Monday, 27 April 2009

Google map swine flu tracker

Here is a google map that tracks outbreaks of the mexican Swine Flu

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Oxford Writing Set

The nice folk at Dineout have just sent me an Oxford Writing Set courtesy of Mr Lu, one of their reviewers. I won it in a draw that was held as a competition for Mr Lu's first column, Around The Table, for Dineout.

Thanks Dineout and Mr Lu!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Hogarth Exhibition Update

An anonymous commenter left the following about my post on the Hogarth Exhibition:

Howdy, I happened along your blog while searching for information on a hogarth print entitled: Credulity, superstition, and fanaticism. A medley.

I saw your picture of the rabbits and the question of what they were about, well as it turns out Mary Toft gained alot of notariety for giving birth to bunnies in 1726, here's the link to the wiki page, and if you already found this out, then have a day!

Friday, 17 April 2009

How tedious

Yet another abusive and semi-literate comment on my youtube channel from some outraged Huntly dweller frothing at the mouth over my "Huntly: The ugliest town in New Zealand video". It amazes me how a bit of light hearted fun can rile some people. (I deleted the comment).

Monday, 13 April 2009

Dave's Bus

My friend, Dave, has bought a double decker bus which he plans to use for mobile functions. The bus is a 1948 model, one of very few of its particular type left in the world. It comes with a trailer that has a chiller built in and which opens up to a pull out barbecue. Camile and I went out to Dave's the other day and had a quick ride on the bus and had dinner and drinks in the bus. There are a few videos on my youtube page.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

A short trip

My brother in law had hired out his PA system and needed to go and pick it it up. The PA was sitting in a house about an hour's drive south of here. He asked if I wanted to come for the drive. Being a farrier, he also was going to clean up a horses feet while in the area.

On the way we stopped in Dannevirke to refuel. While BIL was dealing with filling the van I stood next to the footpath observing people and traffic. There was an old guy well into his seventies wandering down the footpath towards me. He stopped and watched as an old Chevy drove past and then resumed his walk.

"Gidday", I said as he got near me.

He stopped directly in front of me and said, "Did you see that Chevy that drove past? Did you see that Chevy?"

"Yes, I did", I replied.

"I got taught how to drive in exactly that model Chevy! I learned how to drive in one of those. My brother taught me. He taught me to drive at 50 miles an hour because he said you'll be going that fast any way once you have your licence. 50 miles an hour - that was the speed limit back in those days. Everything was in miles per hour.

"I bought a Chevy like that. It was a two door Chevy just like that one that went past before. I liked my Chevy. It was a good car to drive. I knew a bloke who had the four door model of that Chevy. I was driving down the road one day and he was driving the other way and I thought he's going to hit me! So I pulled right over to the side of the road and stopped and you know, the bugger came right over to my side of the road and he hit me! He bloody hit me! I couldn't believe it. Any way he had a rifle in the back seat of his car. It was sitting on the back seat and when he hit me it leaped off the back of the seat and hit him in the back of the head and it hit his wife in the back of the head. When it hit his wife in the back of the head she went forward and broke her nose on the dashboard!".

At that point I heard BIL start the van and had to try and gracefully extract myself from the one sided conversation. I left him on the footpath mumbling to himself. Obviously the Chevy had opened a window into his past.

The rest of the trip was good. I got to try on a new hat. I watched BIL do the job on the horse's hooves and give a bit of instruction on care to its owners. On the way back we stopped and watched a top dressing plane doing its bit. We also stopped at the Beyond the Bridge cafe in Balance, a farming area on the edge of the Manawatu Gorge. The BIL used to live in a horse drawn wagon on the premises quite a few years ago. The owners of the cafe were in the process of making a clay pizza oven outside the cafe. They were making the clay workable by trampling it with water in an old bath.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Atheists taking over New Zealand!

According to an article I have just read in the New Zealand Herald 40% of New Zealanders profess to having no religious beliefs. This is good news! Amazing what a bit of education and freedom to think does to a society.

Interestingly while 30% described themselves as religious, 53% of people said they believed in god - though half of them had doubts. Aren't they usually known as agnostics?

Oddly 60% of people in the survey said they would like to see religious education in primary schools with a preference for studying all faiths - an impossibility I would have thought given the preponderance of beliefs and lack of school time. Perhaps, in their woolly mind way of thinking, they just mean the major ones. How would you choose?

"I'll take a bit of Christianity (split it between, ohhh.. catholics, protestants and happy clappies), an almost equal portion of Islam, a dash of Jewishness, a sprinkle of Shinto, Confuciousness, Buddhism..." etc. etc.

Original article is here.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

A t-shirt slogan

A friend's t-shirt which he picked up somewhere down south. I like it.

A birthday

Camille's eldest son turned 21 last week and had the obligatory party thrown for him. It was surprise party organised by Camille with the help of the eldest's girlfriend and cousin who kept him carefully in the dark and removed him from the premises for the day while the last preparations were made.

To the right is the lovely Camille. Not only was it a surprise party, she also decided that as her eldest had been terrified of clowns as a child that everyone should dress up as a clown so we could see if they still affected him.

When he arrived home he did say that his heart was racing and that he wasn't sure if it was because of the surprise or because of all the clowns so I guess they still have an effect.

It was a quite spread out party. A lot of it was centred around our circular driveway. Most people hung out here. The garage was cleaned up and had a professional sound system, all the fancy lighting etc and music. Inside the house was a DVD blasting out some heavier music on the big screen. Down the back of the property we had a large fire going. It's fairly traditional for the fire to happen. It's starting to chill down at night at this time of year and its very pleasant to be able to stand/sit around a huge fire while drinking.

To the right is a photo of the fire taken from the second floor of the house. It's right at the back of the property behind the pool area which may give you an indication of it's size.

I have to say that I enjoyed this part of the party the best. It's quite convivial sitting on a couple of logs around a fire at night. I slunk off to bed reasonably early but I believe the stayers were still there at 4:00am.

Around 8:00am a few of us restoked it and got some embers going and cooked potatoes in it for breakfast. It's one of the nicer ways to have potatoes. Pierced, wrapped in tinfoil and completely covered in hot embers (no flaming bits!) for about an hour. They come out with lovely crisp skin. Cut them in half and score the flesh and then place plenty of butter or sour cream (fuck the cholesterol!) on it and grind a bit of black pepper over. Absolutely lovely. We didn't bother to wash these potatoes so the skin wasn't edible. A pity as it really is good.

[edit]: I just noticed that behind Camille to her left you can just see the net camera I installed under the eaves. I set it to update every 5 seconds to the internet and to ftp the image to a storage area. Sometime in the next week I will create a timelapse of the event. Most of it is pretty dark so I'll speed those sections up.

[edit 2]: That would be Camille's right and our left!