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...