Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cynics beware

A month or so ago I attended a comprehensive First Aid course, and as a warm up to the course the nice lady instructor asked each of us in turn what TV shows we liked to watch. At the time I thought of House and Boston Legal. I've always admired David E Kelly's writing, and in Boston Legal he has done the seemingly impossible - taking Kirk away from Shatner and giving us Denny Crane in return.

Anyway, pleased with my "off the cuff" revelation (and not blurting out Americas Next Top Model instinctively), I was surprised that the instructor responded with "Oh - those shows are both so cynical". Those who know me would be shocked to learn that I was totally lost for words; devoid of any witty reply.

This whole episode has obviously left me emotionally scarred, as recently I made a list of the TV shows I love to watch when I have time. It turns out that at first glance, most do seem cynical and dark. There is however a constant theme of redemption running through most of the shows - which is probably the reason why I watch them. You have to love flawed characters with good intentions - especially when you don't tolerate them in real life :)

So - My Top 10 Shows (in no apparent order)

Boston Legal
Battlestar Galactica
Life on Mars
Outrageous Fortune
Americas Next Top Model - Tyra Mail!!!
Hells Kitchen

And while I'm still in my cynical space, feel free enjoy this clip that Gyro Stan sent me.
Cats can change - believe me - they just have to want to change :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Week of Work

It's been an interesting week.
After all my concerns over my work life - out of the blue I got a call from someone I trust, and got an interesting look at a possible outcome to my current work concerns. I cant say too much at the moment, as a lot of stuff is being juggled - any you just don't want to upset those balls while they're flying through the air.

On the home front I'm still working nights; which pretty much stuffs up all of my days. My folks are arriving on Friday, so I can only hope my body clock gets back on track sooner, rather than later, although I wouldn't bet on that.

In the meantime Karsten sent me a photo of his family and their 2CV, which I slammed in a roundabout way a few posts back. Karsten - you rock, and your car - well I'd have to say it's so damn ugly it's cute. :)

Friday, October 26, 2007

The lighter moments

I love when people surprise. I live for those moments when people go against type; when that knock on the door comes from someone you don't expect, or that someone who manages to totally reinvent your perception of them in an instant of time.
I like it even more - because it's rare.
People hardly ever surprise me these days, but even the smallest of revelations can make my day. And I realize I've been missing that lately.

I saw something the other day that pretty much sums up this whole writing thing for me. Especially when you realize that this blog is only a small part of who I am, and you don't always see the parts that balance me.

We are here; we are human beings; this is how we lived. Let it be known, the earth passed before us. Our details are important. - Natalie Goldberg

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

No fate but what you make.

It may be the fact I'm working nights at the moment and running short on sleep, but now more than any other time spent here in Auckland, I feel I'm not making any forward momentum.
I'm not sure - maybe this is just a end of the year thing, but in the past I always seemed to have more targets set, my progress measured by them being ticked of my list.

I think the issue was brought home to me last night, after a discussion with Dufus.

I have been tasked with something called "Network Health Checks". This job involves finding ways of measuring the "health" of our network and driving processes to improve the customer experience. In short; I find stuff that's wrong and try and get the groups concerned to do something about it. Already I have come across some areas where things could easily be improved but it's not my job to do the work that could make those benefits, and those other groups- well, lets say they believe they have bigger fish to fry.

The second thing I became aware of, is that during my search for solutions to this, and many other problems found, I have shifted my focus from my "business as usual"(day to day) work - and as a result I have found myself on the back foot in my own work space - not a good realization to have but I'm in good company - our group is in free-fall at the moment.

So, for the first time in five years, I'm questioning where I am right now, work-wise. As I moved here primarily for my work - it's scary that this may now be a motivation for me to move on. To where though, is less certain.

By a complete fluke I was watching this speech on You tube the other day;

These are the sort of speeches that make you wonder if you should be somewhere else, not settling for something less, at the best of times. But it my current frame of mind, lets just say the feeling is more urgent.

I'm not saying I'm definitely leaving yet, but in all honesty the need to stay must come from more than monthly paycheck. I have great friends here - but as time goes on, and they all move on with their lives I feel increasingly, less a part of the whole life experience, and more like a sideshow that refuses to end. That may be a sign in itself.

Then again - after a good nights sleep, everything could be a whole lot better.

I'll let you know when all this madness ends.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Jose Gonzales - Crosses

Your talent, whatever it may be, is yours regardless.
Whether, or how you choose you use it - is obviously another story.

