June 11 on board the Baltic Queen, a large passenger ferry en route from Sweden to Estonia. The company is gifting the child free travel on the ship for ever. See the story here. Cool.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Getting around to it…

It’s tough keeping up the motivation levels when the weather is wet and cold. All I want to do when I get home from work is hibernate though there are plenty of jobs I should be looking at – my overgrown garden is one such chore.

Even if I could spend half an hour of my very limited daylight ‘free’ time each day, I might make some progress after a few days. Then I could allow another 30 minutes daily for some window cleaning as my windows are heading towards being opaque.

Or not…Pie Chart

I think maybe I’ll leave them until spring.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Two for Tuesday

I) Winter weather update, Papakura, NZ 



It’s nearly 6.30pm on Tuesday evening and it’s dark. We’ve been experiencing superb weather over the last few days though – it’s been frosty in the mornings but clear blue skies emerge with glorious sunshine in tow.

Temperatures have been edging towards an almost tolerable 15C degrees in the early afternoon and the days are finally starting to stretch out slightly – we already have an extra 30 minutes daylight in the 5 weeks since the solstice. 


II) Cottage envy

Cottage_4 I can just picture myself arriving for the weekend and fishing from a little wooden boat on this lake.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Love this

Nothing like a point of difference. Looks like a fun day, good on them for thinking outside of the square.

Best of luck to the newlyweds.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sheer Animosity

Sheer Animosity

Click on pictures to enlarge and read. Enjoy.


Famous Last Words


Bailing Out

Hermione YoureDoingitWrong  By Sheer Animosity

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Two for Tuesday

I) Winter weather update, Papakura, NZ



It’s 7:25 on Tuesday night. It’s getting cold again but at least the sky is clear. Should be a good day tomorrow though it’ll start out icy. I am glad I put the car in the garage.




II) Cottage envy

Love the blossom and the gazebo.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Butterfly Creek

It was a cold and wet Sunday afternoon here in Auckland so we needed an outing somewhere indoors. A new butterfly house has opened a few minutes from home so Rory and I went to check it out.042

  051 048 052

It was so lovely and warm in the butterfly house that we stayed for ages. There were thousands of butterflies and moths representing about 50 different species. Some of them were very big and I wasn’t sure about those ones landing on me – they look a bit too much like giant bugs for my liking.

I didn’t realise this place also just imported a couple of huge crocodiles from north Queensland. I had never seen anything like them. I got a pic of the biggest one; 45 years old and 4.8 metres long. Mind blowing.054There’s also a petting zoo and though Rory’s a bit old for such things, we couldn’t resist. The baby guinea pigs were adorable. 057It was a nice afternoon. I’m very conscious that soon Rory will want to forgo such forays with his mother so I make sure to appreciate them while I can.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

What’s in a name?

To learn about the origins of your surname check out this website, The Internet Surname Database.

My surname is Carroll.

This interesting and long-established surname, of Irish origin, is an Anglicized form of the name "O'Cearbhaill", a byname for a butcher or a fierce warrior, deriving from "cearbh", hacking. Warrior

There were six distinct septs of O'Carroll in Ireland, namely in Counties Kerry, Offaly, Monaghan, Tipperary, Leitrim and Louth. Carroll has a high position in the list of most numerous surnames in Ireland, approximately sixteen thousand, which range from Counties Cork, Tipperary and Waterford, to Kilkenny.

My given name Louise also means warrior so I guess you could say that I am someone not to be messed with. 

Friday, July 17, 2009

Rock and roll

You may have heard that NZ’s been getting a good shake up over the last few days. We’ve had around 30 decent shakes plus hundreds of small ones following the big one on Wednesday which measured 7.8 on the Richter scale.  I felt the ground rumble briefly this morning and it prompted this post on the subject.

A 7.8 quake is pretty massive, in fact it was this magnitude quake that killed 240,000 people in 1976 in Tangshan, in north-eastern China. The Japanese Kobe quake was a 7.2 and nearly 7000 lost their lives. Luckily the quake this week had an epicentre in NZ’s most sparsely populated region at the very bottom of the South Island. It was only 12 kilometres down too which is extra dangerous. By all accounts it lasted nearly 30 seconds which is a very long time by earthquake standards. It was a ‘rolling’ quake rather than a shake which means the ground appears to move in a wave formation – I saw one years ago and I’ll never forget it.  TectonicsNew Zealand straddles the Indo-Australian tectonic plate and the Pacific plate. These are 2 of the 15 plates on the Earths surface. The plates are enormous, rigid plates of rock up to 100km thick. These plates are always moving and at their edges they are constantly grinding into each other. This movement causes stress to build up in the brittle, upper layers of the plates. When this brittle rock finally breaks, an earthquake results.

