Friday, December 30, 2005

Santa sure has a big Sack...

Miss R in mid air
Originally uploaded by Mr Reasonable.

Damn it is nice to get something right and full credit, once again, goes to Mrs R. A few months back she suggested we get a trampoline for Christmas for the girls and I nodded and moved on. Little did I know she had this baby in mind and she is a beaut.

It arrived in three boxes and was delivered by two big dudes who had muscles on their muscles. It took some serious work to move the boxes to their hiding place under the house until Christmas Eve. One box in particular was almost impossible to move and we resorted to dragging it down the steps, puny little white guy that I am.

Once the kids were in bed on the night before Christmas, I sneaked down to the workshop under the house and, piece by piece, emptied the contents of the boxes and took them individually up to the garden. I expected this construction to be a bastard to be honest but was pleasantly surprised as not only were there enough bolts to rebuild the F69, there were easy to follow instructions with, get this, clear diagrams and step by step stages which were in order. Big kudos to those clever people at Supertramps who had obviously written the instructions having actually tried to build their own product.

I won’t pretend it was easy as it did require some serious stamina and some strength to put each little carbon rod into each of the several thousand (so it felt) holes. But in the end, every single piece fitted, every part was the right shape and size and went into a hole of the same shape and size. I didn’t even have to get out my hammer, which usually appears whenever I am making anything – just a little stroke with “Old Smacker” gently teases even the most difficult bolt into place! But not this time; the whole thing took less than 1 ½ hrs by which time it was almost full dark. We were tired by triumphant and very excited for the next day.

At about 10:30am after Santa’s pressies had been opened and half destroyed, we announced that there was one more present outside and the kids ran for the back door at a pace. The bruises and scratches (when the instructions say “wear gloves” they do mean it!) were worth it as both girls’ faces lit up and they leapt into the air. Miss R was amazed at the behemoth sitting on the lawn having definitely not been there when she went to bed: “How did it get here, Daddy?”, she asked gobsmacked. I could have told the truth and told of the heroic battle of mind over matter with each little devilish rod but, hey, this is Christmas and that’s all part of the magic. Santa sure has a big sack….

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Did the earth move for you, Darling?

Did the earth move for you, Darling?
Originally uploaded by Mr Reasonable.

I have lived here for over 3 years now and I will never, NEVER, get used to my house shaking. About 5 minutes ago [Tuesday, December 13 2005 at 9:09 pm NZ Time], whilst eating a very late dinner (having decided to put the kids to bed first and try and have a quiet meal for a change), a little shudder moved through our place, followed by a wee shunt and a grumble. Now Mrs R, who for many years lived and worked in Napier, does not even blink but carries on talking/eating/watching TV.

She once told me that unless something fell on her she didn't even bother getting out of bed in Napier. I am the opposite. I am not happy with the earth shaking. It isn't natural. Well it is, but you know what I mean. The earth is meant to be solid and people shouldn't live in places that aren't.

Welly is such a fine city but why did you have to build it on a fault line? I am told "it'll never happen" but we have a nice disaster kit with water and food just in case. It is safely stored in water tight boxes under the house.....hey, it just occurred to me that putting the emergency supplies underneath the thing that will fall on them should an emergency occur, isn't very smart - in fact about as smart as building a city on a fault line really. Still, it'll never happen, right? And the coffee here is too good to leave. She'll be alright. Right?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Merry Berry

November 2005 057
Originally uploaded by Mr Reasonable.

Mrs R and I have murdered many plants over the years. Whenever we moved house, someone would usually give us a plant as a new home present. After a few such moves, we arranged for a priest to be available to administer the last rights whenever anyone handed over a poor innocent shrub. We took some relief in the fact that they usually died a quick death; they didn't suffer the weeks of just hanging on in dry soil to then be drowned. They just gave up on entry to the kitchen window sill where so many had gone before then.

This has all changed now. I am at one with nature as I have a garden with veggies in it. This has been topped off by having a planter with some Strawberries ripening. Up until last week there were some lovely juicy red ones, just waiting to be picked. Alas they are gone, a very brave Blackbird had a feast and they were rather nice I assume from looking at the evidence.
I now have a net, but the little fella just wanders up to it and pecks through the holes. His bravery is witnessed by our two cats who can oversee the entire operation and offer advice from their comfy spot in the sun on the roof. It would take a small explosion to move them and they probably enjoy the live entertainment of me running across the room to shout and flap my arms about to scare the little bugger away.

There are plenty more berries just ripening so I need to find a solution. Any ideas?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Shave Your Lid for a Kid

Today was a fabulous day in Wellington. The sun was out and many, many people from all over this fine town turned up in Midland Park, next to the excellent coffee house of Astoria. Over 40 people had their bonces shaved by the rather attractive crew from Weltec and all for the Child Cancer Foundation and they stood in line, in the hot sun, patiently waiting their turn to do their bit for the kids and the families of kids suffering from cancer.

First in line was Ron Mark, the NZ First list MP. He doesn't have a lot of hair but his sacred tash is no more. There were many others, both men and women, who came for the chop and all went away shiny headed and proud.

I was lucky enough to spend some time with four really nice blokes who had come along to support the day and two of whom got scalped by their colleagues. They were good natured and relaxed and great fun to chat to. They were Ross Kennedy, John Schwalger, Tamati Ellison and Shannon Paku and they posed with kids, signed autographs and just sat around enjoying the sun. 2006 will be the year of the Hurricanes, no doubt.

2 1/2 hours later and it was all over. The last head was polished, the hair swept up, and scissors put away. I had a great coffee from Astoria and departed full of pride for the cool people of Wellington who had come together to support the community in which they live. Similar events were taking place in Christchurch, Nelson, Auckland and the NZ base in Antarctica. I'm sure they were all fantastic, but I know that Welly put on the greatest show.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I get knocked down but I get up again

If you didn't already know, I am a committee member of the Central Division of the Child Cancer Foundation (remember the Lexi campaign?). I am an anomaly there, as both of my girls are healthy and have never suffered from cancer, whereas most (but not all) of the other committee members have been through some terrible experiences and are giving back time and effort to helping others.

Some of the people I have met have lost children and some have children who will forever live with the scars of this terrible disease. Some are out the other side but all are affected forever. It has made me appreciate my family and life and has opened my eyes to the great courage of children and of the power of positive attitude. I have met some truly remarkable yet staggeringly normal people - I am not sure how I would live my life should one of my children ever become so ill but these people offer friendship and hope to families going through such horrors and they give of their time and experiences with no question.

I ended up on the committee through a willingness to help and through a friendship with a man who lost a daughter many many years ago. His openness and joy at remembering his daughters short but full life inspired me. He taught me that you shouldn't ignore death and pretend that a loved one never existed but to remember them often and with love and to cherish those memories. The pain never goes away but the recollections enable you to hang onto the good things and to celebrate that persons life. That is love.

There is a fund raising event at Midland Park this Thursday lunchtime (1st Dec). It is called FunRazor and involves people simply having their heads shaved for sponsorship. A small act yet it is a poignant link to the poor kids that enter the circus of chemo and drug treatments. I am not a supporter of street collections but it is a necessary part of any charity to get in the faces of the public - like any business, you have to be seen to survive and this charity is one that ranks highly on my list of worthwhile causes. I know where the money goes and how careful they are with it (I should 'cause I chair the Finance Sub-Committee where every penny is counted and accounted for) and I know first hand how the funds help others in so many ways.

