Wednesday, November 17, 2010

28 - A drawing

Hmmm, so, I am not an artist.  A writer perhaps but not an artist.  I was planning on scanning in a very basic primary school-level sail boat, but today I actually have something I almost like.

I doodled it while in a lesson on The Laws Of Armed Conflict.  You know, rules of engagement, Geneva convention, war crimes kind of stuff.  (I'm not showing off that my work is awesome, at all.  Honest.)



Here 'tis.  Incidentally, the cover on the pad which I drew this on states that the pad is a:

FIELD MESSAGE BOOK
(For the use of officers and 
non-commissioned officers)

This book is ruled in 6mm squares.

Ah the military!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

26: A Picture From One Of The Greatest Days Of Your Life

This is all getting a bit too silly.  I don't actually have a picture of the night I went to bed when the family were staying with Nan and Grandad in Christchurch and I went to bed only to find the toy stuffed snake in there which I just wanted and wanted and WANTED and now it was MINE forever and mine for real, and noone else's and it was mine and I will call him Max.

So here's a photo from the day the RNZAF Women's Cricket team finalised their undefeated tour of the English Services Tour of 2010 by winning the match against the RAF.

Interesting Perspective

From my good friend:

came an interesting article from stuff.co.nz about one of the New Zealand Defence Force's Policies.  Click here to read it.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

XXV - One Of Your Most Prized Possessions

"One of..."  Well that's lucky, at least it is not expecting me to pick a favourite this time.



Oh.. and just because I haven't strictly stuck to any of these challenges, here's a second of my favourite possesions:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Twenty-Four: Something Embarassing In Your Room



Yes.  I paid money for this.

I'm not proud of it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Endie Agrees to an Interview

The following questions were pulled from someones journal on Deviant Art.  My OC (original character) Endie agreed to answer them.
She was fairly brusque during the interview - I'm pretty sure she wanted to get back to her family and household shores.

1) What gender are you?
Female

2) What is your age?
Getting on now.  Forty-ish I think.

3) Do you want a hug?
Not from you thank you.

4) Do you have any bad habits?
My family and friends tell me I'm too suspicious of people.  My Uncle and Sister would tell me I'm too trusting.

5) What is your favorite food?
Coffee.

6) What is your favourite ice cream flavor?
I don't know what that is.

7) Are you an ass?
No.

8) Have you killed anyone?
Many times.

9) Do you hate anyone?
I have in the past, but not at the moment.

10) Do you have any secrets?
Everyone has secrets.

11) What is your favourite season?
Spring, when everything is fresh with new life.

12) Who are your best friends?
When I was a child my best friend was my sister Dawn.  Now it would be my husband Sebastian, and then my friends Hannah and Ellen.

13) What are your hobbies?
I don't really have time for hobbies. I do like to keep fit.

14) What is your favorite drink?
Coffee.

15) When is your birthday?
That is irrelevant.

16) What age did you die?
I do not plan to die anytime soon.

17) Are you nice or mean?
Heh, I'm mean on the outside, but I'm one of the good guys.  (Endie's manner is not particularly reassuring on this count.)

18) What do you think of your creator?
Uncle L and Cara? As to the former, well I kinda love the old man.  But the latter - I have no time for her and her meddling ways.

19) What is your weakness?
Chocolate.  And my family.

20) How long can you stay under water?
Longer than I can float.

21) What do you do on a regular day basis?
Get up, go through my drills and exercises, cook breakfast, get my children out of bed and fed, make sure they do their chores, go to work as a cook at the tavern.  Eat lunch at the smithy with my husband and children, go back to work, come home, school my children in reading writing and maths, cook dinner, get them to bed, relax with Sebastian.

22) Do you love someone?
Sebastian.

23) Does that person love you back?
Of course.

24) Do you like me?
I neither know you or trust you so what do you think?

25) What do you consider fun in the day time?
Fun?

26) At night?
Drinks with friends.  Going to bed with Sebastian.

27) Do you like meatballs?
Depends what spices Aunt Sadie has been growing for me to put in them.

28) Do you like Chef Boyardee's meatballs?
I don't know who that is.  Stop wasting my time.

29) Are you gay?
I'm not generally a merry person, no.

