Sunday, November 29, 2009

Does it matter?

More and more bullshit news every day about the questionable climate change science is getting to me. As Moko said from his virtual sandbox the other day;

“These clowns can't see the ocean for the waves.”

Are we polluting our planet? Is this a good thing? What are the chances we can go on doing this forever? Are we creating a healthier environment for our grandchildren and their grandchildren?

I don’t give a shit that some say the science looks dodgy, all I know is that you don’t wait until you figure out how the fire started before you put it out.

 

 

Wake up world.

Our livelihood right now is far less important than the next generations being able to breathe and drink fresh clean water.

It’s irresponsible that we’re not doing something significant to limit our impact on this planet – whether the science shows it yet or not. 

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What a night

It was a beautiful late spring evening with a clear blue sky and just a touch of chill in the air after sunset. No matter though as we were rocking and we’d have been warm even if it was snowing.

From the opening Daughter at 8pm through to a rocking cover of Neil Young's Rockin' In the Free World at 10.35pm, it was a fantastic Pearl Jam experience. Photo taken last night by Dean Purcell.

Over two and half hours of sublime performance and it sure didn’t hurt that Eddie Vedder is still hot hot hot!!

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EDIT: Yet another belated Friday flowers

Iris Lamp

 

Something a little different today.

I came across this lamp online at Barbara Gail Lamps. I love it. Iris are my favourite flower and I’m seriously considering placing an order. This would look so cute in my little sun room where I sit and read.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Noooooooooo

An Australian tourist accidentally smuggled a poisonous cane toad into Queenstown inside the hiking boots in her bag last week.

New Zealand Herald article here.

The disgusting critter was discovered after hopping out of the Cairns woman's bag when she stopped by Ultimate Hikes shop ahead of the walk on the Milford Track.

Somehow our Ministry of Ag & Fish officers at Auckland airport missed it. WTF? Please TRY HARDER people. Yuck!

Queensland_Cane_Toad 

Photo from news.mongabay.com and courtesy of FrogWatch, an Australian environmental group that wants to kill all cane toads. Click on the picture for the full July 2008 story.

Giving thanks

Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving day to all the ‘merican folks  who might happen across this here blog.

Have a great day, eat drink and be merry (and thankful of course).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Two for Tuesday

I) Up in smoke

From the NZ Herald this morning.

New Plymouth mother of three Zarah Murphy has an unusual methodology when it comes to growing her houseplant of choice.

It court yesterday where she’s facing charges of cultivating cannabis, she talked of how she’d put up posters of big healthy heading plants around the walls of her growing room as ‘role models’ for her own 20 plants. She also carefully chose a varied selection of classical music for the plants enjoyment.

Even Judge Allan Roberts said the converted room was a "pretty good effort" in which to grow the plants. He then sentenced her to 250 hours of community service.

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II) Cottage envy

stone-cottage-lake-lg--gt_full_width_landscapeI found this adorable stone cottage on the UK Channel 4 website in a story by Kevin McCloud about restoring old properties. I love the duck pond and can just imagine how peaceful it is there.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

625 comments

I mentioned in a post the other day about young Australian Jessica Watson and the website and blog chronicling her attempt to become the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the globe. She’s 16 and the voyage is 38,000 kilometres (23,000 nautical miles) in some of the most ferocious seas on the globe.

JW1 Blog Photo by Jessica Watson

It’s a hugely popular blog and she gets around 250 – 300 comments each day as people wish her the best. Well, Jessica crossed the equator the other day and she posted an update on her blog to let everyone know – she got 625 comments on the post. That’s right, 625 comments. That is mind blowing, apparently it’s the most read blog in Australia right now, and for good reason. She’s seems like a lovely kid who’s doing something incredibly brave and plus she’s a great writer. Her updates are a pleasure to read.

The website is http://www.jessicawatson.com.au/

Her blog http://youngestround.blogspot.com/

Her course and current location is recorded here http://www.jessicawatson.com.au/the-voyage

I understand she’s now passed Kiribati and will soon be turning around and heading back under the equator to round Cape Horn (southern tip of South America). Although she’s circumnavigating the globe in the southern oceans, in order to break the record she must cross the equator at least once so that’s what she has been doing since she left Sydney in October.