We have a wonderful lady here called Marg who is the Family Support Councillor. She works incredibly hard and is always ready to give; she recently sent me this link to a blog called Shannons' Leg - he is a young guy here in Welly who is writing a blog about his leg, chemo and what is going on in his head as he battles. Have a read and say Hi. This guy's been knocked down, but not only is he up again, he's real pissed and he's fighting! That is life met full on and death has no place here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Normal Service Will Resume Shortly

It is 10:00pm and I have just sat down with a cup of tea. I have been working flat out these last two weeks and I have just stopped for the night, ready for 7:00am tomorrow, when the circus of life begins again. I have neglected my family but things will be back to normal by next weekend. Mrs R and the Rlettes are off to Nelson this weekend for a nice break with the Grandparents and some guaranteed sunshine. They will have a nice break away from the terse and moody Mr R and they deserve a holiday.....

Sunday, November 13, 2005

What is it about feet?

Ever since I posted that piece about Hooters coming to New Zealand, my web stats have gone crazy. I am constantly amazed by the things that people are looking for. Most of the searches are for "Hooters Outfits", but a close second is "Hooters Pantyhose". Weird, here are the rest of the top searches, in order:

hooters girls' feet - They must be very special tootsies
hooters girl feet - very
hooters girls pantyhose feet - very special
hooters girl pantyhose - tootsies
hooters birthday cake - nipple anyone?
pantyhose for hooters restaurant - would have to be a big pair to fit a whole restaurant

ms. hooters 2005 - Oh, the honour.
hooters employee of the month - You make your Daddy proud, Ricki-Lee. Who's your Daddy?
hooters employee handbook - Ah, a positive hit as the post was called this exact name
rate a hooter girl - why?
hooters, girl of the month march 2005 - Very specific, me thinks it was she that was searching

guys in hooters outfits - Ewww, don't try this at home kids
girls of hooters, showing pantyhose - OooKkkay.

do hooters girls take test - My favourite.

Some people are very specific in what they are after. I present the "I've just gotta know" list:

ballet tights slippers sex, how - what size slippers?
how many people work in the car salesman field - None of them, boom boom
silver spandex kylie minogue - Grrrrrr, yummy
pantyhose sex business - Is there one? Wow.
butt bunnies - Watership Down?
how to get your wife to wear pantyhose - Try asking, pal.
what makes a sewage smell come out of your drains - I believe, and I could be wrong but stay with me, that it is the sewage, down your drains
daisy dukes with pantyhose - Good idea, might try this one myself
sex sells defense - Really?

I expect this list will only add fuel to the fire!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

My kingdom for a chair...

Found it! At last, after much searching I have found the perfect chair. There were a few false starts, and a lot of polite "no thanks" as many different sales people tried to steer me into their idea of the perfect chair, but today, Eureka.

A work colleague suggest 5thAvenue but I looked on-line and couldn't see anything that did it for me. Nonetheless, she is famous for her ability to shop and pick style (ask alan, who was introduced to this by the same person) and so I ventured in and there it was.

There are many things you want from a chair. Comfort is of course one, but you don't want to sacrifice style for the sake of softness. The trick is finding both - I sat in many chairs that looked great but just didn't cut it in the butt hugging stakes. I tried loungers, big armchairs, sofas, strange hybrid chair bed things, but nothing had captivated me. Yet here in front of me was a range of stunning looking loungers but the big question was would they be as comfortable as they looked?

I tried the first one. Nice.

I tried the second one. Oooh baby.

I tried the third one. Hallelujah, I heard angels as my butt was hugged by quality leather (not something that happens everyday.....) The Stressless range from Ekornes - those clever Norwegians - the Mayfair or Dream chairs, nice.

The downside? A price tag of over $3,500.....Still you only live once and so my Trademe account is about to pop its cherry. Roll-up roll-up, one kidney for sale, hardly used.....

Oooh, Ahhhhhh

November 2005 125
Originally uploaded by Mr Reasonable.

What a great night we had. The main fireworks were great but what made it for us was the hundreds of mini-displays all over the waterfront from Te Papa right around to the point. The whole of Mount Vic was ablaze and it was impossible to know where the next barrage was going to be.

The highlight of the night? It has to be the dozens of boats that raced across the calm waters of the harbour once everything was over. It was full dark again and all that you could see were the navigation lights as they powered their way from Welly across to Eastbourne or Petone.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Dial-up Hell

When I first got Broadband I was using about 300mb a month - I chose the Telecom "Everyday" plan which gave me 1Gb per month with a download speed of 1mbs and 192kbs upload. If I went over the 1Gig I got bombed back down to the sluggish dial-up speed of 64kbs for the rest of the month.

I never thought that I'd use so much and, what the heck, there was no charge if I did. Little did I know that there is no pain quite like hitting that limit wall and sliding bleeding back into dial-up hell. Waiting for pages to load with monotonous slowness with the images even t u a l l y l o a d i n g. Actually in ain't that slow but damn it is annoying.

The cause of my angst was the introduction by alan to Flickr and using the wonderous Frogprints to print the most impressive 7x5 matt pictures. Before long I was up to 750Mb and then over the 1Gb for the last two months in a row....and I still have so much to find...and 3 hours until the 1st of the month and back to 1mbs......arrrgggg

From what I read, Telecom are one of the few broadband providers in the world that put a cap on usage. Twats. At the time I signed-up there was no real competition and the fact that they control the services still strangles competition. I got a free D-Link modem from Telecom and a contract for 12 months at $44 per month and they stung me for an installation fee of $100 (as we have an alarm system that apparently interferes with broadband...yeah right).

However, I notice that iHug have got a lovely new offer. They do a 2mbs connection with 20Gb off-peak plus 20Gb on-peak and (this is the best bit) uploads don't count to your totals. This means that I could actually drop down to their 1Gb plus 1Gb offer as it is my uploads that suck up my allowance. I'd have to be downloading movies or something to need the 20+20Gb but now I'm thinking of bit torrent and the next season of Lost...........and the pretty cool Threshold that an unnamed source has been pulling down for me....

When my 12 months expires, I am outta here and jumping to iHug. I notice from my web site stats that nobody uses iHug that comes here. If you are an iHug user and you're just stopping by, any feedback on their service would be appreciated. My stats also tell me that there are a lot (and I mean a lot) of people looking for pictures of Hooters Girls in Pantyhose and Hooters Girls Feet. I hope you find them but you won't find them here. To the person looking for "Do Hooters Girls take tests?", you are overqualified.

Happy Halloween!

Originally uploaded by Mr Reasonable.

Not my picture but it is doing the e-mail rounds today. Made me laugh at any rate.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Fresh Veggies

October 2005 022
Originally uploaded by Mr Reasonable.

Having never grown anything in my life, I decided this year to get back to nature and plant a veggy garden. By the time we moved into this house, this area was a jungle and after many many hours of digging and pulling, I planted beans, broccoli, spinach, lettuce and potatoes. I also planted carrots but they have vanished - I think I may have planted the seeds a bit deep - maybe they'll come up next year!