The Pacific plate is forcing itself under the Australian plate at a rate of about 48-50mm a year. The Pacific plate can move this fast because it carries only a minimal amount of land mass. The edges of the Pacific plate form what is known as ‘the ring of fire', a zone of frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions stretching from New Zealand’s Southern Alps mountain range across to Washington state’s Mt St Helens. The image below shows the location of volcanic areas along the rim of the Pacific plate. ringfireThe city I live in, Auckland, has around 50 volcanoes. In theory they are classified as dormant though in practice they are unlikely to erupt again. More likely is the formation of new volcanoes due to Auckland's position on a magma ‘hot spot’.

Never a dull moment.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Don’t quote me

Punch from The Theater of the Absurd posted yesterday about favourite movie quotes and it made me think about some of the funny ones. Let’s test your knowledge. Without using the net, which well known, post 1970 comedy movies are the following lines from? 

  1. 'tis but a scratch! 
  2. I just thank the lord she didn't live to see her son as a mermaid.
  3. If we don't come down hard on these clowns... we're going to be up to our balls in jugglers!
  4. Warning. Assholes are closer than they appear.
  5. Tea can do many things, Jane, but it can't bring back the dead
  6. Fuck beauty contests. Life is one fucking beauty contest after another. School, then college, then work... Fuck that.
  7. Jimi Hendrix deceased, drugs. Janis Joplin deceased, alcohol. Mama Cass deceased, ham sandwich.
  8. He’s not the Messiah – he’s a very naughty boy.
  9. In English, please. What? You pooped in the refrigerator?
  10. Bathing is a lonely business. Except for fish, fish all bathe together.
  11. You look so beautiful and peaceful, you almost look dead.
  12. This is going straight to the pool room.



How did you score?

11-12/12: You reader are the consummate appreciator of all things comedic. Bet you’re the absolute bomb on quiz nights.

8-10/12: OK not too bad, pretty good even. Keep enjoying but consider expanding your range. Start quoting favoured lines ad nauseam to really prove your mettle.

5-7/12: Very mediocre exposure to classic* comedy. I suggest minimum of one comedy per week for the next 3 months. Co-opt a friend and practice re-enacting the ‘Ministry of Silly Walks’ skit from the Flying Circus to get you in the zone.

2-4/12: You need to have more fun. Instead of that next serious movie you were planning on watching or book you were intending to pick up, try a light-hearted movie instead. It really is the best medicine.

0-1/12: Comedy doesn’t interest you at all. You have far more important things to do with your time than laugh. Dry balls.

*Classic on the Lou scale.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Curiouser and curiouser





I am looking forward to seeing what Tim Burton does with Alice (Alice in Wonderland due for release early 2010).

I love these stories. They played a significant part in my childhood.





As far as I’m concerned this is Mr Burton’s best opportunity to date to really bugger up a story that I care about. The photos released so far look very typically Burton, perhaps too much so, though I remain hopeful. 

More information on the movie here or here.




`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
  Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
  And the mome raths outgrabe

from Jabberwocky from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872 by Lewis Carroll

Miles from nowhere

On Monday edder, I don't care for your tone, published a great new meme idea. Now I see Bob, I Should Be Laughing and DuPrCatee, chlorine in the gene pool have both joined in and seeing I’m still stuck in bed with the flu, there’s no excuse for not making an effort though it looks frightfully difficult.


The instructions are to answer each question using only song titles from one artist.

I chose Cat Stevens partly because he has a large repertoire but mostly just because I was a huge fan as a teenager.

OK here goes -

  • Are you male or female? – Hard headed woman
  • Describe yourself – Better bring another bottle baby
  • How do you feel about yourself? How can I tell you
  • If you could go anywhere, where would you go? 18th Avenue
  • Favourite form of transportation? Peace Train
  • Your best friend is? Sad Lisa
  • Your favourite colour is? Rubylove or Bitterblue
  • What's the weather like? Morning has broken
  • If your life was a TV show, what would it be called? Wild World
  • What is the best advice you have to give? The First Cut is the Deepest
  • If you could change your name, what would it be? Sweet Scarlet or perhaps Lady D’Arbanville
  • Your favourite food? Buddha and the chocolate box





Wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be though I acknowledge my cheat on the last question – Buddha is an album not a song.




