Saturday, December 19, 2009

OK. Am ready. Bring on Christmas

Tree is decorated. Presents are all wrapped. Menu planned. House is clean & tidy (well almost).

Roll on Christmas, and the following two work-free weeks in the sunshine. Nothing planned except laziness and relaxation.

Tuesday we are having a barbecue for my work colleagues, then on Friday, we are having a family Christmas here

My new board game arrived in the post. Am looking forward to playing Tobago tomorrow. Sounds good from this review.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Warming up

Summer well and truly arrived this week. We sweltered on Tuesday and most of the week was pretty warm too. Humidity got up to 100%

I posted my overseas selection of Xmas parcels, to the tune of $270 in postage. Next year I will send lighter things, I keep telling myself this every year and the P.O just gets richer.

Yesterday our present to ourselves arrived: 2 new leather sofas, which look great. Placement of these spurred on a much needed clean out & rearrangement of the living areas. Paul & Kylie inherited the old lounge suite for their new place.

I don't get all the Jewish references / jokes in this video so my sincere apologies if posting this causes anyone any upset....

Friday, December 4, 2009

Only 44 years on...

A new Dylan outtake called 'California' from 1965 has surfaced....

"Well, I got my dark sunglasses
I got for good luck my black tooth
Don't ask me nothin' about nothin'
I might just tell you the truuuuth"

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Get in the mood for Santa

I was in denial about Christmas approaching, but this video has started to get me in the mood.

Also nice to see Bob dancing around like a sprightly young thing. I don't know if this song normally has reference to Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton or if thats Bob's addition?

Friday, November 20, 2009

In case you are wondering why your water bill is too high.....

Monday, November 16, 2009

Uh oh - where did the time go

I've been feeling increasingly bad over the last few days about the lack of blogging on my part. A bit like having a sick relative and putting off going to visit them - the guilt has got to me - as if there was anybody out there actually reading these posts. Ha!

October was a busier than usual month so I'll do a quick summary, catchy-uppy kind of post.

We were honoured by the presence of several visitors. Tamsin stopped over on her way from north to south , and I managed to exploit the opportunity to crack open the enhancements to my Alhambra game and give them a good workout. Dee and Bruce came for a night and took us for a delicious meal at Soul. They were on their way from Australia to Rotorua for Dee's mums 80th. Then 'Naki' Richard came for a visit and cheekily parked in the next-door neighbours where he used to live. We have more visitors lined up for this month and February. Great. I love having visitors.

It was Johns birthday and an excuse for a getaway so I rented a beach house just up the coast from Whitianga and we all 6 of us (Jaz, Mark, Paul & Kylie) packed up our cars and spent 3 days chilling out with each other which was lovely and relaxing. So lovely that I completely forgot to get my camera out - hence the lacks of pics but I can direct you to crafty Kylie's blog for a few images. On the Saturday night we had a beautiful meal at SALT on the waterfront, and were lucky to score a free bottle of bubbly due to a mix up with the booking. Although great food, I think it's the first (and last time) I will knowingly eat scallops served with chicken liver puree.

Since then we've been pretty quiet, continuing with the post-roof house renovations. We are up to door replacement - several had rotted frames and are now looking splendid again. We've been to see 'An Education' - which I enjoyed as it really evoked life in 1960's London. And 'Capitalism a Love Affair' - which is Mike Moore doing what he always does but with a different slant on it.

I've planted some tomatoes: 3 varieties plus mint and dill in preparation for yummy salads, and been trying to remember to do daily exercises with a broomstick and an imaginary spider to help counteract my frozen shoulder (I know not how I managed to freeze it but its quite painful).

Interesting dream the other day: Leonard Cohen was visiting as a Professor from Finland, but he died in my bathtub and I woke up worried what to do with him!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Christmas blues

The song says it all

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Goodies from the earth and an a-llama-ing dream

It was nice to have the blue galactic monkey (aka Tamsin) stay for a few days on her way through from England to the South Island. We always have a good laugh.

Nice also to see our good friends and ex-neighbours, Richard and Patricia getting some recognition for all their hard work on the farm as this article attests.

Since they moved to Taranaki from Auckland 5 years ago they've been doing some really clever stuff incorporating biodynamics and growing all sorts of goodies including the little known yakon which I hope to have a taste of next time we visit them.


On a more alarming note I had a dreadful dream last week that made me wake up in a panic. I saw a llama that I assumed was a pet of ours (don't know why but dreams are like that). It was attacking our cat Noodle, swinging her around like a baseball bat and bashing her against things. It was horrible.