I have rebelled against the organic style of growing and have used every chemical known to man to eradicate every creepy crawly for 3 miles. They hear me open the shed and scamper away before I napalm the area. Get your little teeth away from my broccoli, squirt.....

Ms R was with me when I bought the slug pellets.

"What are they for Daddy?"

Wanting to shield her from the whole death conversation thing I said "it's food for the slugs so they won't eat our veggies."

"Will they die?" she said looking horrified.

"Errrr, yes" caught out.

"Good" looking happy.

At least she likes spiders or Baby Charlottes as she calls them. Slugs and snails are fair game though and rightly so!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Lazy Boy Credit

People that know me know that I worry out economics and the associated evils of easy credit and consumer debt. I don't worry about it for me 'cause I like to think that I can balance my income and expenditure - this doesn't stop me wanting gadgets and occasionally pushing the boundaries or indeed using interest free credit whenever and wherever I can. In fact, you'd be real dumb not to, so long as you have the cash right now to pay for the goods. I actually worry about people who are misled and almost "tricked" into easy credit because they are the ones who can least afford it and have the most to lose.

If you buy something today that you cannot afford, and you rely on the interest free period to save up for the item, then you cannot really afford it and the chances are you will end up paying interest. You are a finance companies' best friend and you are in the trap. The logic is good but there is no free lunch. If you are happy with this arrangement, then go for it but do the math and check the amount you are gonna pay at the end. If you don't like the numbers, save up your pennies and do what our parents did...wait until you have the dosh.

If you can't afford it now, you can't afford it. Your lucky numbers will not come up. The promotion isn't just around the corner. That wealthy elderly relative who is 97 isn't popping her clogs anytime soon, believe me she is going into the Guinness Book of Records in 20 years time and only then because she fell off a ladder cleaning her windows.

Long term readers of this blog know my story and how much I hate scams and crooks. It is real easy to get done and there are many ways. You think you are smart and it won't happen to you but in reality, sometimes you close your eyes to the truth as you so want to believe in the fairytale ending. If you go into debt for that little thing you just gotta have, don't believe the salesman, he isn't your friend. An example from yesterday:

Me to Mrs R "I really want a Lazy Boy, I just gotta have one, Leather, Mocha Colour, Rocks backwards, footrest - I'm happy to forgo the fridge and vibration thing. I just want MY OWN Chair."

Mrs R "OK. Labour Day sale at Harvey Norman?".

30 minutes or so later

Me to Mrs R "This is the one. Soft enough for me to sink into, yet big enough for me to see the TV with Ms R on one side and Little Ms R on the other". A fact proven by the trial of this arrangement which must have looked interesting to passers by.

Salesman "Nice leather set this. Big 3 seater and 2 Lazy Boys. Reduced from $6,199 to $4,999".

Mrs R "We just want the one Lazy Boy, how much would that be?".

Salesman "Oh. It is on special for the whole package. If you want just the one chair it'd be over $2,500. Its cheaper to buy the whole set."

Me "?"

Mrs R "You can't sell just the one chair?"

Salesman (avoiding the question) "You could buy the whole lot on Interest Free Credit and then sell the sofa and spare chair on Trademe dot com" - never trust anyone in New Zealand who doesn't know that Trademe is a "dot co dot nz" domain - you are either living in a bubble or stupid and do not know to zip up your trousers after you pee. Harsh but fair.

Me "?"

Mrs R "Really?"

Salesman "Oh yeah. I had a friend who bought one like this and he sold it for over $600 on Trademe".

Mrs R "Oh."

Me "?#*$^&% kidding me. NO."

And we left. Now, there is nothing really wrong with this. Actually, it was a nice set but we have 2 lovely two seaters and the point is I just want a cool Lazy Boy. My issue is that there I am with two small children and without knowing anything about me or my finances, this salesman just dangled a carrot with a, when you think about it, ridiculous idea.

I'd pay $4,999 and then try to sell two "second had, as new" items on Trademe with buyer collects. Maybe I'd get $1,000 for the spare seat and sofa, maybe I wouldn't. Either way I'd have a debt of $4,999 and even if I got my $1,000 maybe I could use that cash to buy something else. After all, the debt is interest free, nothing to pay for a few years and by then I'd have the cash, right? Right?

Think I'll follow the Trademe Queen and enter MarthaWorld™. Flog off my genuine second hand hand stuff and just buy what I want with cash......but not from Harvey Norman. Anyone know where I can buy just one Mocha, soft, big leather Lazy Boy at a great price?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Lucky Strike

Every now and again you hit a blog that is so well written and entertaining that you have to read it all and use your little scrolly mouse thingy. I score the blogs I hit on the amount of scrolls I do before the need to punch the "next Blog" button and this one scores well. I am not sure what draws me to it but its portrayal of life and growing up is just bloody great and it made me laugh right through. Well written and one I'll follow, check out I am Lucius Van Dyke III.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Somebody please slap me!

I heard a few jokes yesterday and I can't stop chuckling to myself. Please slap me before I actually laugh out loud - they're not that funny....

A three-legged dog walks into a saloon in the Old West.
He slides upto the bar and announces: "I'm looking for the man who shot my paw."

Our ice cream man was found lying on the floor of his van covered with Hundreds and thousands. Police say that he topped himself.

So I said "Do you want a game of Darts?", he said "OK then", I said"Nearest to bull starts".
He said "Baa", I said "Moo", he said "You're closest".

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Wink to Brena. Random facts about little ol' me:

1. I am scared of spiders
2. I was once a certified Archery Instructor
3. I can shoot but I don't own a gun
4. I used to test make-up from the Body Shop (but not on animals)
5. I have found a source of Legionnaires disease
6. My very first girlfriend was called Samantha Copsey
7. I was once in love with the older sister of my first girlfriend
8. With the exception of me, my whole family have had malaria and nearly died
9. I can't drink or even smell Whiskey without wanting to vomit
10. I have nearly been arrested
11. I simply can't understand people who don't enjoy life
12. I have a fascination with ancient Egypt
13. I suffer from migraines
14. I have abseiled off of the
tallest building in Central London
15. I have had 3 close calls with IRA bomb blasts in London
16. I have badly sprained my left ankle 4 times but have never broken it
17. I spent over 4 hours in an operating theatre in 1998
18. I am very impatient but hide it well
19. I can write software in Basic and COBOL
20. My first words were in
Swahili and not English

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Every now and again I read a story that makes me very sad for the human race. Today I read about the terrible practise of raising bears in China with the sole purpose of extracting their bile. Eh? What the Fu....

Well, what they do is breed bears and then surgically implant a catheter in the bear's gall bladder or actually cut a hole in the bears abdomen through which the bile drips. They then collect this and use it in "traditional" medicines which are supposed to cure fevers, liver illness and sore eyes. There are supposedly more than 200 farms across China with about 7,000 bears .

The bright aspect to the story was that this week, some of the bears got their own back when a keeper was cleaning their cage. As he turned his back, six of the proud beasties decided to have a Chinese Takeaway and try out some fast food. Sadly for the fella, he wasn't quite fast enough as he was killed and then eaten. My only concern is for the future of the bears and my reaction to the keepers death is simply "Good". Full story


Ooh. I've been tagged and I feel so fulfilled! Thank you Martha. I am a creature of habit and only lurk around a couple of blogs really so I'm not sure who I would tag back as my circle is rather limited. I do occasionally click the "Next Blog" button in Blogger but I'm rarely excited by what I find as there is no relevance to my life of someone around the world talking about their dubious boyfriend/girlfriend/work/hobby and so on. Funny really as I do enjoy the same stuff when it is framed in the context of New Zealand and then appears to have some relevance. On the other hand, I love the Flickr explore which I could view for hours - places I've never seen, people I'll never meet and images that are simply stunning.