30) Say that you were trapped in a closet with your lover for 2 days straight. What do you do?
That depends.  If someone else trapped us in there then most of those two days would be spent trying to get out.  If we trapped ourselves in there to get away from the children then we would do every damn position we could think of.

32) What is your place of origin?
Mesocaronia.

33) Large or small family?
I was born into a small family, but Sebastian and I have bred rather a large one.  He also has quite a few relations.

34) Who are your parents?
Darkcloud and Geoff.

35) Do you have a ipod?
One more question like this and the interview is over.

36) Piercing/tattoos?
None.

37) Is this quiz over?
You're getting close.

38) Do you like cats?
Cats are fine.

39) Whats your lucky number?
There's no such thing as luck.

40) Whats your favorite color?
I guess I like blue and green.

41) What color are your eyes?
Hazel-green.

42) Quick! Someone kissed your love! what do you do?
No one would kiss Sebastian.  They are too scared of me because they know physical violence is my first reaction.

43) What is your favorite type of music?
The Old Songs.

44) No one cares about you...
That's unlikely.

45) Where do you want to be right now?
Safe with my children.

46) What are you in your Love's opinion?
A hard but loving woman.

47) You just walked into a room with 2 people having sex what do you do?
Depends who they are.  Probably apologise to them and step back out again.
Or take advantage of their distraction and complete the job I was there for.  That's theft or death if you were wondering.


48) What do you do for a living?
I am a cook.

49) You are in jail what do you do?
If I broke the law I would wait it out.  If I am unfairly incarcerated I would attempt to break free by any means at my disposal.

50) Wanna party with me?
No.

51) This quiz is over...
Good.

30 Day Challenge Number 23 - Favourite Music Video

Is this Challenge kidding me?  Favourite Artist, Favourite Song, and now favourite music video?  Have I not made it clear enough that I love too much music to have any one favourite?

Fine... random video which came to mind:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Attention Test

1.  Please wait for the ENTIRE video to load COMPLETELY before starting to watch it.

2.  You need sound ON.






:-)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Long Term Challenge

Okay, so my 30 thingie challenge is slow going.  I blame you, dear readers.  Think of it as a non-violent vicious circle.  If you comment I will post more.  The more I post the more you'll want to comment.  Please?

A friend told me he sees a blog as a one-way thing.  Where I put up my thoughts and you read them.  But I don't want to preach!  I want to be involved in discussion!  Make comments on my posts and I will reply, lets talk about things.  All sorts of things.  "Oh this reminds me of [link]"  "It was more like [this] when that happened to me."

Otherwise it's just an exercise in self-promotion.  Blah blah blah.



----------------------------------------

I have another goal, and this is more than the 30-day challenge which is for kicks.  This is for my growth as a photographer.  It's going to take a LONG time, and I will keep coming back to this post to update links to the photos.

Here it is:

100 Theme Challenge list:

1. Introduction:
2. Love ...  here
3. Light
4. Dark
5. Seeking Solace
6. Break Away
7. Heaven 
8. Innocence
9. Wolves: 
10. Daylight
11. Memory
12. Elements
13. Protection
14. Smile
15. Silence
16. Questioning
17. Blood
18. Rainbow
19. Gray
20. Fortitude
21. Vacation
22. Mother Nature
23. Cat
24. No Time
25. Trouble Lurking
26. Tears
27. Foreign
28. Sorrow
29. Happiness
30. Under the Rain
31. Flowers
32. Night
33. Expectations
34. Stars
35. Hold my paw/hand
36. Precious Treasure
37. Eyes
38. Abandoned...  here
39. Dreams
40. Drive
41. Teamwork
42. Standing Still
43. Dying
44. Two Roads
45. Illusion
46. Family
47. Breathe Again
48. Childhood
49.Stripes
50. Breaking the Rules
51. Sport
52. Deep in Thought
53. Keeping a Secret
54. Insanity
55. Waiting
56. Danger Ahead
57. Sacrifice
58. Kick in the Head
59. No Way Out
60. Rejection
61. Fairy Tale
62. Magic
63. Do Not Disturb
64. Multitasking
65. Horror
66. Traps
67. Playing the Melody
68. Hero
69. Annoyance
70. 67%
71. Obsession
72. Mischief Managed
73. I Can't
74. Are You Challenging Me?
75. Mirror
76. Broken Pieces
77. Test
78. Drink
79. Starvation
80. Words
81. Pen and Paper
82. Can You Hear Me?
83. Heal
84. Out Cold
85. Spiral
86. Seeing Red
87. Food
88. Pain
89. Through the Fire
90. Triangle
91. Drowning
92. All That I Have
93. Give Up
94. Last Hope
95. Advertisement
96. In the Storm
97. Safety First
98. Puzzle
99. Solitude...  here
100. Relaxation... here