Real musicians can perform live, with no lip syncing. This is real talent - not something less manufactured for mass consumption.

Don't you know that I'll be around to guide you
Through your weakest moments to leave them behind you
Returning nightmares only shadows
We'll cast some light and you'll be alright

Overrated Cars Part 4

A filler - I know. Too much on - work wise - at the moment.

4. Lancer Evolution and Impreza WRX

A hard-won reputations earned on the gravel roads of the WRC has been all but obliterated by the hordes of Japanese import WRXs and Evo's that flooded into the country and were bought by dickheads who instantly lower them and slap on drainpipe-sized exhausts that make them sound like a donkey farting through a trumpet. Based on bland, base-model econoboxes that only your grandmother would drive, the irony is that the sort of people who buy these cars wouldn't be seen dead in granny's car, unless, of course, it was festooned with ridiculous, tacked-on wings and scoops.

3. Hummer

The Governator is to blame. Mr. Schwarzenneger was the first "civilian" to buy a road-going Hummer, inspiring the idiotic idea that the world really needed a huge, lumbering waste of resources with less room inside than a vehicle half its size. Eventually someone realised the H1 was actually a piece of crap, and a "smaller" model was released, the H2, which was nothing more than a cynical marketing exercise on wheels. Usually on 22-inch chrome wheels, which only added to its spectacular pointlessness. Now with the advent of the cheaper, smaller but still bigger than a house, H3 even more wannabe gansta-rappers can afford to flaunt their lack of taste and intelligence in the most spectacular fashion imaginable.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Religionless Christianity

Firstly: I didnt write this.
It was written by Philip Matthews from New Zealand Listener Magazine.
If they complain - I'll take it down immediately.
Its just an interesting article - if not somewhat controversial.

Article starts here;

The Interview: John Shelby Spong

This week, John Shelby Spong arrives in New Zealand to promote his new book, Jesus for the Non-Religious, and to give talks on "progressive Christianity". Why does the retired Episcopalian bishop and "moral activist" continue to attract so much controversy - even death threats?

By Philip Matthews

Ahead of New Zealand you toured Australia, where Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen banned you from every church in his diocese.

He does that everytime I come. It's actually wonderful publicity. The people that I want to reach are the people that he repels. The Sydney Anglicans are unusual - they're almost biblical fundamentalists to a fault. It's one of my favourite cities in the world,
and the church is almost irrelevant. You're promoting "religionless Christianity", but don't some people need the miracles, the supernatural element? And
can you blame them? No, but religion can't be based on what people need. If
Christianity is not based on truth, then I don't think it's got much of a future.
You've got the Roman Church claiming that they have the infallible Pope
and you've got the Protestant churches claiming that they have an inerrant
Bible. Both of them are looking for security systems, and I think Christianity
calls us to venture into the unknown. Far from giving me security, it gives me
courage to embrace the insecurity of life and not fall apart.

In the new book, you say that "the
Christianity that is now emerging in America and the Third World is some- thing with which I do not choose to be identified". How does your version differ?

It differs in almost every way. I don't believe that anybody can tell another
person who God is. I don't think a horse can tell you what it means to be human.
I don't think a human being can tell you what it means to be God. The kind of
religion that I see emerging is hysterical.

In the US, if you're in the right-wing religion, you support George W Bush
and I find him the worst President I've ever lived under. You're in favour of the
war in Iraq, which I regard as totally immoral, a disaster. I have a daughter
who has done three tours in that war. She's a Marine. That's existential for me.
That's not abstract.

Hasn't every US President since Jimmy Carter been closely identified with

He was a born-again Christian, but he was also a person who didn't use
his religion to hurt other people. He was a magnificent human being. He was a
Southerner who was in favour of full equality for people of colour, full equality for women.
His religion is one I'm very comfortable with.

Where does Hillary Clinton fit?

If you know her personally, you know that she comes out of the Methodist social gospel
part of her religious background. She's deeply committed. It's not something
she wears on her shoulder and it's not something she will run on the basis of,
but you scratch her and she's a John Wesley-type Christian.

I think that the religious mentality has severely gone down in American politics.
Bush tried to rev up the religious vote by keeping Terri Schiavo alive after she was
brain-dead. There was great disgustabout that and people said, "If that's
what religion means, I don't want any part of it."

When you visited Christchurch in 2003, 29 local Anglican vicars signed a protest statement against you.

