Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Nuff said..

Anzac Cove

From Stuff

NZ attitude to veterans decried
26 April 2006

The treatment of some of our returned service people is a national embarrassment, Retired Lieutenant Colonel John Gardner said yesterday.

The Vietnam veteran called for greater recognition and support for service members who had returned from battles that society would rather forget.

"I was one of over 3000 New Zealanders who did what they were told and went willingly off to a stupid war, sent by a government that when we came back rejected us," Gardner, 60, told the Seddon Anzac Day memorial service.

Many Vietnam veterans "fell to the bottom of the social heap" after the war and suffered illnesses related to alcoholism or smoking, he said after the speech. "Out of my company over half of them are dead," he said. "If this country is going to send our young men and women into harm's way they need to be well trained and well prepared. We need the backing of everyone and we need to look after them when they return."

Gardner said 2006 had been declared the Year of the Veteran, which was good for politicians and families who took the opportunity to "hock off family heirlooms".

Really, he said, it was an opportunity to thank those who had fought for their country and provided the freedom of speech which allowed him to express his opinions frankly. –Marlborough Express

Monday, April 24, 2006

A manly post

I have been told my latest posts are too

Overheard at the Pool House Cafe...

Tyler: Jesus Christ, and you think I'm reckless? When I play, I'll have you know that my fellow player and the placement of the white come first.
Other Player: Well, I am going to finish my sentence, Tyler. My review of your pool performance was right on.
Tyler: Is that right?
Other Player: That is right, but I held something back. I see some real genius in your playing, Tyler, but I can't say that in there. I was afraid that everyone in the pool hall would see right through me, and I just don't want anyone to know that I've fallen for you.
Tyler: Fucking Top Gun was twenty years ago - LET IT GO!!

Disclaimer: Rumours that Tyler was talking to himself cannot be verified.

Be my Bagel

Here I was, Walking down 5th Avenue, past the world famous Mt Sinai Medical Center, on a beautiful spring day. Following the traffic, with Central Park on my right, and in the distance the equally famous Guggenheim Museum coming to view, I reflected on how great the City of New York was once the icy grip of winder lessened its grip. It was the spring of 1965.

Well, that's how I'd imagine my life would have been, if I believed in such things as reincarnation. "Why"? you may ask, and I would reply, "My absolute love of the bagel".

There is no other reason to explain my love of the bagel, specifically the BLT bagel which may, or may not be a recent addition to the bagel scene. Such a love of a somewhat "relatively recent" foreign food import to New Zealand defies explanation, perhaps one of lifes' mysteries. I'm just glad I discovered the secret.

Anything I write would never do a justice to the bagel - so I must simply say "Go", "find your favourite bagel and filling, and rejoice in its wonder"!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

How Love should be?

Daydream delusion,
Limousine, eyelash,
Oh baby with your pretty face.
Drop a tear in my wineglass,
Look at those big eyes: See what you mean to me.
Sweet-cakes and milkshakes ,
I'm delusion, angel
I'm fantasy parade
I want you to know what I think : Don't want you to guess anymore
You have no idea where I came from,
We have no idea where we're going,
Latched in life, Like branches in a river,
Flowing downstream
Caught in the current
I'll carry you , You'll carry me
That's how it could be
Don't you know me?
Don't you know me by now?

Rent this film, then this one. Watch them one after the other, preferably on a overcast rainy day. Perhaps a little close to home for both actors, Hawke and Delphy got Oscar nominations for their work in the second film, which is shot in real time (for all you film geeks out there)....

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Bullrush with Sandra

When I was ten years old, I lived in Mosgiel, just out of Dunedin.
Growing up in 70's New Zealand, we had yet to see the onset of Political Correctness, so we played Bullrush in the big field outside my home, and we always picked on the girls first.

Bullrush is an excellent game, and this is one obvious reason why playing it in it's original manner is no longer encouraged. The rules are simple and can be found here.

In short this is the game;

Bullrush is an energetic game whereby a group of individuals endeavour to rush from one line to another across an open space without being tackled to the ground by participants who have previously been so tackled. The rush from one line to the other continues with the direction being reversed on each rush. The winner of the game is the single individual who manages to be the last person not so tackled. Even so the winner is required to repeat the rush in the hope that he/she too will be brought to the ground. Each time a person loses the rush, they have to join all the other losers in the middle of the open space and join in the tackling activity.

Across this "huge" field lived an eight year old girl who I always picked first when I was in the middle: her name was Sandra.

Just yesterday I caught up with Sandra for lunch. Curiously, although she is still two years younger than me, she is now much more grown up. She has a husband, and two lovely daughters ( tho she would beg to differ on this), and an equally lovely sense of humour.