-------------------

Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

21A ~ Favourite Shakespeare Quote

FOOL: ...We'll set thee to school to an ant, to teach thee there's no labouring i' the winter.  All that follow their noses are led by their eyes but blind men; and there's not a nose among twenty but can smell him that's stinking.  Let go thy hold when a great wheel runs down a hill, lest it break thy neck with following it; but the great one that goes up the hill, let him drew thee after.  When a wise man gives thee better council, give me mine again; I would have none but knaves follow it, since a fool gives it.
    That sir which serves and seeks for gain,
        And follows but for form,
    Will pack when it begins to rain,
        And leave thee in the storm.
    But I will tarry; the Fool will stay,
        And let the wise man fly:
    The knave turns fool that runs away;
        The fool no knave, perdy.
KENT:  Where learned you this, fool?
FOOL:  Not i' the stocks, fool.
                                                  King Lear Act II. sc. iv.

I had to provide the full segment of conversation between Kent and the Fool because the quote is useless on its own.  Kent was put in the stocks because he lost his temper around Oswald.  He called Oswald:

" A knave; a rascal, an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch..." (Act II. sc ii.)

After Kent started wailing on Oswald he was put in the stocks for his behaviour and this was where King Lear found him upon arrival at the castle.  There was some discussion about his position (on his arse with his legs in the stocks) and the Fool lectured Kent on not losing his temper when no others can see the fault, but instead following the ways of wise men.  That's the first part the Fool says at the top.  My favourite quote is the Fool's answer to Kent's scathing question of "where did you learn this, fool?"
What a brilliant come-back.  "Not i' the stocks, fool."

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Number Twenty One: Favourite Movie Quote

I'm not really sure that I have a favourite movie quote.  My friends and I are quoting movies all the time.  In fact most of our conversations are in movie quotes really.  So I'm just going to put up a damn good one.
I bet you'll be able to pick the movie.


"Do I look like a cat to you, boy?
...Am I jumpin' around all nimbly bimbly from tree to tree?
Am I drinking milk from a saucer? Do you see me eating mice?
You stop laughing right meow!
Meow, I'm gonna have to give you a ticket on this one. No buts meow. It's the law.

...

Not so funny meow, is it?"

Sunday, August 29, 2010

XX - A 10+ Year Old Picture

Recruit Course Steyr Phase.  

Let's see if I can remember everyone's nicknames:
Wheels, Reedy, Aides, Cletus, Cray, Wally, Wolfy, Fenton, Youngie, Yace, Pricey, Skatie, Randy, Sez, Peanut, Andy McNabb.  The other's didn't really have nicknames and I don't want to put their real names up.  So there you go. 
I'm crouching down, second from the right.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Raquel Welch: Space Girl



Wow. What fantastic luck to come across this gem over at Topless Robots. Checking it out on YouTube led me to a very well-done remix, which includes the same visual element with a different song. I'm impressed with the timing. Can be found here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Thingie Number Nineteen: - Something Which Made Me Smile Today

My bike has been sitting in the garage all winter, so when I tried to crank it up the other day for a possible ride the battery was flat.  I've been meaning to connect it to the car for a week or so now, and today I finally got a round tuit.  So I smiled when, after 20 minutes, I finally got the beast rumbling.




---



Another thing which made me smile was watching an episode of Doraleous and Associates from the Escapist Magazine web page.  This particular episode was called Hero Punctuation and included a parody of another video series which features on the same site.  It's all in-house jokes really, but it cracked me up.  It's a great site.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thing Number XVIII - Favourite Board Game







Who killed Dr Black?