That doesn't concern me at all. I was welcomed by the Dean of the Cathedral and the bishop
- the bishop happens to be a close friend of mine. There are going to be people
who object to anybody. When George Bush comes to Australia, there are going
to be wild protests. I might even join 'em!

I've had 16 death threats in my life and none of them have come from an
atheist or a Buddhist. They've come from Bible-quoting true believers.
Religion is sometimes a very negative force in people's lives. It covers up a
lot of hostility.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Warm fuzzies at someone elses expense

This makes my heart sing, , and funny sounds come out my mouth. I think it's laughter.

So love this.....HERE...

Even if it's bullshit - I'm linking to it from now on.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Finding greatness in small things

I want to write about hooks - not the kind you fish with 'though.
I want to find a better version of Rosanna, because as much as I like that damn song, the thought of it is actually better than the song itself: So overproduced and muddy....
To make it worse I've now heard that there is an SACD version of the Album Toto IV. Why would I just get my hopes up? I know that the only place to listen to Rosanna was in the 80's on a crappy 3 in 1 Stereo, full knowing that when I just saved the $700 for that cheap CD player - it would sound that much better.

Or course it didn't: I just didn't know that yet.

Yesterday I walked outside, after a sudden downpour.
The sun had broken through minutes before,
the evaporating water on the concrete was rising around my feet.
The sun shone warmly on my face.
On the air, I smelt the first scent of hay,
As a warmth cascaded through me like an electric current
I found a spring in my step,
as I walked to the mailbox.

It was a lovely break from Rosanna. :)

See what I mean?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cheese Sandwich Posts

Things have been busy this week. I'm working a mix of nights and days for the next two weeks, and my routine is up in the air.
I did a presentation to management at nine this morning, after four hours sleep - I went home today at midday and slept until 4pm; I have no idea what day it is, or if I should even be hungry. Tonight it's more of the same - I'll start at 11pm and will probably finish around 6am on Thursday (I think).

It's time like this that you realise how you protect yourself with the routine of your life, and how fragile that inner peace can be when that routine is gone; especially when the littlest road blocks come your way. I know this will be all over by November, but I am now beginning to see that I am becoming increasing inflexible to these changes in my life, and I really need to fight that; if you can't bend, you break.

Though all this madness I do however, have flashes of clarity - I guess the lucid moments are an attempt to make sense out of this supposed chaos. I look forward to some sort of normal service resuming shortly; as probably, will you.

Found this song a while back. I found it as background music to this clip.
It's a simple song to play, and on days like these the simple songs are the best.

Monday, October 15, 2007

True Love

I have to admit it. I'm in love for the third time in my life.

Before any of you who know me faint, or yell "finally" to the heavens - I should point out I'm talking about this;

Yes - I've always been a PC geek. I've built, and repaired more IBM compatible PC's, than I care to remember - but I've given that all away: I've finally moved to Apple - the 24" iMac to be precise.

I finally came to this conclusion because this week I was selected to write a review on a piece of software for the iMac called Parallels. Parallels is a program that allows you to run Windows XP or Vista inside a "Window" on an Apple Mac. The program runs Windows apps like a dream, but I must admit when XP finally booted on my Mac I felt that I had sold out - and somehow, in the process, let my new computer down.

Five years ago when IG mentioned buying a Mac I laughed at him - perhaps he had more vision than me. All I know now is that I couldn't see myself going back to a IBM Compatible box computer, and I don't think I'm alone in that.

Seriously folks - If you're sick of virus scanners, after-market firewalls, spyware, and daily security updates take a look at Apple next time you upgrade. If you're anything like me you wont regret the move - or the possibility of falling in love again.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

My Mall

I'm not sure I like the mall experience.
Full of people who walk too slow, and stop suddenly - inviting an accident.
There's a distinct lack of privacy, and at the same time, a false sense of space.

When I was walking through our local mall today, I was frustrated by all those holding me back. It wasn't that I had somewhere to go as such. They were just moving at a different pace I guess.

It's funny how a trip to the mall can become a metaphor for ones life - if you look a little too closely. I think I liked it a little better when my focus was slightly off.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Running Man

I hate running. I really, really hate running. But even with the hating of the running thing going on, I realize of all the other physical exercise options, I hate running the least.

In order to cope with the tedium, and danger of running on the streets after dark, I brought a treadmill and have wired up my laptop to watch bite size movies while I run; at least until my fitness improves enough to keep up with all the other runners in the neighborhood. This may take some time. I am a pathetic running man.

This week I've been running through Scrubs episodes (so to speak). Next week perhaps Frasier - I don't know yet, I'll see where the muse takes me.