Yesterday I was visiting my homeopath in search of a cure for my thermostat problems when she asked me if I had had any strange dreams. So I told her about the vicious llama and she immediately associated the dream with the fact that Zappa had been attacked and killed by a dog last year. It had not occurred to me to link the two but in hindsight the episode had been on our minds again recently as we have discovered whose dogs they are and have warned him if they get out again we will report him to dog control. The other linking feature would have been this recent llama safari.

Strange, but it all makes sense.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Panic at the supermarket

I was appalled on Saturday afternoon to see how quickly (as Mo put it), the 'veneer of humanity cracked and fell apart'. I was shopping at my local supermarket which is within a small suburban mall when the fire alarm went off while I was perusing the avocados. For a few moments everyone carried on shopping, hoping it was a false alarm, but then the announcements came over the tannoy: "Everyone leave the store. Do not take your trolleys with you", and the mayhem broke out. By the time I got to the mall area where all the shops were rapidly shutting up and ejecting shoppers I decided that I had no time to wait (with guests arriving for a barbecue in just over an hour) and I would hop in my car and go to the supermarket in the neighbouring suburb.

No such luck. The travelator down to the carpark had stopped moving and the trolleys on it at the time were locked into the steel floor and moving nowhere. The crowd had backed up to the mall and was in a foul mood. I saw people pushing and shoving to try and get past the shoppers on the travelator. Old ladies were shoved sideways. One persons microwave oven was pushed of their trolley and landed on the steel with a thud. I decided to have nothing to do with the crowd heading for the car park so I went the other way, out of the main door to the street and rung John who came and got me and within 10 minutes I was peacefully shopping in Foodtown. We headed back later in the afternoon to reclaim my abandoned car.

Forget the 'Uncouth' shoppers' though, and watch our PM's appearance on Letterman where he lists the top 10 reasons to come to NZ... I agree with Nik's view, our PM looks like a schoolboy who has been hauled up on stage to answer questions by the headmaster.

The rest of the weekend was enjoyable, with Tamsin staying for a few days and friends over for our first barbie of the summer. I also played quite a few games of Alhambra, the current favourite board game of choice.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Merry Dylan to one and all

Bob is releasing a collection of traditional Christmas songs next month.

I was extremely sceptical about this new release but having now heard the samples I agree with Lane Brown's view - it will be hilarious and a great antidote to Christmas itself. You can also hear the samples at this link.

Part of the hilarity is hearing the voice that I'm used to singing 'Desolation Row' and 'Working Mans Blues', singing a chipper 'HoHoHo', and part because its from the guy who not so long ago wrote & sang in Huck’s Tune, “All the merry little elves can go hang themselves, my faith is as cold as can be. I'm stacked high to the roof, and I'm not without proof, If you don't believe me, come see.”

Dylan is donating all the US royalties of the sales to the charity 'Feeding America'

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Alhambra and the allure of alpacas

On Friday I was tempted out on a Llama safari north of Albany, by Mo.
We drove around until we found a paddock full of the beautiful creatures and managed to entice them over to our part of the fence by making various clicking and baa'ing noises (mostly me). They were so cute. Over lunch that followed we decided to form the North Auckland Lama Appreciation Society (NALAS). It wasn't until later I realised they were most likely alpacas, not lamas at all. Although cousins, they are physically quite different. Anyway, they were beautiful, and very friendly, and lunch was good too.

Saturday we hosted a Mensa games night at home, and had 8 or 9 people turn up. Everyone had to wear the false ears for a photo. We ate pizza and cheesecake and played Alhambra followed by Rage. The former was an enjoyable game, a bit like a cross between Ticket to Ride and Settlers of Catan.

The hostess with the mostest ears ...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Three Cool Cats

Here's a musical slideshow I made this evening of our three cool cats, set to a Coasters tune of the same name.

Yet more about windows

Another head cold and recurring eye infection has taken the wind out of my sails, I've had no motivation for blogging in the last week. I've been reading Malcolm Gladwell's 'Outliers' which I enjoyed.

We attacked and painted more of our window frames at the weekend. They are almost all done, just a couple of the more awkward to get at windows & doors remain unrenovated.

The weather is warming up quite a bit, and we've planned our first barbecue of the summer.

Last week a film scanning job turned into DVD creation to provide the customer with a slideshow of the photos for her mothers' funeral. In the process I upgraded our slideshow software to ProShowGold and I've been having a play. It's a lot better than the old clunker we were using before.