Anyway, back to the tag.

Here are the rules:

1. Go into your archive & find your 23rd post
2. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to & share the text of the sentence with these instructions
3. Tag five to do the same (if you're reading this, consider yourself "it")

Interestingly, the sentence takes me back to a painful time from which we have moved on (with huge kudos to
Tommy Heptinstall the king of arguably New Zealands' best real estate company, Tommys).

The finance company took over and, due to the extraordinary losses that
they incurred, all of the creditors, us included, ended up with

For those of you interested (and followed this blog from the beginning), the house that the dubious Paul Hewitt, New Zealand Developer extraordinaire, built and which was then hijacked by our friendly finance company, DoneHard, still sits in exactly the same state as it did close to 12 months ago now. The only difference is the subtle green mould growing up the brickwork and the rotting wood. A tragedy really. I feel very sad for the poor residents who are still living next to a war zone.

For the curious amongst you, a small game. The next time you leave Wellington on the motorway, see if you can see the monstrosity. Look up to your left as head out; find the Athfield House on its ridge and look to the left into the next group of houses. You will see a cute little house with a red roof and just to its left is the green rotting carcase of Chateau Hewitt. Fucker.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

You have got to be kidding...

I respect people that do a good job, I really do. People that work hard and get stuff done are a prized asset in my book. Not everyone is perfect but if you at least try hard and put a smile on your face, then you are well on your way to success.

Sadly, it appears that not everyone shares this view. In fact, I think that some people are utterly incapable of actually doing a "good" job in their chosen field. I'm not going to rant but lets take two examples from the last few days.

Number1 -
Purchase of new car for my mother
A relatively simple thing to do and something every car salesman must do every day. Despite being a nice guy, the man who sold us the car made the process quite hard work for us as nothing was done on time and we ended up going between Porirua and Welly several times to finally take delivery of the car late on Wednesday. I gave it the once over today and noticed that the WOF expired in February 06.

This is rather naughty as we had specifically talked about the new warrant as I had insisted on a tyre being replaced that was clearly illegal, even to a layman like me. What's the big deal you say? Well, it is a big No No to sell a car with a WOF that is
more than 1 month old unless the buyer gives the seller a written promise that the car will be driven directly to a garage to obtain a new WOF and the car is sold "as is". I took it back today, wasted 2 hours of my time whilst the WOF was completed (without any problems but that is besides the point), and I still don't know if it was deliberate or just an oversight. I'd like to think it was a genuine error but I wonder how many people don't check these things; it is a small thing but could have been costly down the road.

Number 2 -
My Shitty Problem
So the plumber turned up at 4:30pm on Wednesday. He had the right genes and dug a big hole in no time and uncovered the problem. Fortunately, it was a simple job with a broken clay pipe where roots had grown into the crack and blocked the flow until the whole thing had burst open. He cleared it and then promised to return on the Thursday morning to repair the hole and concrete the base around it. All is well I think.

So today, Saturday, I make the perilous journey down the path to the land of the floating turd only to find a small lake around where the pipe used to be. It appears that he never came back and the open pipe got blocked, filled the pit and a new water feature was formed. Little jobbies floated around and flies were having a merry old time. Displeased I rang the company who don't appear to operate on weekends. Weekend callouts costs are exorbitant so we will cross our legs and flush sparingly for the rest of the weekend lest the banks burst and Wellington is flooded....

Damn it. Do your job and do it right. Everyone makes mistakes but simply not doing something and expecting someone else to fix it up is unforgivable. Rant over. Need to pee but I'm not scheduled to flush until 9:30pm....Oh the humanity....

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Classic Lines

Some lines are etched in our memories forever. They are classics and never fail to trigger a response in most people.

“Houston, we have a problem”
"You're gonna need a bigger boat."
"You don't understand! I could've had class. I could've
been a contender. I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am. Let's face it......
It was you, Charley."
"I'll be back."
"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti."
"Use the Force, Luke."
"He-e-e-e-re's Johnnie!"
"Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me. Aren't you?"
"They're heee-re."
"Roads? Where we're going we don't need - roads."
"Your mother's in here with us, Karras. Would you
like to leave a message? I'll see that she gets it."
"I see dead people."
"Open the pod bay doors, HAL."
"Flying's very dangerous. In 1987, there
were thirty airline accidents. Two hundred and
eleven were fatalities...Quantas never crashed."
“Look, you fools. You're in danger.
Can't you see? They're after you. They're after all
of us. Our wives, our children, everyone. They're here
already. You're next!"
"He slimed me."
"I have a head for business and a bod for sin. Is
there anything wrong with that?"
“I think you have a problem with your drains”.

Actually that last one isn’t from a film but I heard it on Monday afternoon and it had the same effect as the line from Sixth Sense “I see dead people”. Cold sweat, shivers, dry throat. I can hear a strange wizzing sound. It is the sound of my bank account being cleaned out as some enormous hourly rate ticks by and sucks every dollar for miles around like a black hole sucking in light. (Think I may have overdosed on the film lines there and got myself a case of Arthur C Clarkealitis”).

Mrs R and I went investigating yesterday as there is no sign of any problem near our house. The neighbour who alerted us showed us where the water was running down their steps so that was our starting point.

Our house sits a way above Onslow Road in Khandallah. When it was built in the 60’s its address was Onslow Road and there was a long set of steps winding up to the house. We knew where the steps were but they were well overgrown being unused since a new road was built in the 70’s that gave drive-on access. I had explored the path when we first moved in but have never ventured down there since.

Along the path are two white plastic drain inspection holes. We battled our way down through the bush to the first one. Clear. Down to the second one. Clear but oh, joy what timing as a jobby flowed by. So glad Ms R is toilet trained.

Then the steps end. There is a big gap about 25 metres of very mature vegetation and then a sheer drop of about 10 metres down to Onslow Road. This means that we have to use our neighbours’ path through their garden to get to the entrance of both properties that share a common set of steps in the road reserve. We then find a few more steps that go in the right general direction and we start digging.

5 steps later this path ends but there is water running down it. Nothing for it but to fight through from the top which we do with the help of shears and a spade. Finally I find a power pole and around its base is a nice collection of toilet paper and freshly laid jobbies. Eureka. Can’t see any pipes though but our neighbour has now found her boundary plans which have a very detailed map of the layout including the steps (which do actually have a big gap in them), the power pole and the sewage pipes. It appears that the drain runs straight down under the steps, past the power pole and over the drop down to the main sewer. So what we have is a major break between the last inspection hole and the power pole, the area that is a jungle. Nice.

I ring a drain expert company. They are coming today with a CCTV mole (visions of a camera stapled to a mole) to work out where the break is and to patch it up. The helpful woman suggested that to save money we could dig up the pipes ourselves. Sadly, I don’t do digging. I can mow a lawn, fix a fence and paint but I am missing the digging gene. I would lose toes and then I wouldn’t be able to play football with the kids….