For some interesting facts about the game, visit this link.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

17: A Childhood Picture of Me

This is the only one I actually have.  Everything else is safely stored with my Mum.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Grounds for Divorce



My friend recently introduced me to a group called Elbow. I'm sure you may have heard of them already, and a couple of days after our discussion I discovered I already had a copy of their song Fallen Angel.
Anyway, although the song featured in the video above is not typical of the rest of their work, I do love the album it comes from - Seldom Seen Kid

All this introduction to Elbow and discussion on blues music and whatnot spurred me to tune my guitar and make a little more practice.  The chords for Grounds for Divorce are (apparently) Dm, C and G - all of which I can play (w00t).  Unfortunately the song isn't really one for an acoustic guitar so it only works when accompanied by the song itself, and even then comes out feeling a little too upbeat for the general tone.  Nevertheless I took the guitar in to work (since we'd been having a quiet week) and mucked around a bit with the song, the chords and with Dave, who can actually play.  The upshot of all this is that Dave has taught me the starting notes to the 12 Bar Blues.  I'm really thrilled to have learned the first part of this awesome and versatile piece and once I've mastered it I'll be keen to move on to the next part.
Unfortunately, while my guitar has a great natural sound to it the neck suffers from high action. This is where the strings sit quite high off the frets due to an exaggerated bend in the neck.  Because the strings are steel and my little finger is quite little and not very strong, I struggle to get the strings pushed onto the frets firmly enough for a clear sound.
Apparently I can alter the action of my guitar by adjusting the bend in the neck.  On the surface this is something a techie like me can easily accomplish.  Remove the covering plate at the top of the neck (3 phillips-head screws) and use an allen key to adjust the bend in the rod which runs down the centre of the wooden neck.  The downside of this is that after every *small* adjustment the guitar needs to be re-tuned and tested before the next adjustment so as well as the hand skills with a screw driver, I need a good ear and at least half a day.
I might get into it this week sometime.

The Physics of Magic

I am currently developing the mechanics for magic in my story-world so that it (and the magicians who use it) acts as a believable system which is governed by reasonable rules.

The easiest way for me to do this is to apply the laws of physics.  So... I take the basic premise that the world/universe is made up of two forms:- Substance and Force, and further break substance into Matter and Energy.

I initially decided to have magic as being simply a form of energy which complies with the energy conservation law (energy cannot be added or subtracted, only transformed).  Physics tells us that during energy transfer, Work is done. The products of Work are Heat, Light, Sound and Motion.  So I can see that Magic-as-Energy is a believable system, I'm just adding a new form of energy to the pool.

Keeping magic as simply energy - or only energy - opened up the question of how a person can purposefully manipulate that energy to generate the required form of Work.
Enter Magic-as-Force.
Force is applied to Substance to alter its shape or the way in which it is moving.  It can be represented as pressure, acceleration, turning and momentum.  So what if a person has the innate aptitude to apply a force to magical energy in order to produce the desired work?

This, for me, has opened up a fascinating and almost limitless world of possible ways in which magic can be represented, manipulated and harnessed.  It cannot become a Deus ex Machina used to simply override plot problems because the magician can only use it according to the laws of physics - the most important one being the Law of Conservation of Energy.  I have an amazing range of detail and potential for this concept, ideas which I don't want to put on the 'net because I don't want them stolen.  I'm actually a little worried about putting this much up.  But then not that many people visit my 'blog so I think I'm reasonably safe.

I'd like to know what you think of the concept, and how you would apply it.  But be careful - I am a hypocrite and I am likely to steal your ideas for my own use ;-)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

15 + 16 = 31. Does that mean I'm done?

15: Current Grades
Awesome.  I'm cleared for promotion and have finally enrolled in my introduction to massage courses.
Horrific.  I have failed my fitness test and been kicked off an exercise as a result.



16: Future Tattoos
Something involving a gecko, perhaps.  Or Ouroboros - but not a circle on a flat piece of skin.  I want the snake to circle a limb, but I'm not sure which just yet.  Also I'd like something with the three Gaelic words for Serenity (suaimhneas) , Courage (misneach) and Wisdom (gaois), probably within a Celtic motive of some sort.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fourteen: Favourite Purchase Ever Made

This one is easy.  My Bowers & Wilkins B&W604 Speakers.