Jess 4 Check it out. It’s a fascinating read.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Friday flowers

Sorry for the belated Friday flowers publication.

Our Pohutukawa tree (aka the New Zealand Christmas tree) is just starting to bloom so I’ve been on the look out for a nice one to show you. The Pohutukawa grows along the west coast so when I took Bonnie for a walk at the beach today I looked out for a tree in good bloom to show you. Unfortunately I didn’t end up with a good shot so I’m sharing a professional pic by photographer David Wall. PohutukawaThe Pohutukawa tree grows up to a about 25 metres high and 15 meters wide. It’s a gnarly tree with twisting branches that often reach out rather than up and their low boughs can provide an excellent place to lie in the shade for a nap after a summer swim and barbecue.

I’ll repost a of photo of Pohutukawa that I took earlier this year in winter before they were blooming so you can see the shape I’m talking about. I took this shot on Great Barrier island in August. They’d be looking awesome right now covered in red blooms. 112

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Addiction

A few weeks back Bob from I Should Be Laughing mentioned that Carlos was addicted to spider solitaire. I think Bob said that Carlos called it spidey. I thought I would check it out as I’m always on the look out for another time waster. 

Big mistake.

Fast forward to today and I must face the sad and awful truth that I am now fully addicted to spidey just like Carlos.

I recently graduated to intermediate level (with two suits) and am barely managing to maintain a 40% success rate. It’s completely infuriating and I plainly don’t have the patience for the game but I just can’t stop. 

As if I don’t have quite enough addiction in my life *sigh*

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Two for Tuesday

I) Topiary tendril

 

Photo lifted from yepyep.gibbs12.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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II) Cottage envy

Rock cottage is in a hill outside Wolverley, Worcestershire, England. It is one of 50 'built' in the area in the late 18th century. The place was apparently for sale in 2007 and a metro.co.uk article states the vendor was hoping to get £25,000 at the time even factoring in the lack of plumbing and electricity.

I’m not positive that ‘envy’ is quite the right term for today’s pic but it’s certainly an interesting pad.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Football fever

Rory Fallon (in white) headers the winning goal

For the first time since Spain in 1982 the New Zealand football team has qualified for the FIFA World Cup finals by beating BaFIFAhrain last night in Wellington. The final score was 1-0.

Football doesn’t have a high profile here in NZ where it’s all about rugby, so it’s great that the sport will benefit from the increased exposure. Lots more kiwi kids play football over the last few years but when they reach a certain age the boys tend to swap to rugby  so comparatively few players reach the top levels unfortunately.

26 countries have qualified in 6 zones for the 2010 finals so far, while another 5 places are still to be finalised.

  • Europe: England, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Slovakia, Switzerland, Italy, Serbia and Spain
  • Africa: South Africa, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria
  • North America, Central America and Caribbean: United States, Honduras and Mexico
  • South America: Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Paraguay
  • Asia: Australia, Japan, Korea (North), Korea (South)
  • Oceania: New Zealand

The first games kick off in Johannesburg, South Africa in June 2010. Realistically we understand we’re minnows especially against the Euro teams and the big South American teams so we’ll no doubt be out after the first round but it’s just fun even getting there for us - who knows though what could happen?

Photographs by Getty Images

*EDIT* I just had a browse though a BBC forum regarding the New Zealand qualification. Some commenters there don’t share our joy.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday flowers and movie review

I don’t have much of a garden here at my new little place. The house was brand new when I moved in at the end of last year and the grounds were pure dirt. I still haven’t done a lot with the grounds though I do finally have good grass coverage.

My last home had a huge yard and a well established garden that I’d put a lot of work into over the years so it’s been hard starting from scratch. I have planted a few rhododendrons and other things but they have a way to go before they mature properly. About all that is really starting to look good are my patio pots so I thought I’d share a couple of pictures from my own ‘garden’ this week.