We have never lost contact over the years, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Sands was the one who patted me on the back when I was violently ill on Southern Comfort and Creme De Menth at the Brass Monkey Rally, telling me all would be well, when in fact obviously, everything wasn't. I would like to say that this was the only time she was supportive in such a manner, but unfortunately the drinking habits of the time dictated numerous support sessions. Suffice to say that although the lesson may have taken a while to learn, I now drink in extreme moderation: I suspect, much to her relief.

The girl was, and is still a rock and a most excellent friend, but if we were to play a game of bullrush tomorrow, sorry Sands: you'd still be first on my list. :)

Green Street Girl
. Can you email me a photo for this post?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

My kind of town

The Dunedin Octagon

I was going to write a little bit about my home town, but I've found that Wikipedia has already done a good job here.

And yes: to those of you that have been here, the sky is blue, and note, not a drop of rain in sight. :)

The Dunedin Railway Station

It's fair to say I don't get home enough, and when the time comes to leave, it's never easy. After the beautiful weather I've experienced over the last six days I can't believe I gathered up enough courage to leave in the first place. It's been now almost four years I've been away - and those years have simply flown.

This visit I've spent the majority of my time visiting friends, and family: I've found it hard to "get over" how quickly my friends kids have grown. And as with all good holidays, I've drunk and eaten too much good food - I'm not looking forward to the running required to offset all this good cheer.

The Dunedin Town Hall

I think a shift back to Dunedin will be on the cards eventually. I wonder however, where I might find a place to fit when I return. Until that day comes I have until Anzac Day to make the most of my time here.

Monday, April 17, 2006

And a good time was had by all

Not me - again

Thanks to Shars, IG and many others my birthday celebrations were a success. It was exactly what I wanted - a chance to catch up with my Dunedin friends, and have a great time.

It was funny to see the large array of wigs being worn - all due to the theme, which was "Dress how you were when you were 20". Not when I was 20 - Craig (who wore his school uniform) :)

When I walked in It didnt even recognise Petri with his "Series 1 Black Adder" Wig - I actually waited to be introduced. Absolutely brilliant.

I did however notice a distinct lack of walking frames, which I believe will be paying a larger part in 20 years when I am planning my 3rd "20th Birthday".

Thanks once again to those of you who took part in the celebrations, and also to all the well wishes from friends overseas, and out of Dunedin - I look forward to catching up with you all soon!


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Nervous - moi?

Oh yes.

I'm having a birthday party tonight.
Shars has organised the whole thing for me, as it's being held in my home town of Dunedin.
I just realised what an effort she's gone to - and I'm a bit over-awed.
Supposedly I have to do "the speach thing".
I have a softball (the size of a basketball) in my stomach, and there is no alcohol in sight!


Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday?

God: Thou hast forsaken My Church!
Homer: Uh, kind of, b-but...
God: But what!
Homer: I'm not a bad guy! I work hard, and I love my kids. So why should I spend half my Sunday hearing about how I'm going to Hell?
God: Hmm. You've got a point there.

From Homer the Heretic

I realise now, that my last post may not have been entirely appropriate; given the fact Easter is upon us.
If either of the two people reading this blog are offended by my impending minister-ship, I offer my apologies before I am struck by lightening or some sort of Jihad. Rest assured there is no celibacy clause Green St Girl: that was the first thing I checked.
Religion is a funny beast. I have my own beliefs, and fortunately for you they don't involve;
Forcing them down your throat.
Singing and dancing.
Or speaking in tongues. Ok - perhaps the odd stream of swear words bursting out without warning - it's tourettes I tell you!

I wonder sometimes, where we would be without a certain moral core, and although religion has a lot to be blamed for, I can't help but wonder where we would be "here" without its fundamental teachings.

Whilst it is true to state in the past some of the nastiest people I have personally known regularily attend church services, this is no longer the case. I don't hang with them anymore.
Any one person in this life who feels they have a get out of jail free card, that allows them to do unto others in any way they see fit because they attend church, would be in for a big shock if I was God. There's no room in anyones master plan for that sort of bullshit.

So be you Christian or not, enjoy this day - but in your own way. Many have made sacrifices that allow us to live the lives we do. Every now and again we should remember that we have a responsibility to make the most of the life we were gifted.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Bored? Get Ordinated

Whilst surfing some blog sites (as you do), I happened across the Universal Life Church, and saw this;

The Universal Life Church (or ULC) is a religious organization that offers anyone immediate ordination as a ULC minister for free. The organization states that anyone can become a minister immediately, without having to go through the pre-ordination process required by other religious faiths.