The picture below shows the path up towards the house. There is no machine access so some big sweaty blokes are gonna have to dig by hand for which the hourly rate rivals the best corporate lawyer. Damn those genes.

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden
Originally uploaded by Mr Reasonable.

In the land that time forgot, strange animals roamed the forests...

Sunday, October 02, 2005

A Unique Experience

My mother arrived from the UK last Sunday. Not two ways this time. When I say "arrived" I mean for good. She is here, has a visa, and ain't goin' back. The order of events is as follows:

1. Move in with son and daughter-in-law
2. Create havoc
3. Open a Bank Account
4. Buy a car
5. Buy a house
6. Move into new house
7. Baby sit for free forever

I am planning to get to at least number 6 by the end of October.

We have got to number 4 already after a visit to Enterprise Motors in Porirua today. I have been to a few car yards around Wellington in the last 3 years (I think this is a male pastime on a par with visits to Mitre 10 at 4:30pm on a Sunday) and have been universally unimpressed by the lack of any sales ability whatsoever and a general unfriendliness; a sort of "I'm far to busy to even be talking to you, I've got cars to clean and ashtrays to hoover. If you want a car, open your eyes and look around but stay outta my way 'cause I AM BUSY".

But today. Amazing. We were approached by a very pleasant young guy. I felt sorry for him as my mother is not easy to please ([echo on] Understatement of the year [echo off]) yet he offered help, sized up the request and then very efficiently steered her towards the back of the lot to one smart little dark blue Peugeot 306 XSi. Bit old but low (certified) mileage and a nice little 2.0l engine with ABS, aircon and electric windows. Test drove OK and a deal was done.

He was polite, never pushy, informative and humorous. He's been in the job 3 weeks and this was his 3rd sale. I hope to God that he recognises the value of being himself and never becomes a stereotype car salesman, out to fleece the masses......We'll be back to buy another car one day, and we'll search him out.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Apocalypse Now

The Calm before the Storm
Originally uploaded by Mr Reasonable.

It was 1:55pm and all was calm. This is a picture of the play room before the arrival of 11 girls and 1 boy. I could not post the after shot as it is not for the weak stomached and will induce palpitations to those of a weaker disposition.

Through the window you can see the Fairy Castle that became a stronghold and on the floor is the infamous pink dolls house which now has pride of place.

The magician was brilliant and highly recommended (Nigel Kennedy in Wellington). He kept the kids enthralled for 35 minutes and everyone got a balloon animal to take home and a pat of the big fluffy (drugged?) bunny rabbit.

The only moment of fear was the Pinata. I was a bit nervous of whether the kids would feel OK bashing a pink fairy with a big stick. My fears were unfounded as the poor thing got a pasting. She was of stern stuff and was only mildly dented after a few rounds. On to the Mums and Dads then. Through a well aimed blow, she was decapitated by a yummy mummy and all that remained hanging in the wind was a battered head, with no body. We left the head hanging as a warning to all other fairies.....

Ballet Shoe Cake

Ballet Shoe Cake
Originally uploaded by Mr Reasonable.

A steady hand and the precision of a surgeon was required in the making of this cake.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Hooters Employee Handbook

I read a short while back (here) that Hooters was coming to New Zealand. This will actually clean up the industry just a tad as, believe it or not, Hooters are a "responsible employer". Think about it. They thrive in the good 'ole "US of A" where people sue each other for even thinking about members of the opposite sex, yet this outfit actually dress pretty young girls in dinky outfits and allow us sad men to oggle and dribble and dream the impossible. How is this possible?

Drum roll please.....

The Hooters Employee Handbook

Well blow me! (ahem, figuratively please)
This book actually goes into great detail about the ins and outs of a Hooters Girl, right down to the shade of pantyhose (a word I still can't get used to, they are called tights, damnit) and the fact that the "shorts are to be sized to fit" (nice) but not "so tight that the buttocks show" (boo).

How do they get around the hoards of lawyers surrounding those poor girls who are being taken advantage of (or not)? Simple. You sign a cast iron acknowledgement that includes the confirmation that "the Hooters concept is based on female sex appeal and the work environment is one in which joking and innuendo based on female sex appeal is commonplace". Nice words, wonder if they can be slipped into any other contracts....

The agreement even goes as far as to comment upon a famous US case where several men sued as they were specifically excluded from being Hooters girls. The defense argued that sex appeal was a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) - basically put Sex Sells and it is pretty girls that are sexy, not hairy backed blokes.

Sadly in the case of Hooters, they lost the case when the seven men argued that as Hooters market themselves as a family restaurant rather than an entertainment venue for the sex business, their BFOQ defense did not hold up as the venue was not specifically for providing “vicarious sexual recreation” using female sexuality. I can see the conversation with Mrs R now "C'mon kids, we're off to a family restaurant for tea; you stay at home love, I'll take the little 'uns with me. You need a break. Put you feet up. We'll be back when my balls start to hurt, I mean when we've all had desert...."

Hooters ended up paying $2 million to these guys who were denied the opportunity to serve as Hooter girls and $1.75 million in attorney’s fees. They also agreed to create three gender neutral positions which will be highly sough after in Wellington. Dusting off my CV now. I would have hired the guys and made them wear the same outfits and used them in every advertising promo until they got tired of the "where do you tuck your tackle in those little shorts, handsome" jokes.....

Check out the full handbook
here, courtesy of The Smoking Gun. Whilst you're there, subscribe to their weekly newsletter as they get the best gossip and stories.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Little Breeze

I don't mind a wee breeze but I am having trouble writing this as my screen is rocking backwards and forwards as our house is battered by the light wind we have tonight. I am going to puke as I am feeling travel sick sitting here at my desk. I guess it would look like a really cool psychedelic screen saver.....

At least it's not snowing.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Short is bad.

My weekly dose of Dead Guy never fails to cheer me up. Bit like Dilbert which hits home every time.

Life is always better when it's sunny or you're smiling. When it's sunny and you're smiling, well that is just fabulous. When it's sunny, you're smiling and it's the weekend, don't get much better than that.....oh, unless you've got a beer in your hand, or a lottery ticket for $15m. Damn, now I'm depressed as it wasn't me. Back to Dilbert.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Oh the stress...

Planning a birthday party for a four-year-old-to-be takes some serious organisation. I am sure when I was four I just turned up and there was a cake, presents, guests and entertainment. I'm pretty sure I wasn't consulted. I'm certain I didn't have a list of toys stuck to the fridge.

Yet here we are, consulting and bartering with Ms R on the order of play for her big day. The invitation list was restricted to 10 of which there is only 1 boy (poor fella might feel a bit confused for this Fairy Princess themed party) and the menu (can you believe it?) sorted.

We spent some time in the $2 Shop finding things for the goodie bags...GOODIE BAGS? We used to get a lollypop and be happy.....Careful consideration between pink plastic things or some other pink plastic thing.....took some time, such important choices.

Only 2 weeks to go and there is so much to do. Decorations to put up, cake to make (design negotiations were fraught with tension....the strong will of Ms R and the limited skills of us mere parents), presents to buy, garden to do, and on and on.....

The entertainment will be provided by Nigel Kennedy the Magician who is flavour of the month since handing over a balloon animal some months back....a trick learnt from drug dealers I believe, first hit free.....We saw him on the InterIslander last year and he kept about 40 kids quietish for most of the trip - quite an achievement really.