131109_2

131109_4Rory is a fuchsia fan so he’s responsible for caring for those – he has a few different varieties in pots, all of which are doing beautifully. I love roses especially old fashioned ones; this one here is white though I can’t remember the name. There are lots of buds this year after a particularly successful pruning in late August. I look forward to the multitude of blooms over the next few weeks.

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*Added later at 10:05pm Friday 13 Nov.

Lori’s writing challenge

Lori over at Family Trees May Contain Nuts has issued a challenge for us to write about our favourite movie. Here goes Lori, I apologise in advance that I’m not much of a writer. 

shawshank_lThe Shawshank Redemption

Directed by Frank Darabont and from the short story by Stephen King, the 1994 film stars Morgan Freeman as Red and Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne.

**SPOILER ALERT** If you’re one of the few remaining people on the planet who haven’t seen this movie and you intend watching it one day, read no further. Do watch the movie though; it’s great.

Andy is a successful banker in the 1940s when he is convicted of the vicious murder of his wife and her lover. Andy maintains his innocence but is sentenced to life in Shawshank State Penitentiary in Maine. On arrival he meets Red who is a long term prisoner. Red befriends Andy and teaches him the tricks to survival.

Andy’s financial nous is noticed by the prison’s warden who needs help to launder his ill-gotten earnings off the backs of the prison inmates. Andy creates a false identity to protect the warden and proceeds to act as the warden’s accountant for the next two decades. In return he gets to properly stock the prison library and help inmates achieve high school equivalency.

When a new prisoner comes to Shawshank, It comes to light that Andy really is innocent of the murder of his wife and her lover but the warden won’t risk losing his highly effective money man and so he buries the information and brutally disposes of the new inmate.

Over this twenty year period, we later learn that Andy has been painstakingly tunnelling from his cell using a tiny rock hammer and hiding the resulting hole behind a Rita Hayworth poster on the wall. One dark and stormy night Andy successfully makes a break for it. shawshank_2He quickly accesses the wardens illicit fortune with the false identity he created for the purpose and he heads to a small town in Mexico which he’s told Red about earlier.

It’s a few years later that Red is finally granted parole after more that 40 years inside Shawshank. He makes his way to meet Andy in Mexico and an emotional reunion follows.

The recurring themes in the movie are forgiveness, salvation and hope. Andy never loses hope in himself or in others; he does good where possible and manages to maintain his integrity throughput his imprisonment. Conversely another character in the film is a man named Brooks, who still lacks liberty even after being released as a very old man. Sadly Brooks only finds his release in suicide.

I highly recommend this thought provoking and intelligent movie. Great story, great casting, great cinematography.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Two for Tuesday

I) Twenty eight years ago today

Rosehill College It was 10 November 1981 and it was my first school ball. My friends and I weren’t officially old enough to be there  (we were in year 11 and the ball was really for seniors - year 12 and 13 students) but we’d all cunningly started dating seniors in the weeks leading up to the ball so we’d get to go. We felt so grown up.

Don’t you just love the fashions and the hair styles?

I’m in both these photos with my friends - the one in black with the delightful perm in case you couldn’t work it out. Rosehill College 1 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

II) Cottage envy

A quaint and beautiful Derbyshire cottage with a shingle roof and a limestone garden wall.  I love the cottage garden.

Photo by UG Gardner.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sunday fun

I had a great Sunday afternoon with my nephew Dillon yesterday; we visited a friend of mine who has horses and got to spend a couple of hours on horseback.  Here’s Dillon on a beautiful chestnut hunter named Ralph, being lead around until he got comfortable enough to give it a go on his own.                                 035My friend also has the cutest wee miniature horse named Napoleon Dynamite.  Very fitting name as he’s quite a handful. 045Am getting in to the shower shortly to get ready for work and am walking like a bow legged cowboy. Am way out of practice with this horse riding lark. Was great fun though.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Nature not good enough?

I was at a florist first thing this morning getting a bouquet put together to drop in to a friend who needed cheering up.