Treat yourself to something uplifting for a few minutes. Relax.

World’s tiniest dog?



Photo / NZPA / Gisborne Herald, Rebecca Grunwell






This is Scooter.

He’s a Maltese and he’s only 6 months old but appears to have stopped growing. He is 8cm tall and weighs 400 grams. He might be the world’s smallest dog. Click on the picture to see the article about him in the NZ Herald dated yesterday 14 July 2009. 


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Two for Tuesday

I) Winter weather update, Papakura, NZ



It’s very cold here but at least the watery sunshine is trying hard to push through the clouds right now (9:45am Tuesday 14th). We’ve had some serious weather over the last few days, bad storms.

I have flu and am tucked up in bed feeling miserable. Can’t even find out if is swine flu (not that it matters) as NZ has now stopped testing for N1H1. Not that I could get out of bed to go to the doctors anyway - too crook.

Can I get a rousing  “get well soon Lou”?


II) Cottage Envy

Cottage_1Cute. It would smell good too.

Monday, July 13, 2009

International year of astronomy

Church of the Good ShepherdChurch of the Good Shepherd, Tekapo, Mackenzie Country, NZ. Photo: Associated Press

People's ability to see starlight is in increasing danger due to light pollution and pollution of the air. Many people around the world cannot see stars anymore because of night light pollution.

Our beautiful Mackenzie Country still has a pristine dark sky and the Tekapo area is currently bidding for world night sky reserve status, one of eight world-wide night UNESCO heritage site bids. Capture2

The Mount John Observatory, located above Lake Tekapo near Mount Cook in the South Island,  is home  to six telescopes, including NZ’s biggest telescope which measures 1.8m across and can observe 50 million stars each clear night. There are fears that the night sky will be compromised in the future by light pollution emanating from encroaching housing developments. Development must be very carefully managed and this is where the heritage protected status comes in.  It would be a terrible pity if we were all to lose sight of the beautiful night sky. 

Mt  John ObservatoryPhotographer unknown but see where I found this one and many other awesome photos.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Stand up and be counted

The lovely edder over at I don’t care for your tone, just celebrated her 100th post belatedly and it made me check and find that my next post (i.e. this one) would be the not so auspicious but worth celebrating anyway, 150th.

I made a bit of an effort to post something from the heart on my 100th (see ‘A century without loss’ here if you’re interested), so I thought that surely 150 was worth some effort as well.

So here goes…


ASIDE: The 2005 video below is of a local band The feelers singing a song that encapsulates the way I try to live my life every day. Not the greatest quality video but was the best I could find. 


I wasn’t actually going to post about this event EVER as it casts me in a somewhat questionable light but what the hell. I’ve obtained the necessary permission on the proviso that I change the name of the other person involved.

Last Saturday I nearly got myself carted away by the cops. Again.

My immediate neighbour is a young Maori girl. She’s on her own with her 2 young kids after  she finally got the gumption to show him the door a few months back. He was no good.

Aroha* and I are not exactly friends though I respect her parenting style and choosing to go it alone rather than put up with crap. She works a fulltime job though she needn’t, the social welfare system in New Zealand provides enough to live on and is universal and is based on the belief that single parents are better off at home caring for their children until the children start school at least. That’s not her style though and when he left she started looking for a job. Luckily I was able to help her out through a friend.

She’s gotten herself in trouble with her rent over the last few weeks (for various reasons that I won’t go into) and her landlord was trying to evict her but without going through the proper legal channels. Aroha came to me for advice as she had no proper rental agreement with the landlord and he was obviously counting on being able to get rid of her easily. I talked to him more than once on Aroha’s behalf and tried to negotiate a rent schedule which would allow her to catch up while also reminding him of his legal responsibilities. All to no avail – D day was last Saturday and if she wasn’t out when he turned up at 12o’clock, “there’d be trouble”.    

This story is getting much longer than I intended so I’ll speed it up.

On my advice Aroha didn’t budge. I was there with her. The landlord turned up and quickly got threatening.  I called the cops. His ‘boys’ started moving furniture out onto the driveway. Her babies were crying. The cops turn up at just the wrong moment when I was venting a stream of invective at the scum lowlife bast**d and I got promptly frogmarched out into the back seat of the police car. Aroha was crying – it was freakin’ chaos.