So what can you actually do with these newly developed powers?

ULC ministers are authorized by the church to officiate weddings and funerals, perform baptisms, hold services (also called meetings), and other sacraments and rites regularly performed by ordained members of clergy and part of the particular belief system the minister represents.

I love the concept - that the proper religion may differ for each man, and everyone is entitled to choose his or her own religion. No one should be criticized or condemned for wanting to practice the belief of his or her choice.

Call me Minister Mark and respect my author-i-ta!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Things you didn't know

Tom Cruise can act

A controversy in the making perhaps, but I've almost always maintained that Tom Cruise can act. Though his choice in dramatic roles severely limit his acting range, I firmly believe that if you show you can act in one movie, then any number of Mission Impossible's aside, you can indeed act.

That one movie, in case you were wondering, is Magnolia. I believe the man should have won a Oscar for his role, but the movie was a "difficult child" for the Academy, and so that was that.

Mr Cruise has taken a lot of stick over the last year or so. His fondness for scientology aside, there was the couch jumping session on Oprah, and more recently his impending fatherhood, and marriage to Katie Holmes.

Until recently I had no idea you could buy an adult pacifier - I would hate to guess where to buy one, although there was that disturbing episode of CSI, featuring that store where grownups could purchase adult diapers. Trust me when I say you don't want to know more.

Yes my friends - Illusive as finding that photo of Tom Cruise standing on a plastic box next to Jason Lee whilst filming a scene for Vanilla Sky, Tom can indeed act, and in the immortal words of Forrest Gump .. "That's all I'm gonna say about that".

Except to say watch the damn movie. Beware tho - It's no Risky Business, and that's no bad thing.

Friday, April 07, 2006

There's snow on them dere mountains

This isn't me

Once a year I love to head down to Queenstown for a couple of weeks to hit the slopes.

Skiing is an aquired taste - I remember the first attempt at skiing was on a trip to Coronet Peak with a group of work mates.

Back in the late 80's skiing gear consisted of jeans and a woolen jersey, with plastic over-trousers if you had a pair. Needless to say that if you fell over a lot you started to look like a Yeti (sorry IG). I can still remember the laughter from the ski tow line when you came down the hill.

The only other thing I remember about that weekend now, is wet jeans get damn cold after a few hours. Oh - and Dangermouse peeing in a coke can - then accidentally spilling it on Simon Smith when he threw the can out the bus window. Not a good look.

Now days skiing seems much more about fashion and equipment than the actual skiing itself - don't get me wrong: for some skiing is the true source (whatever that means), but for the majority it seems another measure of status.

For me skiing was initially a break from my work, but over the years it has become a battle to improve over the year before - a challenge to ski harder and harder runs with more ease, and on the odd occasion - style. I still face the first day with trepidation, but after that day has passed I cant wait to book another lesson to get to that next level of ski-godliness.

Tyler (left) IG (right)

Often Tyler Knows Best and IG accompany me, but last year IG dropped a bombshell - after years of trips to Queenstown he admitted "I don't really like skiing". As Tyler's second child will be due about the time we hit the slopes in 2006, an extended stay would be unlikely, so this year will mark a change in the old traditions, hopefully just in the short term.

I can only hope for some great snow, and a short line to the tows - roll on August!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Class Structures

Flying home from Melbourne on Monday, I realised how "second class" airline travel could make you feel somewhat inferior.

Firstly, as an elite traveller you don’t have to que to check in. You also get to board after everyone else has been seated. During the flight you get better food, and service. You get a comfortable seat that you don’t even have to return to the upright position before landing. You disembark first when you arrive at your destination. Your baggage comes out of the carousel first with a priority sticker. You are more important, and perhaps, more deserving than those around you.

I know you pay for the privilege, much as someone may decide to pay for an escort or even a lap dance; I just can’t help but think that at the end of the day the seller gains more than the buyer.

I understand the concept, but it doesn’t always gel. An example: whilst browsing through the yellow pages, looking for a restaurant recommended to us, we came across the escort section. We were amazed to find the most expensive escort one could purchase in Melbourne was $10,000 per night.

I can’t, for the life of me, understand that (or the argument that ten $1000 escorts would be a better option).

On the plus side, the people in first class all appeared kinda funny looking, if you know what I mean.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Big Baddaboom

I return from the Melbourne F1 GP full of new idea's to blog.

How rude people are on airplanes
How the class structure is alive and well in airline travel
How loud is a Formula 1 car is at 20,000 rpm
The joy of jumping timezones, and daylight saving in the same weekend.

Need .... sleep.....