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.