Saturday, June 30, 2007

For Auntie Di

Today was a glorious day in Dunedin. The rain from last night was gone mid-morning, and the temperature rose to the mid "teens". I spent the day visiting my grandmother, followed by lunch with the Knopp ladies at a local pizza place.

After pizza, we went back home, and I persuaded the girls to allow me the honour of taking their pictures for their lovely auntie in Belguim. I'm surprised they said yes. Anyway - here they are in all their radient beauty; Monkey 2 and Monkey 3.

And because they will kill me when they see this - I might as well post their individual pictures as well!

Guitar Girl

Tap Dancing Girl

I am soooo dead now :)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Winter is here

I stepped off the plane yesterday morning to a -7 degree frost. We were warned that there was ice on the air bridge from the aircraft, and that we should watch our step whilst disembarking the aircraft. I'm dressed like the Michelin Man, it so cold it hurts when I breathe, but Man it's good to be home :)

I've eaten too much, not drank enough, and hardly seen anyone, but I managed to shoot Cole - it's a shame the light was so bad - in this weather going outside isn't on the cards.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I'm going home

A trip to Dunedin is always a double edged sword; while it's great to see my friends and family, it's really hard to leave. I haven't been back since Christmas so this trip is long overdue. I would have been home sooner, but I wanted to wait until my nephew Cole was born.

The killer is that I've got a 7.25 am flight - so I'll be up at 5.30am to be ready in time. A long day, but so worth it when I smell some fresh air, and slip on some black ice.

Sorry Di - I wish you could be there as well. Hopefully sooner rather than later :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sunday next

Talking about religion on a blog is tantamount to pouring petrol over oneself and asking a complete stranger for a match - you simply don't do it. Yet here go I.

As I've mentioned before my nephew was refused a Christening, but now I find he will be granted a blessing. No big deal I thought - I'll rock in, take a number of photos in the church, and that would be that. There may be a little ceremony, words will be spoken, and the whole thing will be over. How wrong could I be; My nephew's blessing will now take place as a part of a full blown church service with a baptism thrown in for good measure.

Those people who know me well would probably concede that I am a spiritual person by nature, and in the most part they would be right. I just have a problem with mans intervention in religion. To me a persons religion is their own. If they want to practice their faith with a group of others then all power to them. The problem occurs when I arrive in their midst.

Being hypocritical is a big issue for me - I realise that I'm there to support my nephew and his parents, but the thought of being somewhere - in a system that I just don't believe in - bothers me. I know - I should just get over it, but when the issue of communion was mentioned I hit the wall. No one expects the Spanish inquisition. Compromise is a bitch.

Yes - OK, I will go.
I will put on my best placid face.
I will be good, and in doing so, will try my very best not to catch fire should the holy water touch me.

But some things, you just can't promise.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Art Darling

Some of you must be wondering if I live most of my life within the confines of YouTube.

Why, yes - I do. :)

I found this stuff whilst looking for a video clip for Freshman - by the Vervepipe. While I never found that particular clip - I did find this art form, which just goes to show there's a lot of talent out there folks.

And for IG this link, and finally Brew King - this link.


Why I should have never let this one get away....
Texting at 8:10 am this morning, after a particularly nasty start to my Monday morning....

Me: Sands - Is it totally OK to kill a sub-contractor? Please - I really need this

NFG: Absolutely baby.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Jay may be right - maybe some of us do think too much.

I challenge you to download this track, and crank up your volume. It's a great song - and for three plus minutes you wont have to think about anything.

Unfortunately - the audio on this clip doesn't do it justice. But enjoy it if you can.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Friend Zone

I have to write about this sooner rather than later. The trouble is I always seem to begin this sort of post in the middle without a beginning or end, and I want to do a better job than that. Something with a low cringe factor is a must - and believe me that will take some work to accomplish!

In the meantime this clip pretty much sums up the experience of many of "us guys". I'm not sure the same applies to girls - comment if you disagree with me. this clip JD has 48 hours to kiss Elliot before he ends up in the friend zone. With minutes to spare he realises he has a short time left to complete their missed kiss - or else....

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Thanks Dear

Why do woman behind the counters at supermarkets always call me "dear" ?

Don't get me wrong - I don't mind it, but I wonder if there's something about my manner that automatically makes them feel comfortable saying that.

While I'll freely admit there's something nice about it all - at the same time I wonder about my constant occupation of the friend zone, and the reasons behind it.