Anyway, one of the cops sat in the car and got the full story from me which obviously changed the situation (not that she let me out of the car immediately – she thought I needed some quiet time to calm down).  The landlord was sent packing and a mediation session with the Tenancy Tribunal was booked for yesterday.



Aroha now has a proper and lawful tenancy agreement with the landlord and has committed to sorting out her finances and making sure she keeps up with the rent.  She and I have an ‘appointment’ later today to draw up a budgeting plan for her.

Sometimes we just need to stand up against what we know is wrong.


*Aroha is not her real name though it is a real Maori girls name. It means love. See the similarity to the Hawaiian language? Aloha can mean love/affection as well as hello or goodbye.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Toilet Humour














A bit queasy?

Take a squizz, watch the first 90 seconds anyway - the remainder is another 2 minutes of the same. Not a glamorous cruise methinks, not that day anyway. I bet a lot of people were sick.

Check your volume, it comes on quite loud from the helicopter.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Safety with a difference

Those of you who read here regularly will know that I commute to work by air a day or two per week to our capital city, Wellington. I have a shockingly large carbon footprint I am sorry to say.

Anyway, a few weeks back a brand new safety video message was unveiled by Air New Zealand and it makes me smile.. They’re not actors either, they really are Air New Zealand cabin crew. Brave, especially the woman at the end. Check it out.

Painted On

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Joy Joy Joy

I’m inspired by the ‘joy lists’ published by edder from I don’t care for your tone and DuPree from chlorine in the gene pool.  I wasn’t tagged but I'm doing it anyway, just because…

Things that bring me joy;

  • a roaring wood fire on a cold wet night
  • a new hair cut and colour
  • gently waking to birdsong on summer holiday
  • the butterflies that go with a first date
  • a comfy chair in a warm spot and a good book
  • my skin tingling in the sun after swimming in the sea
  • driving with the top down
  • my girlfriends and a jug of icy margarita
  • a good movie in a luxury cinema (one with recliners)
  • a rollercoaster ride with a child

Double take

These signs have gone up in my town, Papakura, over the last couple of months. They’re certainly eye catching though creepy.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The perfect wife?









Vote YES New Zealand


In 2007, by an overwhelming majority of 113 to 8 votes and with the support of the majority of New Zealanders, Parliament granted children protection from assault by their parents. They repealed a 1959 law that allowed physical force to be used for the purpose of ‘correction’ of the child and thereby provided a perfect hiding place for parents who physically abused their children.

The 2007 law is working well but is under threat from an unnecessary and very expensive referendum, to be held by postal ballot over the next 4 weeks.

The referendum has been instigated chiefly by a lobby group called Family First. They claim that most New Zealanders disagree with the 2007 law and maintain that the 1959 law should be reinstated.

The old law wasn’t working though. In fact children were dying from ‘punishment’. In the last few years New Zealand has experienced the most shocking number of child deaths at the hands of those responsible for their care. It’s our hidden shame.

The referendum is worded is such a way that many will vote ‘No’ thereby completely missing the point that it was the ability to lawfully physically discipline our children which allowed child abusers to walk free. The current law is being administered well – the police aren’t hanging around looking for every parent who smacks their child on the hand for trying to poke a screwdriver in a wall socket or grabs them roughly to stop them running out on to the road, in fact the new law allows for these types of situations. Conversely what has happened is that parents who’ve abused their children have been convicted and held accountable.

"Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?"

Yes, it should. Violence only begets violence.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Stingray for breakfast

The Waitemata harbour in Auckland has been host most mornings recently to a pod of up to 18 Orca who are on the hunt for stingray. The Orca are coming right into the shallows by the city beaches and putting on quite a show.

Thought I’d share some of the photographs that are around, none of which are mine as unfortunately my pitiful attempts aren’t worth viewing. It’s mid winter here and freezing so forgive the dull early morning weather. At least it wasn’t raining.

Photo by Jonathan Squires


Photo: Jonathan Squires







Photo by Glenn McNae Photo: Glenn McNae

Photo by Brett Phibbs Photo: Brett Phibbs

Photo by Brett Phibbs_2Photo: Brett Phibbs

Apparently stingray are an Orca delicacy, they herd them into the shallows and it’s all on. They mainly eat the liver and leave the rest which worries the biologists as any toxins that the rays have been exposed to would be filtered by the liver and thus ingested by the Orca. At one stage when we were there multiple rays were leaping from the water trying to get away. Amazing stuff, dangerous too as I read that the barb of a stingray can kill even an Orca. Fascinating. Gruesome.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Big fan



Finally watched the movie Wanted. Released a year ago, somehow or other I kept missing it, so watched it on DVD this afternoon.