So wish us luck. The planning phase is almost over and soon we will be into the delicate execution phase. Mrs R and I fear for our jobs as we're sure to be fired if we screw this up. We understand that Ms R has put Little Ms R on a retainer so even our safe vote has been turned......

Monday, September 05, 2005

Sweetcorn Gag

Sweetcorn Gag
Originally uploaded by Mr Reasonable.

Isn't that the weirdest thing. I chew but still....

Pumpkin Gag

Pumpkin Gag
Originally uploaded by Mr Reasonable.

Just made me giggle a bit.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

HMNZS Wellington

September 2005 009
Originally uploaded by Mr Reasonable.

Took Ms R on a trip around HMNZS Wellington (F69) today before they sink her. Only a real small part of it is open to see (nothing below deck which is a shame) but pretty neat and a brilliant idea to make a home for the fish.

Good genes....

A few months ago, sometime in late June I think, I was at Tumble Tots with Ms R when she pocked her finger into the hole on the left knee of my jeans. She made some comment about it at the time and I said something along the lines of I must get a new pair soon.

Mrs R asked me last week if I had suggested a Fathers Day present to Ms R as she was very insistent about what I wanted. I vaguely remembered talking about slippers a few weeks prior but other than that nothing. Mrs R went away looking confused.

So all became clear this morning when I unwrapped a new pair of Levi 607s to replace my old pair with the hole in the knee. Ms Rs ability to recall such conversations and her determination to surprise me put a lump in my throat. I expect this pair will have a hole within weeks as it is the scrabbling around on the floor with puzzles, playing horses or having to sit on the floor ('cause someone is laying across the couch) that is the root cause. Still, worth it for moments such as these.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

It's a Boy!

Good luck to Martha today. I hope your little Bambino does his funky stuff and delivers primo goods all day! May your nozzle be clean and your steam free flowing......

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Rescue Me!

Ms R has had a beautiful Dolls House since she was about two. It was bought by her Grandparents and is a lovely wooden house with wooden doors inside and wooden stairs, all lovingly crafted.

At first, this was the most loved toy but sadly, as Ms R got older and refined her tastes, it has been ignored. This is not because she doesn't want a dolls house. Quite the opposite really, as every trip to the Khandallah Toy Library usually results in us dragging a large plastic monstrosity home.

When questioned, Ms R had the simple one liner of "But it's not pink". Can't argue with that as it was a lovely shiny white with a brown roof. Very stately I thought, but clearly I know nothing of taste.

Anyway, whilst hanging around in Mitre10, where every man worth his salt spends at least a few hours each weekend, I happened to walk down the paint aisle and a can of bright pink spray leapt into my arms. Luckily I caught it along with a can of black spray and some masking tape.

Several nights later and a few surreal moments with a naked Kylie Minogue (you really shouldn't spray that stuff in an enclosed workshop) we have a delightful pink house with a glossy black roof. Well, the desired result was achieved and the neglected toy now has pride of place again and we can hopefully go back to smaller items from the Toy Library...

My Pink Palace

My Pink Palace
Originally uploaded by Mr Reasonable.

Rescued from the back of the toy pile...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

No More Pricks...

Ms R had her last MENZB jab today. She proudly rang me at work to announce that she had been to the doctor and got her certificate and that she was never having another prick again. As a protective Dad, that is fine by me!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Order your copy today!

Originally uploaded by Mr Reasonable.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Essential tools for a happy life...

As you know, I am obsessed with the perfect coffee. It isn't just the beans, the grind, the milk and the throthing that is important. One of the most critical parts to blending that sweet nectar is the temperature.

Often overlooked, it is vital to ensure that not only is the brew itself at the right temp, but that the cup itself is pre-heated. Most modern machines have a wee dial that ensures that the actual espresso is delivered at the right temp but this is no good unless the cup is not cold. I recommend nice thick stainless steel cups as these heat up nicely and hold their temperature well. The new machines have a warming tray but I find a short blast of steam does the trick.

Secondly, the temperature of the milk is just as important. It is no good getting the coffee at the right level and then adding boiling hot or luke warm milk. Some are experts at measuring the temperature through the jug but not I. Me? I use this clever little gadget, pictured above, that clips to the jug and has a shaded band when the milk is at between 60-70 degrees c (that's 140 to 160 degrees F for old school). This ensures that you get the perfect blend of hot coffee and hot milk which can be immediately gulped with no fear of scolding. $20 at The Home Store and worth every penny.

It's all in the details....

Essential Coffee Tools

Essential Coffee Tools
Originally uploaded by Mr Reasonable.

...and Daddy Bear said "This Coffee is too Hot"....

Monday, August 22, 2005

What's Up Pussy Cat...

What's Up Pussy Cat...
Originally uploaded by Mr Reasonable.
Signed up to Flickr, at last. Just thought I'd post this cute fella as I think he (she?) is the coolest beastie around!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Ultimate Cult

New Zealand is a truly great country for many reasons. One of those is simply freedom and it has this in common with a lot of other nicely developed countries. In this modern age it is hard to imagine living in a regime where freedom of speech, or freedom to just go about your business without being contantly monitored (in the style of 1984), is not permitted but it does exist. I am not talking about Mugabe or other such African dictators; they've got nothing on this guy.

I'll give you a clue. Juche (pronounced "Joo-cheh"). If you want control, then this is the country for you. This is a government that indoctrinates the entire country and whilst it is almost impossible to really know what goes on behind the borders, the spoutings of the Korea News Service (KCNA) give you a good idea that all is not quite right.

How about this for a crystal clear stance on defectors:

If there be any, they are just a handful of hooligans and criminals who are not in a position to look up at the clear blue sky over the country with an easy mind for the crimes committed against it and its people. It is hard to expect to hear anything from such human scum and we, therefore, do not care at all about whatever nonsense they talk.

But it gets better. My personal favorite is the story demanding that South Korea immediately demolish the 240km, 10m high wall that separates the two countries down the entire width of the Korean peninsula. There are some obvious issues with this. Taking down the wall would take time and cost a lot of cash and would, in theory, leave South Korea open to invasion. However, the biggest stumbling block to removing the wall is that it simply does not exist and never has!

Read this and other great propaganda from the master cults at a new site, NK News, which has painstakingly catalogued the entire KCNA database and, rather handily, put a nifty search tool in there. The wall story can be found under the "Hall of Fame" and it is a laugh a minute. If you think Helen Clarke can spin, you ain't read nothing yet.

Sadly, people live their lives without knowing true freedom and in absolute poverty and there ain't a damn thing we can do about it, especially with that damn wall in the way...

Dead Guy

Don't forget to check out this weeks' Dead Guy here.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

You're Beautiful

It's been a day of discoveries for the Reasonable Clan today.

Discovery Number One was finding out that little Ms R has absolutely no fear whatsoever. I took her to her first Tumble Tots class at the Nairnville Recreation Centre and boy can she climb, and climb, and climb....

Discovery Number Two was taking Ms R to the Dinosaur Sand Pit at Te Papa to dig for bones. I planted a small wooden box with some chocolates and a few dollars in it whilst she wasn't looking and, low and behold, she found some buried treasure. [Mrs R is a tad pissed at this stunt as she will expect it every time but, well, it was worth it to see her face].