Granted - I'm into the whole Karma thing, but part of me is still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Rachels anthem song

Having spent the best part of the night out eating and drinking with Brew King, Aunty RoRo, and Rachel, we found ourselves outside a little bar off Queen Street.
Between ample sips of Merlot, Rachel asked us what our wedding, funeral and anthem songs would be. She herself refused to answer the questions, simply stating this was because she asked questions - not answered!
As the night drew to a close I tried to convinced Rachel to answer the questions she posed. Through her red wine haze, she consented to answer just one. I decided to ask what her anthem song was - the song that defined her life thus far.

This is that song. "The First Day of My Life" by Bright Eyes.

This is the first day of my life
I swear I was born right in the doorway
I went out in the rain suddenly everything changed
They're spreading blankets on the beach

Yours is the first face that I saw
I think I was blind before I met you
Now I don’t know where I am
I don’t know where I’ve been
But I know where I want to go

And so I thought I’d let you know
That these things take forever
I especially am slow
But I realize that I need you
And I wondered if I could come home

Remember the time you drove all night
Just to meet me in the morning
And I thought it was strange you said everything changed
You felt as if you'd just woke up
And you said “this is the first day of my life
I’m glad I didn’t die before I met you
But now I don’t care I could go anywhere with you
And I’d probably be happy”

So if you want to be with me
With these things there’s no telling
We just have to wait and see
But I’d rather be working for a paycheck
Than waiting to win the lottery
Besides maybe this time is different
I mean I really think you like me

Monday, June 18, 2007


I've been tagged. There are rules. But there is a problem.
I don't know 8 bloggers!

So help me out. If you drop by and see this, and if you feel so inclined please help me out and tag yourself!

The rules come first:

1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Here it goes!

1. I have an inner monologue
2. I have a mild case of tourettes - i count random numbers aloud under my breath when I'm stressed. It beats swearing I guess.
3. I love the smell of coffee, but can't abide the taste.
4. Dogs like me - even scary ones - I have no idea why.
5. I'm a perfectionist about anything I do - except housework.
6. I practice random acts of kindness on a regular basis.
7. I don't eat cooked vegetables, though I eat many raw.
8. I am uncomfortable in close proximity to crowds.


Di - because you might actually do this.
Manic - because I'm interested in what you have to say.
Jay - For both the above reasons (I hope you can take the time away from your walks)

And as I said before - anyone else reading this - consider yourself tagged!

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Wait 'til he finds out

Presbyterian and Reformed Christians contend that baptism is not a mere symbol, but actually conveys grace. Baptism, according to this tradition, does not produce Christians, but it identifies the child as a member of the covenant community. (from here)

but wait - there's a catch;

In presenting this child for baptism, do you confess your faith in God as your heavenly Father, and in Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord, and in the Holy Spirit as your Sanctifier? As I have already said, the vows you make are made before God. It is therefore necessary, if they are to mean anything at all to you, that you believe in God. If you do not believe in God, how will you be able to train your child to believe in Him. (from here).

So too bad if you kinda/maybe believe in God - there is no wriggle room. You absolutely positively have to believe - or your child can't be christened. No room for fence sitting when it comes to your spiritual welfare of your child. I guess you could always lie - but then you'd be breaking your own moral code - right?

See what happens when man gets involved in religion. Personally if I was in the business of saving souls, I'd take every opportunity to do so, but I cant see that kind of thinking filling the coffers on Sunday morning. I liked it when Bono said, "The God I know, ain't short of cash buddy"

Ben Folds

Sometimes, when it's hard to get the words down - when it seems that you're struggling for some meaning in this crazy world, and you're not sure how it's all supposed to work out, it's nice when someone writes a song like this.

It's nice to know you're not alone.

No: You don't need to call. Yes: I'm fine :)

Saturday, June 16, 2007


In some respects my musical tastes can be rather conservative at times.
Personally - I believe Vanilla gets a bad wrap.

Why I don't "get" why Genesis was better with Peter Gabriel, rather than Phil Collins is a bit of a concern - when so many people obviously know better.

Either way - I love this Incubus song, even though it's pretty obvious that this is the sort of party a vanilla guy never gets an invite to. Even strip bars terrify me - for god's sake!

But the opening drums, the bass riff, and harmonic guitars - it's magic !

Have a great weekend folks.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

To absent friends

I am so fortunate to have good friends.
I say this often, to remind myself what good fortune truly is.
I say this often, because I my thoughts are always with them.
Finally - I say it because I would not be who I am, without them.