This is my first attempt at making a video to go with a Dylan tune - an old favourite 'Sign On The Window' from the 'New Morning' album. I was going to include some of my own photos of windows & doors but ran out of time today - unfortunately the dentist has an appointment with me. I have a few ideas in mind though, to make my photo collection come to life.

It's a gentle one, you can turn the sound up.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

When I'm cleaning windows

Spent most of today painting and window cleaning - it must be spring.

Here's a little bit of Bob for today. "Tell Ol' Bill'" from Tell Tale Signs

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Teeth, tunnels and black holes

September! It feels very spring like here. We haven't needed a log fire for a couple of weeks now, and jumpers are making way for t shirts again. Yaay!

We had a nice small break away from Auckland, at a Mensa AGM weekend which was held in and around Paeroa.

We stayed in a wee rustic cottage in a forest by a waterfall next to the Karangahake Gorge and enjoyed the activities and speakers arranged by Mensa. These included wining and dining at the Ohinemuri winery and a tour of the Waihi goldmine plus catching up with Mensa friends I hadn't seen for some time.

The weather was mostly fine and we did a spot of walking around the gorge past old mine workings, and back to base through a 1.1km disused railway tunnel ...

Devon, Seb and assorted wildlife at Aloma's house....

Today was a big milestone for me: I went to the dentist. I had not been since I left the UK in 1992, having had no cause for treatment. I was pleasantly surprised when I was told I had good strong English teeth with no visible signs of decay, even after the x-ray was done. I think he maybe was a bit miffed at this due to my obvious lack of previous funding into dentist's coffers. However, on a 2nd check, and during the scrape & polish, he discovered that a wisdom tooth had gone sideways into the rear tooth and damaged it, so its going to have to come out to let the wisdom tooth realign itself. Bummer! And I thought I was going to get off almost scot free.

This is amusing. The Black Hole...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The 'OOO' diet

No, it's not about getting down to an impossibly small dress size. It's what I envisage I will be consuming lots of when we go to live on a boat in Greece. It stands for "Olives, Octopus and Ouzo".

However a friend pointed out the other day that there needs to be Humus, Halloumi and even Pita added, so its going to have to be called the oHoHo diet.

It raised another issue I hadn't previously thought about: the Mediterranean diet is thought to be very healthy however, has anyone established whether it is the food component or the manner in which it is eaten? I had a very healthy tuna salad organic bread sandwich for my lunch yesterday - I consumed it while running between meetings and writing emails. Surely whatever you eat has to be healthier if taken outside in the sun for 2-3 hours with family, friends and some wine?

Meanwhile Mr Micky takes it easy in our home
office where he is employed as chief rubbish compactor.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Taking it literally

This video of Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart re-done as a 'literal translation' gave me a few chuckles. It starts off just silly but gets funnier as it develops...

I spent much of the last weekend in domestic mode - baking (fruitcake, cheesecake, eggplant mozarella pie) and cleaning windows while John painted window frames.

This weekend I'll be heading 'down country' to Paeroa for a Mensa gathering and a few interesting diversions such as a tour of a working gold mine, a glow worm gorge walk, and paintball on the beach. All very intellectual stuff.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bob Who?

I've really enjoyed reading Novel About My Wife, by NZ writer Emily Perkins. It had me gripped in the way Ian McEwan manages to, you can't help wondering why everything is not quite as it seems.

Bob has a reputation for going out in disguise, dressed as an old lady or a down and out to try and lead a normal life. But maybe he no longer needs to worry about the recognition. Bob was picked up by the cops while wandering around a not-so-smart New Jersey suburb recently. He may have been looking for Bruce Sprinsteen's boyhood home as he seems to have a penchant for rock history and has also been spotted outside Neil Young's childhood house and went undercover on a Beatles tour in Liverpool.

The sound file explains what happened, with musical interpretation...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Travels in the deep south

The weather was amazing for our mini break in Nelson. Although colder than Auckland we had plenty of sunshine and blue skies.
Having not been there since 1991, couldn't remember much about the place and I was pleasantly surprised. Something about the light made everything seem brighter and more colourful, like in Scandinavia, or it could be we've had weeks of cloud and rain up north. The locals seeemd so much friendlier than Aucklanders too and the Saturday market was notable for all the creative goods on offer, not the same stuff we normally see.