Anyway; one of the things I like about Scrubs is the music. As I warmed down tonight I caught this song at the end of an episode. Although it may be a bit of a downer - subject wise, It really is a lovely little song, and worthy of a listen.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Overrated Cars Part 3

6. Mini

The Mini falls into the same basket as the 205 GTi- a great, revolutionary car, an icon for its time and still great fun in small bursts, but the woolly-headed, rose-tinted nostalgia that surrounds it conveniently forgets several key points-mainly, it too is noisy, cramped, uncomfortable and unsafe. And it is also British... The Mini is remarkably simple to work on, which is just as well, as owners will probably spend more time sticking bits back on it than driving it, and you can always tell a fellow Mini owner by the abrasions on their knuckles from trying to do anything in the engine bay. Imagine if the Germans had made it- it would be much safer, go much harder, not break down, be hideously expensive and have nowhere near as much character... oh, wait...

5. Triumph Stag

The Stag was a great looking car that was assembled by a group of skilled artisans who cared deeply about the final result of their labours, and took great pains to ensure every detail was absolutely perfect on every single component their capable and accomplished hands lovingly caressed. Bollocks it was. Lashed together with sticky tape and wishful thinking between smoko breaks, the Stag was another great idea that was royally buggered by British car industry obstinacy and internal rivalries, and became a shining example of the quality and craftsmanship that led to its lingering demise. Those looks and a thumping V8 tucked under the bonnet promised great things, and it would have delivered too if it had been put together by people who gave a toss, but it was put together by British Leyland. So there you go.


Watching a new show called Sensing Murder this week; a show using psychics to unearth new clues on old murders - I was saddened to note that when the "mediums" were "talking" to the victim, she was as bitter and twisted, as she was in her real life.
So much for moving on and wiping the slate clean. If an afterlife exists, I guess we get to carry our baggage there as well.

I'm not sure this isn't a load of old tripe, but forewarned is forearmed. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Yes or No?

There are no easy answers. To every proverb there is an opposite.
Too many cooks - make light work.

And so too; pop music feeds us themes from different angles, saying the same thing. Or not.

I wanna fall in love

or... I don't want to be in love

I guess it all depends on what you want to hear; like many other things in this world, you decide.

By my side

Before Rockstar
Before erotic asphyxiation on hotel doorknobs.
These guys were a musical force of nature.

I still think "Never Tear us Apart" would be a kick arse wedding song.

I was standing
You were there
Two worlds colliding
And they could never tear us apart.

Monday, October 08, 2007


There is a part of myself I bury.
But even with my best intentions
My Mars nature surfaces from time to time.
It's hard to balance outrage with common sense.
But - It's a battle my placid side keeps well in check.
Every now and again I have to count to 20 instead of 10.
And sometimes that isn't enough.

Someone put the boot in, and I wasn't ready to lie down.
It wasn't even my battle - I was oblivious to the war.
But - He thought he was scoring.
So, an arrogant ass goes out of his way to ruin a beautiful day.

But when I counted to 30, and discussed it with my peers
(with little restraint - and much truth - unfortunately).
I now realise I was afforded a gift: his character.

So the phone rings tonight - and I hit silent
Not the bumping kind I'm afraid - always so proper: I regret.
I give so much every day
I'm not going to waste another day,
When I could be helping someone
Worth my time.

It's been a long time between storms.
I think tomorrow, another beautiful day is in order.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Overrated Cars Part2

8. Porsche 911

Okay, they're great cars now, but that is only through sheer Teutonic pigheadedness regarding the utter refusal to put the engine somewhere sensible. Some may say that it is through the refining of the rear-engine concept, advances in suspension technology and the addition of sophisticated electronic stability systems that has tamed the 911's tendency to launch itself backwards into the scenery, but it is probably simply the fact that they persisted with it for so long that the laws of physics simply gave up and buggered off to bother someone else.

7. Peugeot 205 GTi

Yes, it was a revolutionary car at the time. But that's the key phrase - "at the time". Now it's a small, cramped, noisy, uncomfortable, unreliable ball of death waiting to happen. Safety systems consist of, well... nothing really, and its remarkable ability to swap ends under virtually no provocation in the wet is sphincter-clenching fun for all the family. That said, it is still huge fun to drive, that is until it breaks down (which it will) or you hit anything bigger than it.

Already Over it

New Zealand was taken out at the quarter finals of the Rugby World Cup early this morning (NZ Time).