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."
- Anais Nin

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

This is really interesting

For ages I've been meaning to read a book called The Art of Travel by Alain De Botton.
Because it's an international order I've been putting it off, but after revisiting my internet bookmarks I ended up at Amazon reading a review of the book by this guy.

The review follows here;

In the past, when I still regularly attended graduation parties, such parties were always teeming with graduates-to-be harbouring fanciful travel plans. Everybody seemed intent on getting away a.s.a.p., as long as possible, and to a very far away and preferably out of the way place. They wanted to become travellers, a breed not to be confused with commonplace tourists.
I've never been able to detect any intrinsic motivations driving this graduate travelling habit, e.g. a deep-seated and longstanding interest in a particular country or culture. It was simply a matter of opportunity, this jumping at the a chance to be thoroughly irresponsible for a while, before entering on the responsibilities of a steady job. And of course, everybody was going and it would be very un-cool to stay at home.

After these people returned from their well-organised adventures, it invariably struck me how little they had changed, and how little they had to tell about the places they had been; apart maybe from random scraps on local customs that I could as easily and more completely have found in any travel guide book. Nevertheless most of these people, even years later, would be prone to lapse into dreamy states of blissful reminiscence at the slightest cue, expressing a deep longing to go back there, preferably to stay.

It got me wondering why it is that the same things we find boring or commonplace at home are suddenly deeply interesting simply because they occur 5,000 miles away.

I remember one such party where I met an acquaintance who just got her degree in philosophy. I asked her if she was planning on her more or less mandatory world trip as well. But she just gave me a weary smile, tapped the side of her head and said: `Travelling is something you do in here'.

In a nutshell that's the question and the essence of the answer in Alain de Botton's thoughtful book on travel. Why do we bother? What do we expect, and why are we so often disappointed? And then again, why do our memories of the trip rarely reflect the disappointments? And what is the clue to not being disappointed? How do you go about really experiencing the place where you are and making it part of yourself?

On all such questions De Botton has interesting and often entertaining observations to make. He shows us that the exotic is not defined by long-haul flights and palm trees, but can be found literally on your doorstep if you just know how to look. He explains why a travelling Englishman can be depressed on far away and exotic Barbados and euphoric in nearby, but in many ways equally exotic Amsterdam, or even around the corner in Hammersmith where he lives.

As a Dutchman I was fascinated by his detailed analysis of a sign in the arrivals hall of Amsterdam Airport, explaining its exotic nature from a British viewpoint, and the reasons you would never ever find a sign like that in the UK, just across the Channel. De Botton is a master at finding such surprising angles to elucidate his subjects. Moreover he has considerable erudition to add, resulting in an engrossing mixture of philosophical insight, personal experience, and references to artists, writers, explorers and scientists of the past. Mostly these historical figures, Flaubert in Egypt, say, or Humboldt in South America or Van Gogh in the Provence, are exemplary `artists of travel', people who knew how to make the most of their expeditions. By taking their mindset, involving energy, patience and an eye for detail, as a template, De Botton generates some useful suggestions for the modern day traveller who no longer wants to bore himself by `scoring' obligatory highlights in the guidebook star-rating order, or who refuses to be a slave to his camera any longer. He may even give you some clues as to how to deal with that greatest travelling problem of them all, the fact that wherever you go, you always have to take yourself along.

In all, an elegant, intelligent, thought-provoking, amusing and useful little book, that nobody who takes travelling seriously should miss. Don't take it with you though - it won't last you much longer than an afternoon on the beach...

Management 101

Something more from my Telecom days.

Take care of those that work for you, and you'll float to greatness on their achievements.
-H S M Burns

Monday, June 11, 2007

Mind blowing

As a budding photographer, this youtube video really opened my eyes to the future of digital photography on the net. Take a look - it's worth ten minutes of your life in my humble opinion!

Plus there's an interesting advert afterward showing the new hydrogen powered BMW. I want one :)

Auckland Pink Concert

I've just this minute walked in the door from the Pink concert, and my ears are still ringing. I loved the concert but in saying that, its fair to say my taste in concerts has changed over the years. These days I prefer substance over style - so the whole stage show part of the concert really doesn't appeal to me that much. The artists I love to listen to, could sit down on a stool and play with a stripped down band, and still impress me. Pink is one such artist. Can you imagine Britney doing an unplugged album? I didn't think so.

I've heard that when Bruce Springsteen plays to a crowd he sits down between numbers, and talks to the audience about the song he's about to sing, the story behind what you're about to experience. He really makes an effort to bond with the audience - and people rave about him. Pink, on the other hand belted out three songs before she even said hello.