Arriving Friday lunchtime we had lunch and then browsed in the town. Saturday we drove towards Marlborough Sounds and up as far as French Pass, through a lot of very winding hilly roads. On Sunday we went the other direction to Motueka and Takaka and beyond. A beachside pub served us a full roast pork sunday lunch with all the trimmings for $12 (about 4 quid) .

The best restaurant in Nelson itself was BarDelicious near the Cathedral - we had two great meals there. The place we stayed Warwick House is a grand old colonial manor house that has been restored since 2003. Our suite was the partially turreted "Tower Room".

Monday the flight wasn't until 5pm so after a leisurely breakfast we browsed in the town again and went to the WOW (World of Wearable Arts) museum.

A few of the pics....

Snow on the distant hills reminded us it's not yet summer
Warwick House. The turretted tower suite we stayed in is at the back
Mussel beds are part of the aquaculture of the area - the famous green lipped mussels come from around here

Being spied on by a local
View from the winding road
The waiting room for the ferry to D'Urville Island, complete with old style letter box
Strange what you see in the middle of nowhere ...
Man or beast? Across the road from the Penguin Cafe which serves a great $12 Sunday roast
Low afternoon sunlight hits the beach at Kaiteriteri
One of the classic cars on show at the WOW museum
and a river runs through it - man and dog leave their mark on the sands at Cable Bay

Since getting back to the big smoke, i had my hair brightened up.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Blood in my eyes....

To cap off a series of minor ailments, for the past week I've had red infected eyeballs that stopped me wearing my contacts and entailed squeezing antibiotic ointment into my eyes - yuck. I am now just about back to normal. (oh that bad you may say!)

It made me think of 'Blood in my eyes' - and this video - with Bob cruising around the Camden Lock area of London, in fact right past the venue where my wedding reception happened back in 1990.

Woke up this morning, feeling blue, Seen a good-lookin' girl, can I make love with you? Hey, hey, babe, I got blood in my eyes for you, Hey, hey,...

A great song - very slow and bluesy. It's the highlight of the 'World Gone Wrong' album.

Looking forward to the coming weekend, for we are flying to Nelson, at the sunny top of the South Island for a 4 day break.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Movie heaven

Two weeks into the International Film Festival, and just three days to go, with three more films for us to see.

Last night we went to Dogtooth, about a surreal Greek family where the three adult children have been kept totally isolated from the outside world by their over protective parents. Things start to go badly wrong when the father brings in a security guard from his workplace to perform sexual favours for the son. The trailer here gives a hint of the weirdness that ensues. Great movie. I love films that totally transport you into another world that is both surreal but plausible. It reminded a little of the Natasha Kamplugh and Josef Fritzl cases.

We also saw 'I'm Not Harry Jensen'- a locally made low budget film of the 'whodunnit' genre filmed in the bush and coast west of Auckland. We got comp tickets as Paul had provided the film's website, the Director/Writer being a friend of his from school days.

'Paper Soldier' was an unfathomable Russian film set amongst the 1960's cosmonaut community. It was made even more unfathomable by having white subtitles on a snowy Siberian background.

The last 2 days my eyeballs have been red and irritated, I wonder if over-dosing on movies could do this, or if I have been contaminated by another movie-goers toxic perfume...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Memories of youth

My headcold & cough seems to be waning, and I have regained my taste buds, thank goodness. Still not much energy though, so am having a lazy day today.

This clip always makes me smile, because Bob's having a laugh and because I can remember what it feels like to be this stoned...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Masked and Anonymous

On a routine visit to the GP for a repeat prescription for some sleeping tablets, I had to wear a mask in the waiting room, due to my head cold I've been sniffling with for the last week. I was also asked to sit at the far end away from the main seating zone. Kids eyes furtively looked me over, the creepy lady in the face mask!

On a brighter note, the NZ International Film Festival is underway. We've seen 3, missed 3 that we'd booked for (due to sickness) and have 8 more planned in the next 10 days.

The highlight so far is 'Big River Man' about the Slovenian Martin Strel whose hobby is swimming the length of the worlds longest rivers. This film is about the Amazon swim. Amazingly, Strel is not a super-athlete, but 53, overweight and a heavy drinker. After swimming the Danube, Mississippi and Yangtze, the Nile had been proposed as his next river, but Strel said, "I am not going to do the Nile. It's long but not challenging enough, it is just a small creek. The Amazon is much more mighty."

He barely survived the 66 days, 5000+ km in piranha infested waters. This is the trailer for the film.