I chose coloured Callas lilies as they are in season here and there was the most beautiful selection available of plums and vibrant pinks. Anyway the florist did her thing and THE most gorgeous bunch of flowers was the result. It looked like sculpture if that makes any sense, with the perfectly smooth elegant funnels in their pastel shades of pale pink through to the deepest purple. They were enough to lift anyone's day.

And then she did something that blew my mind; she started shaking gold glitter all over the bouquet. She stopped quickly when she heard my gasp and asked did I not want glitter “….to make them look extra pretty?”

An interesting discussion ensued with particular reference to the phrase ‘gilding the lily’ which I felt was particularly fitting seeing as we were actually discussing a bunch of lilies. The end result of the conversation was that she started again.

I didn’t have my camera with me unfortunately to record the proceedings but suffice it to say that the elegant lilies I delivered to my friend were delightfully au natural and most certainly beautiful enough sans glitter.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday flowers

Photographer unknown

These are not my photos though I sincerely hope that one day in my life I might get to witness first hand a scene like this. I am an avid rhododendron fan and I imagine this place is breathtaking.

The rhododendron is the national flower of Nepal. There are over 1000 species which include the varieties known as azaleas. haven6Photographer unknown

These incredible photos are from a Danish garden website called Kelleriisg√•rden but I couldn’t find the photographers name to give credit. Beautiful.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bon Voyage

I’m enjoying watching the progress and reading the daily posts of young Australian adventurer Jessica Watson who is attempting to become the youngest person to sail solo, nonstop and unassisted around the world. She’s 16.

Check out her website here http://www.jessicawatson.com.au/ and her blog here http://www.youngestround.blogspot.com/

There was considerable controversy about whether the voyage was a good idea but that’s now moot so I just hope she stays safe and doesn’t encounter anything she can’t cope with. She’s gotten as far as Tonga to date and is making reasonable time.

I wish her the very best of luck. She’s very brave.

29_Oct Self Portrait Self Portrait taken 29 October at sea.

Even more about me

I nicked this from Daniels blog over at The Pursuit of What Matters to Me. Thanks Daniel. Feel free to join in anyone who wants to.

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1. Do you have any tertiary qualification?
Yes I have. I also continue to struggle along with study – it’s a never ending process.

2. What was the amount of your last electric bill?
NZ$63 for a months worth of power. Not sure how this compares but this is considered a very modest bill here especially as I don’t have gas as well – I’m tight as all hell with regards power usage.

3. Do you have life insurance?
Yes (single mother and all that).

4. How many hours per week do you work?
Around 45-50.

5. Have you ever attended a Toastmasters event?
No.

6. Favourite place to attend Happy Hour?
Nowhere these days. Occasionally I meet a girlfriend after work for a wine but that is few and far between these days. 

7. How far is your commute to work each day?
When I am working in Auckland my travel is only 15 minutes each way but on the once or twice weekly days working in our capital city, Wellington, the commute is about 2 hours each way – yuck!!!

8. What time do you get up every morning for work?
We’re up at around 6am to get to Rory’s school bus at 7.10am. I then head straight to work so am there by 7.30am most days.

9. What is your definition of sleeping in late?
On a Saturday I can sleep and then doze until almost midday if there’s nothing I have to get up for. 

10. Do you check your cholesterol on a yearly basis?
Yes along with all the other checks that are deemed necessary.

11. How large was your first cell phone?
Not that big as I was fairly late to the cell phone game. Only flash businessmen or ‘out and about’ types like trades or sales people, had the bricks here in NZ. My first cell phone was in the 2G era, it was a Nokia that I got in about 1995 or 1996 I think.

12. Does your employer provide good health insurance?
No, that’s not something employers do here as we have a public health service that covers all New Zealanders. It’s not that great but it’s free.

13. Did you use the Internet to write a research paper?
When I was at university there was no such thing as the internet, well as far as I was aware of anyway.

14. Have you attended a High School reunion?
Yes. Had a few laughs but I think I’ll leave it there. Anyone I still like I am in contact with anyway so no further need.