It seemed to me the band was stripped down a bit, but there was no doubt that they were a talented bunch of individuals. The band was very tight, although the bass player was somewhat lack lustre - but in fairness it could have been the mix. The band often had to carry the show, while Pink left the stage for costume changes. The backup singer, and singer/keyboard player did a good job in her absence, but it's a big ask, primarily because Pink is such a powerhouse on stage; when she's not there you feel the energy leave with her.

The only time she stopped to give a small morsel of background, was just before she sang Dear Mr President. She almost seemed embarrassed to talk about something that was obviously important to her. It was somewhat ironic that this number was done with so much heart, and the crowd responded appropriately.

Pink did a number of covers including Bob Marley's Redemption Song, Linda Petty's Whats Up, and Janis Joplin's Me and Bobby McGee. Hearing the chorus of What's going on sung by the crowd was a high point of the concert, but it was ironic to hear Get this Party Started, done at the end of the night as an encore.

The crowd wanted to carry on, but Pink's final encore came too soon - don't get me wrong - she's one talented lady who puts on a powerhouse show. I just wanted more of her, and less of everything else.

Maybe when the flash has gone, and the substance remains - I'll be back. Hell - I'd be back either way.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


God - I miss Battlestar Galactica. I can't believe I have to wait until 2008 until it starts it's forth season.

This is a fan clip with a nice soundtrack from Missy Higgins - The Special Two.


We fear change - oh yes we do..

Change is a universal constant; I guess I just don't want it in my universe.

Last Thursday, our firm had a full technology meeting, in which they announced they were looking at outsourcing the work that we did in the business. What they were saying obviously upset a few people, but I have to say, for some unknown reason, I wasn't fazed at all.

I've been through this all before with Telecom NZ, and that was truly horrendous - frankly I cant believe it would ever be the same as that experience - actually I know that for a fact - because I have changed. I wouldn't let it bother me anymore - I know I'm stronger than that now.

The previous experience has empowered me to make some decisions around what I was, and I wasn't going to let effect me. When I moved up to Auckland I decided not to buy a house - I ensured I saved over 10% of my salary from day 1. I set myself up so I could leave on a whim if i needed to - no one owned me. Ok - so if in the interim I happened to meet someone - all bets were off. Seeing that hasn't happened, I'm still on track, albeit a little miffed about the whole not meeting anyone thing.

So...I arranged a meeting with a top brass guy and asked him some pretty pertinent questions - which he answered to my satisfaction; something I wouldn't have had the balls to do five years ago. I then had a talk to the others I work with and things seemed have calmed down a bit. It never ceases to amaze me how these top managers never seem to get the basics right. They never make the true facts clear. Yes - they are looking at outsourcing - but if it isn't viable, they're not going to go ahead with it. There is no secret agenda.

Two days layer; still no bad dreams, extra stress, or sleep loss. Just the normal run of the mill stuff - the normal kind of stuff that freaks you out on a daily basis anyway.

And with all that normal stuff going on, who has time for any other brand of crazy anyway. Well apart from meeting someone - obviously!

Friday, June 08, 2007


Stressed? Not this cat!

Too many people I know are stressed - right now.
It's a sad comment on our reality - that so many of us live in a society that usually equates success with stress. Money is indeed a powerful motivator, and I am so much its prostitute.
All that said, being aware of the stress can be powerful motivation in itself. It can enable us to change our life direction, take up a healthy hobby, or appreciate those around us a little more.
Maybe it's time for that tropical holiday you promised yourself.

Oh - god - YES!!!

So when all is said and done; perhaps stress is the great enabler? - it enables us to achieve, and keep our life on track. It helps us survive when it may be simpler to curl up and die.
Regardless of what stress is to you, remember to take care of yourself, and in doing so, perhaps you'll come to realise that that tight feeling in your chest may not be stress after all - it could simply be a mild heart attack. :)

Take care NFG - my thoughts are with you. :)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Powered by Mac

Back in the early 80's I started getting interested in computers. Back then owning a home computer was a pipe dream - unless you were talking about a Sinclair ZX81 with a massive 1K of Ram.

The Sinclair ZX81 "Doorstop"

The first real computer I used on a regular basis was an Apple 2+, which I used at school. There was only one computer for 1200 pupils - fortunately for me 1190 of those kids had something better to do at 7:30 in the morning than to ride to school in the winter and share the computer with 10 other users. One carefully lobbed grenade would have rid the school of all the geeks in one swift move; we were the computer club.