Wow, mind bendingly violent. Totally cool though and James McAvoy is as fantastic as ever. 

It’s all about me

The delightful and fun Joanne from Joanne Moving Forward – half speed has tagged me to share 10 things about myself that readers may not know.  Well any of you that read this blog regularly know that I compulsively over share almost everything going on in my life so this isn’t going to be an easy assignment.

I will tag three of my newest followers as I’m keen to get them sharing a bit about themselves. Please guys. I realise this is probably not your style at all but I’m nosey OK? Give a girl a break.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------OK, deep breath and  here goes…

1) I have blue eyes and fair skin. Gorgeous!

2) I’m somewhat wayward church wise but have given my own child a Catholic education. Hypocritical? Maybe, but the RC’s do good schooling and a bit of dogma never seriously hurt anyone.

3) I had a Norwegian Hooded rat named Seamus for years when I was in high school. I loved that rat.

4) My teenage son points out that I guilt him into doing stuff, yikes, I’m turning into my mother. Must work on that!

5) My favourite painting is Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. It takes my breath away. I have still never made to to the Uffizi to see the real thing but one day I will. Venus_detail









6) I am mathematically challenged. Even simple arithmetic ain’t simple to me.

7) I am shamefully monolingual. I used to gather as much as I needed to get by very basically when travelling but have never shown any commitment to learning a second language properly. Am thinking about starting night classes with my dad though and learning Italian. He already passably speaks 3 languages.

8) I will watch almost any sport on TV.

9) I can ride a motorbike.

10) On a cold and rainy winter Sunday afternoon (like today) I can easily stay in bed all day. Today is proof of that. I have slept, finished my book, dozed a bit, watched a DVD on my laptop and now written this post and it is now 3.15pm.  Rory’s out so I don’t intend getting up even now. Lazy cow.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Emerald Isle

It was 3 July 1989 and a 23 year old kiwi girl boarded the ferry from Galway to the main island of the Aran group, Inishmore. She was the only passenger and she imagined herself as an intrepid adventurer – the wind was roaring and the Atlantic was at its angry best.  It was breathtakingly cold though it was the middle of summer. Aran_Coast After tying up the boat, the man on the dock helped her off the ferry. She thanked him and hurried down the steps looking for somewhere to warm up. She headed toward a small group of whitewashed buildings where she fell into an easy conversation with the old man leaving the tiny post office. She was fascinated by his accent – she’d never heard anything like it despite her weeks already in Ireland. He thought she was South African and wouldn’t be convinced otherwise. They shared two fingers in the dark and smoky bar next door and he suggested she take his bicycle to explore the tiny island.

She almost laughed when she saw the bike – it was older than she was by years and though she hadn’t ridden a bicycle since she was a kid, she bravely pushed off and proceeded along the bumpy roadway.


It was a day to remember.

She marvelled at the ancient beauty of the place and stopped often to talk with islanders going about their business. A farmer stripped to his waist and clearing rocks from his field offered to share his lunch with her and she gratefully sat with him on the low stone wall and accepted a slice of soda bread and half his lump of cheese.

They talked while they ate and he told her with pride that every square inch of dirt on the island was created from seaweed and manure over the last 1000 years.  His grandfather’s father had moved his family to the island more than 80 years earlier and though his own son was now at university in Dublin studying “the law” , he hoped that one day he might return to the island permanently with his own family. Aran_Churches As the shadows lengthened and the sky turned pink, she knew she must end her exploring and head back to the village as the last ferry back to the mainland left each evening just before dark. There was no sign of the old man so she left the bicycle with the woman at the post office.

As the boat pulled away from the dock the young woman looked back at the island and held her hair from her eyes. The sun was setting and she was almost overwhelmed with the sheer joy of being able to travel to places of such raw beauty and to enjoy the simple hospitality of such warm and open hearted people.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Life is for living

Sas published this quote on her blog sas’ magical mystery tour and I love it. I’m seriously considering it for my own gravestone.

'Life is NOT a journey to the grave with the goal of arriving safely in a prettily preserved body, but rather, to skid in sideways in a shower of gravel and party shards - thoroughly used, utterly exhausted and loudly proclaiming: 'Fuck me, that was