Big River Man - Trailer from KNR Productions on Vimeo.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Exposed, and covered

On the home front the roofing is complete. And the torrential rains we've had caused no drips at all which is a relief. The house smells less musty already and looks a good deal smarter too.

I was amused by the Air NZ safety video featuring staff wearing nothing but body paint. The video is "The Bare Essentials of Safety", part of the 'Nothing to Hide" campaign.
Cleverly done - you can just spot the odd nipple. View the video here.

I've been enjoying the CD Leonard Cohen "Live in London". Great renditions of songs I liked on the studio versions and also some I now like after hearing them live. This one is called Boogie Street. Beautiful vocals by Len and co-writer Sharon Robinson.

Great to hear his voice in such good tone at the age of 75. If only Bob's voice had mellowed as well.

Basil and Micky having a brotherly kip on the window seat.

Have a good weekend!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Song of the week

I accidentally hit the 'repeat' button on my car CD player (probably while trying to crank up the heater on a 3C morning drive to work). Today I realised that one song had been going round and round non-stop for about 2 days. Thats about 1.5 hours driving a day.

The song in question is the one below. It has really grown on me, and I can sing all the words now without prompting !

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Possum Wars!

I didn't realise we lived in such a violent neighbourhood until tonight.

Sitting quietly by the log fire after dinner, browsing a book of soup recipes, as you do on a cold winters evening, I was shaken from my reverie with a loud squealing accompanied by several thuds just outside the front door. Thinking that one of the cats was murdering something on our doorstep, I ran outside to find two large grey bushy tailed possums wrestling each other on the rubber mat! They were locked in combat and carried on squealing for some moments until they realised a large human was standing over them at which point they separated. One took off down the drive and the other legged it indoors, down the stairs into the living room past John who was on his way up to see what the commotion was. Mr Possum tried to hide behind the furniture but we managed to get a towel over, wrap him up and throw the bugger out of the window into the bush to meet his fate with its possum enemies. All three cats were nowhere to be seen.

Too much excitement for one day!

A zen moment

A friend set me this link which looks like a useful zen site so I've added the related blog to the Blog list on here.

Our loos both blocked up again today, but John managed to free the drain and jump out of the way of the sewage spurt, all before I got home from work. Joy. Will it last.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fun and games and exploding sewage

The roofing continues. It has been hampered alternately by non-appearance of deliverables such as chimneys and guttering and also by never-ending torrents of rain. I am over it and just want it to be over. Preferably all over the house. Currently we have 2/3 of a new roof, 1/3 old roof with some tarpaulins joining the gaps, no gutters (so the torrential rain goes straight down the windows and seeps in), a dysfunctional chimney (so we can't light a fire), and mess everywhere from the new skylights that have been 'cut in' to the ceilings.

Last week the builders removed and replaced the main sewage down pipe from our top bathroom (which is 4 floors up). While it was removed they must have dropped some rubble in the drain then cemented the pipes back in place. Three days later, we had a total blockage, both toilets filled up with brown water and the act of flushing the upstairs loo made the downstairs one fill up even more. We called the emergency plumber on Saturday afternoon while we kept our legs crossed and stopped drinking cups of tea in case there was going to be a 'no loo' situation overnight.

The plumber arrived a couple of hours later (I was starting to get worried). He cursed the fact they had cemented the pipe in instead of putting a proper rubber seal thingy on it, so he had to hacksaw the pipe near where it disappeared under the deck into the drain. As he started sawing, (I was stood behind proffering his cup of coffee), liquid spurted out and he muttered something about "a lot of pressure here". Then, he pushed the pipe off-centre and a fountain of sewage rushed down and up the outside, covering the man head to belly.

I was so shocked I didn't know what to do or say. I wanted to laugh but had to stifle it. We cleaned him up with a towel and offered him a shower but he bravely worked on to fix the blockage and re-seal the pipe. Afterwards when we were paying the bill (the best $300 I've ever spent on a plumber), I asked him if it was the first time this has happened to him. He said in a gruff voice 'No. I've tasted shit before!!"

Having a working toilet is a great relief. It makes you appreciate what life must have been like before civilisation as we know it. Also makes me realise how it all disappears at the press of a button and how shocking it is to see it all again several days later smothered across a strangers face!