Apple 2+

By the time the late 80's rolled around Apples were replaced by IBM compatibles as the computer de jour - someone I knew paid over $4000 for a 286 IBM PC with a hard drive - wow - a hard drive ! I was just starting work, so it wasn't until the early 90's before I could afford a home built PC.

Over the years I've built and fixed more PC's than I care to remember. For the longest time it was an enjoyable hobby: but no longer! No more constant rebuilding of my PC operating system; updating virus scanners, purchasing a spyware scanner, and applying windows security updates every second day. I guess eventually Microsoft just wore me out. I'd finally had enough.

So right now I'm sitting in front of something that looks like a PC, but I guess that's where the similarities stop. Meet the Apple iMac!

For the first time in years I'm excited about sitting in front of a computer. It's all new, and like learning a foreign language - very frustrating. The good thing is I'm already starting to get the hang of it.

Change is good. Not to mention white and shiny.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Two of my friends have recently decided to get married in January, and they have asked if I can take photos. Congrats Kirst and Rach!
I should take this opportunity to point out that I've never really enjoyed weddings. Not for any specific reason, or any dislike of the event itself; it's just I have never really relaxed enough to enjoy one.
Because of my love of photography, I get asked to photograph weddings - I often refuse, only to quickly suggest that I take candid shots. The thing about wedding photography as a principal photographer, is that everyone notices you. It is almost impossible to get a decent natural shot - and that is so frustrating.
To get around this issue I get my friends to get someone else to do the boring "reportage" shots - in the meantime I can walk around taking my images. Later they appreciate those shots much more - because they look so natural, even though my job is much easier.
I still remember my first wedding - I'd just brought my Nikon F4S - my first camera. I was invited to take some candids - and the professional photographer didn't turn up. Talk about pressure! I went through eight rolls of film, and lost more than eight years from my life. The resulting photo's were fine - but I never wanted to experience that feeling of total panic again.
Years later, at my cousins wedding, a friend of the bride's family was coerced into doing the photos. Unbeknownst to him , his camera shutter was faulty and every single shot he took failed to expose. Forget how upset the bride was - the photographer was inconsolable, and probably still is to this day.
These days I take weddings with a grain of salt. Photography is so much more than snapping a button. It's almost impossible to get a decent shot without an mutual understanding between the photographer and his subject. Even if the subject doesn't know he's being photographed, the photographer has to have an idea of who that person "might" be. It's a kind of magic.
You can teach pretty much any person to take a photo; to focus, to set the exposure correctly. But you can't teach someone how to react to a subject, or to push that button instinctively. And that makes all the difference in the world.

Every decent image a photographer takes involves a personal interaction. The better the understanding of the subject the better the image. And the more photographs you take - the higher your expectation of the result. It's a vicious circle, but the rewards are worth it; especially when you capture something special, and even if you fall for the bride :)

She's even more beautiful in real life!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Rose coloured glasses

I realise that being in love can have its downsides.
Especially the risk of losing that love, either through time, personal growth, or a shitty curve ball life can throw every now and again.
Whatever the reason, and the feelings of misery that follow, I am often comforted by the look on a single friends face when they meet someone special again. Regardless of everything, we so often take the chance for happiness again - that resilience of the human spirit is astounding.
And if that makes me a sucker - then I'm not alone.

I really used to like the Eagles. When I was in high school I used to listen to them a lot. But then I found so many other types of music, and the Eagles got lost in the mix. More recently I've been thinking about this song; the loss, and the realisation that life goes on.
I never realised how so many artists suffer for their art, and by doing so show us the possibility of dealing with our past, and the feelings that arise from it.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Bridge

In song writing, a bridge is an interlude that connects two parts of that song, building a harmonic connection between those parts.

Normally you should have heard the verse at least twice. The bridge may then replace the 3rd verse or precede it. In the latter case it delays an expected chorus. The chorus after the bridge is usually last and is often repeated in order to stress that it is final.

If and when you expect a verse or a chorus and you get something that is musically and lyrically different from both verse and chorus, it is most likely the bridge.

Such sterile words for what is so often the most lovely part of a song.
If I was a part of a song, I'd be the bridge - It's just that I'm just not a chorus kinda guy - if you know what I mean.
And that, dear reader, is just one more part of the puzzle clicking into place :)

By the way - if you didn't know - this bit below is the bridge.

Everything I know,
and anywhere I go
it gets hard - but it won’t take away my love.
And when the last one falls,
when it’s all said and done
it gets hard, but it won’t take away my love .