15. How many jobs have you held in your career? 
I have had about 10 jobs over the years.

16. Have you ever been fired or laid off from a job?
No.

17. What is your favourite drink?
Jim Beam and Zero Coke in a tall glass with lots of ice. Yummmmm.

18. What’s the most expensive bottle of wine that you’ve bought?
Not much. I buy inexpensive wine – I don’t have a snobby palate.

19. Have you been divorced?
Nope.

20. How old were you when you stopped getting ID-ed for alcohol?
In my early 20s if I remember rightly.

21. Favourite casino?
None. Hate the places, they reek of desperation.

22. Are you happier now than you were in high school?
Yes and No. High school was great carefree fun but now is cool too.

23. Did you ever have a Hypercolor shirt?
Yes I had a yellow/green one though I didn’t wear it much. It always seemed a bit weird wearing a shirt that clearly showed that you were hottest under your arms and boobs.

24. Do you remember when Michael Jackson was black and was attracted to older people?
I remember him as black, yes.

25. Do you remember when MTV actually played music videos?
No we didn’t have MTV in NZ until after it had gone to shit.

26. Have you had a will made?
Yes, within a month of Rory being born. Updated twice since then.

27. What music was in your cd/cassette player when you were 16?
It was a cassette player and it was Patti Smith, The Clash, Led Zeppelin and Simon and Garfunkel.

28. Favourite fancy/upscale restaurant?
Don’t have one. My favourite eateries are cheap and cheerful local Thai places.

29. Where were you when you found out about 9-11?
My clock radio went off at around 6.00am as usual on the morning of 12 September but the morning DJ crew I wake to each day were talking about something serious instead of the usual joking around. I got up and turned on the TV and was horrified.

30. Do you have any children yet?
Yes, one.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Still on the run

You may recall my post of 6 months ago about the young couple who did a runner after the bank inadvertently credited their bank account with too much money. See the original post here called On the RunAccidental MillionairesWell 6 months have passed and they’re still at large.

Leo Gao, Kara Hurring and their young daughter Leena fled to Hong Kong in early May after Westpac, an Australian owned bank, credited Mr Gao's account with a NZ$10 million overdraft when he had asked for just $100,000. The bank immediately recovered most of the money but $3.8m is still outstanding.

The NZ Herald reports;

Two months ago Detective Senior Sergeant Tony Colby, of Rotorua police, said a "mutual-assistance" request to the Chinese government was being worked through. Mr Colby denied the delay was frustrating or embarrassing for NZ police.

Co-operation between China and NZ is obviously a slow process over such matters.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Go Kylie

It’s been announced today that Kylie Minogue has won the Best Ever Celebrity Viral Ad award, after netting over 350 million hits on YouTube of the 2001 banned ad for Agent Provocateur.

If you’ve never seen the video consider yourself warned, this is practically porn. Funny ad though and damn girl she looks good.

Top 10 Best Ever Celebrity Viral Ads according to GoViral:

1. Agent Provocateur - Kylie Minogue
2. Nike Crossbar Challenge - Ronaldinho
3. Yes We Can - Obama Song
4. Nike Car Jump - Kobe Bryant
5. T-Mobile Life's for Sharing - Pink
6. "I'm f***ing Matt Damon" - Sarah Silverman and Matt Damon
7. EA Games - Tiger Woods
8. Chanel No.5 - Nicole Kidman
9. Samsung - Ozzy Osbourne
10. Apple Mac - Ellen Feiss

Click

Two for Tuesday

I) If the internet was no more

 

This pic is from a Photoshop contest series on CRACKED.com. Check it out, many of them are very clever.

This picture created by RexLess.

 

 

 

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II) Cottage envy

09-cottage I think this is the very first American cottage that has caught my eye. This one is in Eastham, Massachusetts and I think it’s adorable. It’s operating as a bed and breakfast.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Still going strong after 19 years

I’m getting really psyched to be seeing Pearl Jam again later this month. This is the first single from their new album Backspacer which I’m loving.  Double click to go to YouTube to watch it there as I can’t embed it here in my post.