Discovery Number Three was finding out that Mrs R is actually looking forward to my mother moving to New Zealand in September bringing free baby sitting and, hopefully, some free time to do things on our own. I was set for war and Grandma R is "challenging" after a few days, let alone forever.

Discovery Number Four is the best. I heard a song a few weeks ago and thought it was simply stunning. I promptly forgot the name of the singer until perusing my old vinyl record collection this afternoon and picking up the 12" extended version of Never Never by
The Assembly, a song so stirring that it instantly takes me back to 1983 and laying on my bed dreaming of a girl called Sandra Mace, my first real bona fida girlfriend.

Fergal Sharkey was the vocalist with Vincent Clark on keyboards; Clarke was an amazing musician and I followed his career through Depeche Mode, into Yazoo with the incredible Alison Moyet, and on into
Erasure with Andy Bell. I remember when I first heard this new track I thought of Fergal and how distinctive his voice was and how distinctive this new guy was too. And then a little door opened in my head and the name James Blunt popped out.

Now he is a new artist so I reserve judgement on his absolute ability but I predict he will be huge. A sad song yet....well, watch the video for yourself
here. I'd be curious to know what you all think. One hit wonder or rock star in the making?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Well this is weird

I am at a loss for what to do. Mrs R is out at a Creche Committee meeting and won't be home 'til late (they are celebrating finally getting resource consent to allow the kids to go outside after two years) and I have put both kids to bed (teeth brushed and faces washed) and they are fast asleep....and it is only 8pm.

I am tempted to sit in front of the TV and vege. I have the box set of Series One of
Blakes Seven. 13 episodes over 5 DVDs and all as fresh as the day they were made. I used to love this programme (5th most popular cult show apparently) and it will be kind of weird to watch it after so many years. I had the hots for the hardcase Servalan and the erotic goody-goody Jenna (her of the Bee Gees style clothing and hair) and used to want the namby pamby Vila to get shot or at least maimed. Cynical Avon was a legend at my school and was far cooler than Blake. Sadly David Jackson, who played Gan, died last month aged 71.

Gonna cook up some popcorn, get a cold beer put on a silver spandex suit and get down to some serious Liberator action....might forget the suit in case Mrs R comes home unexpectedly..... she might mistake me for Mork from Dork.....

Monday, August 01, 2005

To write or not to write...

I'm thinking of writing a children's story book. Like many parents, I have learnt the fine skill of making up stories on the fly by blending well known stories together to produce somewhat abstract mutant variants of the originals.

In my version of The Three Pigs, the wolf is arrested at the end for attempted breaking and entering and locked up with his Grandma eating cousin from Red Riding Hood. This all started when Ms R began to confuse various stories and started to tell me goodnight tales to put herself to sleep. Some are just plain bizarre and best not to delve too deeply into her (nearly) 4 year old head. Lets just say that The Three Bears were seriously pissed at Goldilocks and she won't be eating their porridge again.

All good stories start with a cracking good first line; half the battle is picking that vital paragraph and I was reminded today of the infamous "It was a dark and stormy night" from the novel "Paul Clifford" by Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton. The context was from the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest where budding writers look to create the worst possible first paragraph of an imaginary book.

This years winner, will appeal to petrol heads everywhere:

As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands,the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual.

Oh, yes baby.

Some of the Children's Literature awards are a good example of what to avoid. Get the full run-down

For those of you into bad sex writing,
these awards will make you scream with pleasure or make you vomit. Either way, this will give you a taster of the dross on display:
The Food of Love by Anthony Capella

She felt strange and wild. Her body was just a collection of organs. She was blood and plumbing, like any other creature, and there was nothing that was forbidden about any of it. She gnawed on Tomasso ravenously, like an animal plundering a carcass, and when she had had enough of that she swung her leg over him, like a rider swinging into a saddle, and galloped.

Religious Rant

I respect peoples choice to worship whatever deity they like, but I think the Lord would find a better way to communicate than via a tree or a marble statue if He (or She) was of a mind to.

Wet my pants again at Dead Guy this week.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Ski Bunnies

We survived. No broken bones. No dislocated joints. All in one piece. Our first visit to the ski fields of this lovely country were a success, mostly.

Ms R had a great time and has discovered the joys of sledging. Well the joys of riding down with someone else to pull you back up the slope anyway. Damn, I felt old after the 7th trudge back to the top. Poor Little Ms R was not so keen; being so small, she felt the cold a bit more and the gloves and scarf didn't keep her too warm. Looks like she might become an Après-Ski expert.

Ms R was a natural though. Despite some initial difficulties standing up, once she mastered the balance thing, she was in her element and I see many years of snowy fun ahead...and many dollars spent on fashion and kit.

We had a great time eating out in the little restaurants and taking in the spectacular scenery and just living without any boring lifey things to do - no cleaning, no dishes, no jobs around the house......bliss. Nice for Mrs R and I to stop and take a breather together.

On the way home, we diverted around the mountain to the rather cool Tongariro National Trout Centre where the kids fed the fish to many giggles and shouts of "Nemo, Nemo" and then to the Army Museum at Waiouru. I am not keen on guns and killing but the museum is excellent and details the horrors of war with blunt facts and poignant displays. Not one to wish to expose my kids to death at such an early age, I was a bit hesitant but through their eyes they only saw big trucks, men dressed is silly hats and ammo boxes which Ms R insisted were treasure boxes.

The car journey was, as expected, noisy but the colouring books and the purchase of two mid-sized Magna-doodle rip-offs from the $2 Shop were a Godsend (thanks for the idea Martha). They fitted neatly into my coat pocket and appeared magically at meal times along with colouring pens and sticker books for instant calm for the 43 minutes or so for lunch or dinner. After that magic time, all hell breaks loose so the secret is to get as much conversation done before the food arrives and then chow down like a dog in silence with the occasional nod until the plates are clean. The arrival of Ice Cream Sundaes buys at least 8 minutes, enough time for a coffee and to collect the small pile of discarded food from around the table.

The highlight of the return journey was Levin. There is this enormous childrens adventure playground with some modern clear toilets (very useful if you arre travelling with small bladders). Well worth the stop and just broke the journey enough to get home with no bloodshed in the back seat.

We were blessed with dry days and some great clear skies and arrived back to the monsoon season in Welly. Shame, too wet to get those house chores done and I'm back to work on Monday..... Nuts.

"Let me just get my breath back". Posted by Picasa

"Pull, Daddy, Pull, ALL the way to the top this time."  Posted by Picasa

Turoa Rocks. Go Go Go.... Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

3 Strikes and you're OUT...

On my way to work this morning I walked past the cafe where I had a bad coffee last week and felt guilty for having avoided them and for making a snap judgement of the new barista. Bit harsh I thought, so in I go and order my Latte.

Looks promising. He's acting confident. Turning knobs. Concentrating. Throthing. Pouring. Oh shit. There is an art to the pour. There is a girl at the airport who has a great pour; she makes great shapes in the top which amaze me. I have never mastered that fancy pour and guess they learn it the day prior to graduation from coffee school - a secret passed on from Coffee Master to wannabe barista.

I'm now nervous. I hand over my cash and walk away. Hmmm, cup feels a bit hot, maybe overcooked this one I think but nothing prepares me for the full horror. I delay the first sip until I am at my desk. I don't want this day to start badly.