Worth NZD$6,000 , and I paid NZD$2,600 - ex-floor demos from Stereo World (so they were already run-in).

They sound so beautiful.  I can't stand mini-systems and home theatre now.  They're just not the same.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Number Thirteen: Favourite Memory

I don't think I have the ability to sift through all my memories in my life and pick a favourite.  But here are a bunch along the theme of 'home' which includes the land of Mesopotamia (New Zealand) and The Tui Station, and my family.

---

The sound of the Nor'West wind roaring through the trees which surround the playground.  We are trying to play scrag rugby but we can't hear each other because the wind is so loud.  We hope we get to see one of the trees being blown over.  We abandon the scrag for a desperate competition to catch leaves.  The grass is green and the trees are brown.  They rise so tall above me, they are like the edges of the world.

---

Us four kids riding double and bareback on two of the horses.  We're going to the river to swim and lie in the sun.  This morning we watched Dances With Wolves, and now we are giving each other 'Indian names.'  The horses are labelled "Dappled Ears, Shits A Lot" and "Farts A Lot."  My sister's is the only name which sticks - "Deceitful Family Relations."

---

The feel of warm mud giving way to cool between my toes as I stand in the creek at the bottom of the hill.  The summer day is warm and the air is for once thankfully still.  It must still be the morning - a weekend - because the wind isn't up yet.  The hills are golden and the grass is green.  The sky a magnificent blue.  I feel sheltered by the mountains.

---

Me and my sisters and brother, Mum and Dad, ten o'clock at night in the middle of winter playing Mafia.  We're laughing, laughing so hard!  Play acting, deceiving, tricking, convincing, every one of us determined to win the game.  No television, no radio, just us. Just fun.

---

My sister and I dancing to ABBA's Mamma Mia after watching Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

---

The tailing gang.  Slow, boring, hard work.  But fun when everyone has to tell a story or make up a joke.  Laugh together when the lambs knock someone over, drink billy tea together at smoko time.  Six people vs. two lambs.  The lambs win.  We'll pick them up again when it's weaning time.

---

Kate Bell has to keep Fella the horse cool every night.  When it's not too cold for us she rides him bareback down to Deep Creek.  We go too.  Toby loves getting into the water with his ears forward and eager steps.  Fred isn't so fond of it, but he'll follow the others just to make sure they don't leave without him.

---

Mum, Dad, Mel, Ju, Adrian, Me, Andrew, Marian, James... it's the last weekend we will ever be at the farm. Vodka, baileys, beer and rum bottles litter the huge oak table.  We've played Mafia again, we've laughed at each other and with each other.  It could be a sad time, but it's the best time.  We talk about lists of things we should do before we die.  We take photos.  We find old B&W's of Mum and pretend to be her.  We drink more, we laugh more.  We love.  We are family.  We are home. 
This is my favourite memory.







Sunday, July 25, 2010

Jesus Saves







... and only takes half damage.


(A little RPG humour.)

Original here.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fearless Eggbert’s Lion Drome


Stolen from Cracked.com article: The 5 Most Badass Things Ever Done By Jungle Cats (#1)

The Twelfth Thing - Where Your Family Is From

On my Mother's side:
England, Scotland, Guernsey, Germany, and in New Zealand: Wellington & Christchurch.

On my Father's side:
Ireland, England, and in New Zealand: Mt Somers, Geraldine & Mesopotamia.

I grew up on my father's farm called "The Tui" Station, near the head of the Rangitata River in New Zealand.  I lived there from age zero until I left school and joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 2001.  The station was sold about the middle of 2009.  Check out the sales pitch and amazing Youtube video here.






I still watch it when I'm lonely for home.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thingie Number XI - Recent Picture of Yourself

It would be approprite, I think, that for Number XI the picture should be from my recent cricket tour.
But which one?  I have no action shots from the games because no one took them of me.  More correctly, no one took many of me while I was playing and the ones which were taken didn't come out well.

So instead here's a picture of me and the wonderful Hayley (Kia Ora Hails, snaps!!) in our No 1's after a crushing defeat of the Royal Air Force.