While the media will go on and on about how the whole country is in mourning on tonights Television News - I really don't care: and neither should you.

As a country, we are more than a bunch of Rugby players on a field. Why we put these guys up on pedestals, and live or die on the outcome of one rugby game is beyond me. New Zealanders' can be proud of so many things (Rugby amongst them) - and although I do feel for the guys in the All Blacks, we have to admit it's time to admit there is more to life.

I'm going for a walk in the sun - It's a beautiful day in Auckland - and I'm going to make the most of my Sunday. :)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Smart TV

Not an oxymoron - this is funny on a number of levels.
I wonder if this is a real show - or some sort of pilot. Anyone know if it got picked up?

Warning: These clips are about 9 minutes each

Part 2

Part 3

Time travel to 1975

The real reason for discouraging time travel:

1) To stop us all from travelling back in time to meet our younger selves, and the obvious slapping we would administer, when they'd refuse to listen to what we had to say to them.

I wonder - if I could tell these kids one thing... what would I choose?

Paul, Scot and Mark (circa 1975)

Buy Microsoft and IBM shares? Or something a little less superficial?

Tell me it's not about the's never that easy is it?

Unfortunate Car Choices

It always seems that I have no taste when I comes to cars. The choices I make never seem to be as inspired as those of IG or Brew King. Listening them discussing cars, is like watching a finely tuned orchestra performing .... albeit playing dueling banjo's . :)

Regardless - I admit, as much as I may know about the inner workings of an automobile, the fact that I bothered to restore a 70's Ford Capri will forever cast a serious doubt over any street cred I may have had prior to that date. Building a second Capri with a Lexus V8 only serves to damn me further.

With all this in mind I found an article on the ten most over-rated cars. I would hasten to add a Capri is not mentioned. Here are the first two in the countdown. IG would say, that with advice like this, I may not have started down the dark path to car ignorance. It may be too late for me, but you may yet be saved.

10. Dodge Viper

Originally conceived to be a modern interpretation of the Shelby Cobra, the end result was somewhat, umm, bloated. The American mantra of "bigger is better" was applied liberally here, without anyone actually realising that this doesn't really apply to sports cars. The combination of a small car with a big engine always equates to "fast"; but the Viper wasn't a small car, so in this case the combination became a big, heavy car with a huge engine. A huge TRUCK engine. Add to that the fact that most of the suspension was sourced from the Dodge Dakota pickup and you've basically got a truck wrapped in a scaled up sports car body...

9. Citroen 2CV

Ahh, personality- the last desperate refuge of ugly, single people and crap cars. And in the case of the 2CV ugly, crap cars. Originally designed so that French peasants could drive to the market at 60 km/h across muddy unpaved roads with up to 100kg of stuff in the back, the 2CV was developed before World War 2 and during the German occupation of France Citroen management hid the prototypes from the Nazis, fearing some military application. What possible military application a "car" with a 6.5kW, 375cc, air cooled engine could possibly have escapes most right-thinking people, but then what possible use a "car" with a 6.5kW, 375cc, air cooled engine could possibly be on the road also escapes most right-thinking people, and yet they still sold nine million of `em...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

It's not your fault this happens

Its all about personal responsibility. Alone, we may not be able to stop a war, but together we can do something - even if it's about the smallest things first.

Here, in the city I live in, a man accused of killing his twin sons, has once again been given bail after three times previously breaching his bail conditions - conditions being that;

1) He refrains from drinking, and;
2) He stays away from children under 12.

He has failed three times to obey this court order,

Chris Kahui has been behind bars since August, the day after he was committed to trial, when a judge found that he breached his bail conditions by drinking alcohol and being in the presence of children under 12.

....he [the judge] granted bail, saying the fact Kahui needed to be in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day while in prison outweighed his risk of reoffending.

What about the rights of his alleged victims? Who will speak for them?

Kahui had breached his conditions three times when Judge James Rota denied him bail in Manukau District Court in August.

Justice Heath said the risk could be managed through bail conditions.

If you live here - you have an opportunity to make your voice heard at the next general election. Regardless of who you vote for, stress safety for yourself and your loved ones - and responsibility for those who choose to bring their war to us; to our homes and into our lives.

The behaviour of the court is unacceptable. Is this the price we all must pay for overcrowded jails?

It's time to stop blaming society for all this illness. Sure - we do need more ambulances at the top of the cliff, instead of the bottom picking up the pieces. But one day, we just have to realise that we cant save them all. Time to draw a line in the sand and save the ones we can.