Bastard. This is one of the worse coffees I have ever had. I contemplate pouring it away and actually having a vending machine substitute. The guy is a butcher I tell you. All that stops me is the fact that this stuff costs more than petrol and I suffer along, a martyr and sad addict, hoping against all odds that the next sip will be better. Bitter disappointment and I shall not return. My patronage is now firmly to a Mojo supplied vendor down the road. Period.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

If music be the food of love...

Music used to be very important to me personally. It still is important but with two small children, our car journeys consist of either Barney or other such delights and that is where I used to do most of my listening.

I was a late 80's teenager but was heavily influenced by my older brother hence my early drift into the Indie music scene and such great bands as Wonderstuff, Inspiral Carpets and some of the more commercial, Tears for Fears, EMF, The Farm to name but a few.

Well, I had a conversation with
alan a few months back and he mentioned an album "Ruby Trax" where some old number ones were covered by such great bands as The Farm, EMF and all my fav groups. Weird - maybe I had my head in a hole but I must have missed this baby coming out and I've had a copy of the best tracks sitting on my desk for a few months.

Both little R's have been ill this last week and so slept most of yesterday giving me some time to do things for myself, in between delivering treats and stuff to them. So I finally got around to listening to the tracks and Whamo, a step back in time.

What a priceless collection - you haven't lived until you've heard Vic Reeves doing Vienna. Other gems include The Mission with Atomic, Johnny Marr & Billy Duffy with The Good, the Bad and The Ugly and a favourite group of mine, Tears for Fears with Ashes to Ashes.

Tainted Love by Inspiral Carpets is a great mix, with fuzzy guitars and genius drums and is only topped by the synth pop of The Farm and Don't You Want Me Baby and the surreal Marc Almond and Like A Prayer....freaky.

Best track? Hard to choose as they all carry it off in their own way...even EMF with Shaddup You Face. If pushed I'd vote for Ride and The Model as I remember trying to play this on a little Casio VL-Tone, my first (and last) keyboard. I have the original 12" and this version captures the original but with something else...

I found this great web site where the history of music is mapped out with demos and great explanations. Try House/Synthpop if you want some late 80's early 90's energy - I spent a lot of time bouncing around in here - pretty impressive and well worth a visit.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Primo Coffee for everyone....

I had a terrible experience this morning. There is a new barista at the café on my way to work and he is not too accomplished yet.

As you know, I am a fair and reasonable guy and I am usually very tolerant. I'm happy to wait in the queue at the supermarket if a newbie is being trained to use the till, I'm even happy in most restaurants if it is a new waiter suffering a bout of nerves. I remember the worries of that first job and let the occasional extra few minutes off my life slide by, or the chip dropped on my lap get brushed subtlety onto the floor like it was nothing.

But damn it, this is serious stuff. This is not something you mess with. Go to Barista School and get qualified before you try to completely ruin my day or at least practise like the rising coffe baron,
Martha. Do not go near those knobs and buttons with your clumsy fingers before you are a pro. That $3.80 is precious to me and the bitter disappointment lasted the whole day up until a visit to a Mojo supplied outlet by the heroic half-pie brought me back to life and shut up my whingeing.

I read this article this morning. It basically says that many US offices are now providing gourmet coffee for employees and are seeing a lift in productivity. Sounds good to me. The only odd thing in the article is that is uses Starbucks as an example of primo coffee. Well, I guess even a turd looks good to the constipated....

Monday, July 11, 2005

Sleigh bells ring are you listening....

Being from the UK, snow for me means Christmas. For Mrs R, Christmas is a beach in Nelson and BBQs but she still sends Chrimbo cards with snow on them... never quite worked that one out....

Anyway, we are off to the snow. We have booked a little getaway in a lodge near Ohakune and the little R's are very excited as they will see their first ever snow. To them it will be a proper winter experience. To me it will bring back memories of snow drifts and traffic chaos when the first flake used to hit our little village. The trains would grind to a halt and school would be closed. I would walk down Sheepscoat Lane in our village as there was a big hill at the end and guaranteed drifts. My friends and I would build snowmen, snow houses, sled on cardboard boxes, have great fun and then go home cold and hungry. I only experienced this from my teens (having grown up somewhere hot up to then) so had to pretend it didn't interest me after a few years. No cool teenager made snowmen so I might have missed out a bit here.

Having kids allows me to indulge so I shall be going nuts in the snow. I am looking forward to the girls reactions and will pull out that trusted "never eat yellow snow" line, that made me laugh as a kid, and then struggle to explain it. A couple of good snow ball fights and then to dinner with a roaring fire.

It is nice to have a holiday planned. The drive there might be hard work so we shall print a pile of pictures to colour from and we have our trusted Bad Jelly the Witch CD ready.

The fabulous Google Earth gives us a flavour of what to expect. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Let them eat cake...

Every time I walk past a Subway I get drawn in by the smell of fresh bread. What a great marketing ploy as it never fails to get my taste buds going.

Well it got me thinking about bread machines today and whether they are any good or whether they are another gadget that gets used every day for 3 weeks and then finds its way to the back of the cupboard (to join the electric can opener, weird vegetable slicer/dicer thingy and other such essential items).

I asked Mrs R and she looked at me funny with that "poor innocent child" look she gives when I am about to do something stupid. You know the look. It means go ahead, jump off the swing and discover the pain for yourself. I could tell you it'll hurt but you'd jump anyway so I'll just give you "the look", instead of the "I told you so" later.

What to do. Anyone got one of these beasties and are they any good? More importantly, are they easy to use and can they clean themselves? I dream of waking up to the smell of fresh bread and perfectly formed buns (bet that'll get me some interesting Google searches...)

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Superextenderbulbchangerer

I've never been very good at DIY. I try hard and muddle through but the results are mixed.
But today I am so proud. Call me King of the Bulb changers if you will.

I was faced with a problem similar to the immovable mountain.
A real high ceiling with a spotlight bulb in the middle that had blown. Now I have a ladder (what self respecting DIYer doesn't) but when put against the wall, there is the small issue of about 2 meters of void between the wall and the bulb. I toyed with the idea of Mrs R holding it upright whilst I climbed but she wasn't too keen on that, so what to do?

And then along came a genius (thanks
Brena) who suggested a pole with a suction cup. Well, it took me some time to get up the courage to make such a complex device but the satisfaction of building a supercomputer is nothing next to my smug smile as I pulled it off. Take one shower pole (the extending type), one No2 Pencil, one sucker (stolen from an angry daughters window toy) and some sticky tape. Put it all together and you have the Superextenderbulbchangerer.

This device can be rented at a modest fee!

Things to do with a pencil and some sticky tape.... Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Is this the magic moment? Posted by Hello
Do we hear the gentle tip-tappy footsteps of a new addition to the family?

"Daddy, why is he sniffing the other bears butt? Did she make a parp?" Posted by Hello

Monday, June 27, 2005

Dead Guy

I have a twisted sense of humour but I am not alone.

I religiously go back to this site as he is right on the mark.

His drawings are of US characters/politics but dang he's funny. He is Dead Guy and he is dead funny. Check out his "Bad" strip of Jackson and his lawyer and the New Pope Part One and any of the very many Bush ones. I guarantee chuckles at the very least.