My New Desktop Background



Nick are you able to tell me why this scene is a mirror image?  Your earring is in your right ear, which I'm pretty sure is the wrong ear...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The iPod Touch and My Love-Hate Affair

First of all, call it an Ipod, for fucks sake that's just basic spelling rules.

When they first came out, I hated them.
When they'd been around for a while I hated them.
When they were so damn common you were actually a bit weird if you didn't have one and insisted on purchasing and using a real mp3 player, I hated them.

Then came the Touch.

Damn you Ipod Touch.  I still hate you.
... but I am listening to you right now, as I have been for the last few days and will continue to do so for many many more.



When I first looked at buying an expensive, quality mp3 player I did a little bit of Internet research.  I used websites like CNET and their reviews (both user and professional) to establish which mp3 player provided the best quality music, the easiest interface and the most effective battery life.  Guess which one of the three the Dreaded Apple has?  In most - but not all - it's the second.  (The other cases it had 0/3 qualities).

I decided the best choice for me was the Creative Zen.
This little beauty carried 16GB of songs, could hold photos and videos too, record voice, was solid state, had exceptional battery life and took SD cards for expanded memory.  And the sound quality was brilliant.  By the time I had bought a pair of Bose In-Ear buds, I wasn't going to settle for anything less. 
I was shocked - shocked! - that most of the user forums compared the Zen to the Ipod and nothing else (obviously there is no other mp3 player except the ones from Apple), and that the reviews were all about the interface, menus and portability.  I mean, sure, these things are all important - cos if they're crap you're going to hate using your player.  But in about 70-80 comments, all of which I read, one mentioned sound quality.  Surely if you're planning on spending a lot of money on a sound machine that would be important... wouldn't it?  Obviously not.
Anyway, when my trusty Zen finally died on me after years of faithful service, I bought the next model.

Same quality music, a slightly more stylish case and wi-fi capable.  Still a little beauty and it has served me well.  I have never had a problem with it, and like its predecessor I could selected the 'hold' button to turn off the screen, and the battery lasted.  It lasted! It played music for me for more than 14 hours flying across the world.  Beat that!

Cut to dreams of PDA meets PSP meets Cell Phone all in a sexy touch screen bundle, and I thought I might like an iPhone.  Or an Iphone, as I like to write it.  Looking for both sense and encouragement I sent out a plea for help from my friends asking if I should or shouldn't.  Thankfully I listened to the voices of reason and didn't waste my money.
Only to waste my money a couple of months later in the Boxing Day sales with a The Warehouse staff discount generously offered me by my cousin.  I bought the Touch.  "Not for music." I vowed.  "Just for all the.. other stuff."

What other stuff?  I find myself asking.  Stupid little fill-in-time-games which cost me at least $1.29 ea (or the free version for no money and only 30 seconds).  Applications which are about as useless and gimmicky as the Touch is in the first place.  "But it has wi-fi!"  I told myself. "That'll come in so handy on your travels!"  Only if you actually have the passwords to all those wireless networks floating in the air all over the world trying to piss you off.  Oh, and it died before I made it to the UK even though I wasn't really using it.

So I tossed my Touch in my bag and forgot about it.
Meanwhile...



Yeah that's right baby.  The touch-screen version of my favourite high-class mp3 experience.
Sadly, although it cost less, it was in fact much more a waste of money than the abomination in the title of this post.  It just doesn't get the touch-screen thing down-pat and still suffers from the same lag you'd find in a fitted touch-screen accessory placed over your computer monitor.  Also, the hold function and screen unlocking mean it takes me more time to get into the music menus to change the song or the volume or simply turn off the player.  The music quality is its usual crystal self, but the battery life is disappointing.
I hated to admit it, but I like the functionality of the Touch.  I like the touch screen and the music menu system.  I like using Dice Shaker when playing RPGs with my friends.  I like being in the kitchen and looking up BigOven to find a good recipe for dinner.  I like playing Dungeon Hunter and Monster Trucks Nitro 2.

I bit the bullet.  Creative blew it, and I started up Itunes.  It's not the most comprehensive media player in the world, but it's not the worst either.  I enjoyed making up a few playlists, getting the album art and syncing them up.  Okay I didn't enjoy the process but the results were cool.  I admit to also liking all the album art stuff all to prettily displayed on the touch screen.  Even as the wallpaper on the unlock screen.  I listened to it a while as I was helping weed a friend's garden all day on Saturday and with the Bose earphones it came out okay.