It is now a year since I started this blog - and my posting has got less frequent. I still enjoy doing it so will attempt to keep it up for another year. I am over the daily reporting of details of what I ate and who I spoke to - so I will limit it to more newsworthy subjects. Hence, if a few weeks go by with no posts it either means I've dropped dead or am having a suitably boring life :-)

To keep my mind off winter, work, and the housing situation I've been alternately playing Sims Castaway on the Wii (it's a shipwreck game where you have to keep your Sims alive and try to get them rescued), and harvesting crops on my virtual farm at FarmTown. It's a sad life I know!

Things I am looking forward to:

  1. The roofing being finished
  2. The International Film Festival starting soon
  3. A long weekend in Nelson in early August
  4. Summer!
p.s. This has been a Dylan-free post but I will be back on form soon.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Dreaming of a water-tight winter

We are mid-chaos, one week into the 2-3 estimated it will take Metro to re-roof the house. Those who've been here know its a tricky one, with steep inaccessible slopes and lots of 'fiddly bits'.

While the scaffolds are up we are taking the opportunity to also have the guttering and downpipes replaced, the chimney overhauled, some new skylights put in, extra insulation between the roof and wooden ceilings, and some warped cedar side panels replaced.

It's costing us a small packet but is work well needed. It was at the stage where every downpour was causing a leak in some new and interesting place.

The scaffolds at the rear completely barricade the doors so the only route to the back decks and spa pool is to climb out of the window. Last weekend while lifting pot plants out of the way in preparation, I strained my lower back and so it's not an easy walk to the spa pool at the moment.

Our three cats have always regarded the roof as their territory. Some parts are low to the sloping ground which means they can get on & off with ease. However, the old asbestos sheet roof had good traction while the new steel is shiny and smooth. Coupled with the gutters being removed, they are quickly learning the ropes. Last night we heard a "whoooosh" followed by a thud as one of the boys skidded down the new roof and plunged to the deck. Luckily it was on a low part and no harm was sustained except possibly to feline pride.

The boys enjoying a sit in the gutter (old roof still in place).

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Mr Dylan

Oops - it was yesterday. Oh well. I did remember.
68 and going strong.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Crockpotting in the cold zone

Winter has truly set in during the last few days. My car thermostat reported 6C as I drove to work yesterday. We've been having log fires every night and I've been wearing fluffy bed socks at night.

Today I bought my first ever crock pot and been looking for good recipe ideas.

I found this family who spent every day of last year using their crock pot and blogged the results. However, today I got sidetracked and didnt get the thing cooking until 4pm so at 7pm with supposed casserole still quite raw, we gave up and decided it was tomorrows dinner! I think this style of cooking requires a bit more forward planning than I am used.
Any interesting crock pot recipes welcome.

The story that Westpac mistakenly credited $10m instead of $10,000 to a Kiwi's bank account has become front page news here and in the UK. The man has done a runner. Makes me think (as I am a Westpac customer) - What would I do?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Support Amnesty International

By listening to some cool music...

To download this EP is just $3.99 and the proceeds go to Amnesty. More info from Mr Byrne here

Happy Friday!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

So many cats, so little time

Last Sunday we spent the day helping out at a cattery in South Auckland.
Jaz had asked for volunteers to help overhaul the gardens and clean up the cattery that is run by a lady, nothing to do with the SPCA, who takes in wounded, tortured and unwanted cats. Of about 20 people who turned up I (and Tamsin) were among a few lucky ones who got to spend most of the day inside the cattery itself helping to clean out cages and providing as many cuddles to the poor creatures as humanly possible.

There were between 100 and 120 cats in residence, yet I was amazed at how peaceful and calm it was. Hardly any scraps happened in the 5 hours we were there. Although the "cat per square foot" ratio was very high, they mostly just sat quietly tolerating their compatriots and often lying so close that licking themselves easily involved licking several other cats too.

These cats are mostly ones that would not be easily adopted or re-homed or would be considered unsuitable for some reason. A very rewarding day.

Tamsin donating her scarf as a plaything.

Friday, May 1, 2009

On the cover of Rolling Stone

Bob Dylan has appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine 16 times - 1968 to 2009.
The 4 below are my favourites. You can see the rest here.

On a personal note I've been using the Wii daily, sometimes twice a day. Favourite activities so far are ski-jump, slalom, hula hoops and balancing games (tilt table and tightrope) but I am starting to get into the yoga, step and jogging. It tells me I've lost 0.4kg in the first 2 days but that could be due to natural daily variation. The boxing is tough: I can only manage 5 or 6 minutes before collapsing onto the sofa and watching the opponent beat me until my head falls off.