I have since plugged it into my McLaren stereo and I have to say I was sorely gutted with the outcome.  The music is clouded and lacks depth.  When it is playing super quiet so as not to wake Ginge in the bedroom next door at six o'clock in the morning it is okay.  But at times like tonight when I have it playing at a reasonable volume while bitching about it on the Internet it makes me cringe.  I have tried playing with the equaliser which seems to have sharpened the sound, but it is still very two dimensional.  Teddy Thompson sounded too poppy and not folky enough (the acoustics couldn't compete with the synthetics), and Chely Wright sings out on the same plane as her music and backing vocals.

Yet here I am, still listening to it.

Because I love the Ipod Touch, even as I hate it.

Ten

My Favourite Outfit.

...  my favourite outfit???

                                               are. you. serious?


I have one word for you:

No.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Number 9 - Favourite Flower

My mother's favourite flower is the Arum Lily, and I don't blame her.  There is something pristine about the Arum.  Its petals so pure, the simple elegance of form and colour...


Arum Lily by ~floramelitensis on deviantART

As for myself, well I've never paid a huge amount of attention to flowers.  Maybe it is the tussock-land I grew up with, or my father's love of grasses and NZ native shrubs & hebes.  I don't really know.  I like the look of a pretty garden, but I don't go to gaga over one.  For a gift of flowers I suppose I like bold colours, and budding roses are certainly very lovely.



But when it comes to pansies... well I just love them.  They have such a remarkable range of colours and beautiful faces in every flower. 


pansie by ~bubblemagnet on deviantART


Pansie by ~photoquilter on deviantART



Sometimes it looks like there's an old man with a massive beard in the flower, and sometimes it looks like the silhouette of an angel.  Sometimes the petals have one pattern on the inside, and a ring of colour around the outside too, and sometimes they seem to be all one colour until you look closer.  I love all pansies, but my favourites are the darker-than-dark shades.  The blood red's and deep purples.

My absolute favourite is the pansy of a purple so dark it is like black velvet.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

8th Thingie - Pictures of my Room

WTF?

Alright then...

The wall wouldn't look so bare if the paint on it was strong enough to hold up the poster of Corpse Bride.  That shit fell down in the middle of the night.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Critical Head Blow

The table-top role playing game system GURPS (General Universal Role Playing System) is a system which provides rules for any conceivable action, possession or ability a player can think of.
Tonight Blair thought of ramming his virtual boot into the head of the NPC (non-player character) which was lying on the floor at his feet.  He rolled his dice and succeeded so well that our Game Master had to refer to the Critical Head Blow table.

Sometimes a vivid imagination is lots of fun.  Sometimes it's best not to share.  No matter which it is, GURPS has an answer.

Lets just say the sound of the cracking skull was featured in the Game Master's cinematic desription of the poor man's death.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thingie the Seventh - Favourite TV Show

This is a hard one because I actually don't watch a lot of TV.

When I was staying with my sister in the UK she got me hooked a little on two shows - Outnumbered and Ashes to Ashes, but the appeal of neither of these shows followed me home.

I like Comedy, so my favourite shows number from that selection.  Family Guy, Black Books, Black Adder etc.




Outside of comedy a friend has gotten me into Dr Who which is great stuff, but at the moment I'm still reliant on his generosity in order to see any of it.  I should really ask for some for my birthday or something.



I think my favourite TV Show is probably Green Wing.










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Monday, June 14, 2010

6th Thingie - Favourite Song

My God!  I had enough trouble coming up with a single artist who I rated above all others.  It's not like Enya really is my absolute favourite artist, it's that that I was forced to pick one  from them all.  Now I have to choose one song from thousands?  Can I say every song is my favourite?
I'll just give you the one I listen to the most at the moment.  It's a sad little number which makes me cry.


Like Me - Chely Wright

Without your glasses, you just plain can't see,
your favourite colour - for the most part-  is green,
you're close to your Gandma on your mother's side,
you can count up on one hand the times you have lied.

You won't eat a tomato on a double-dog dare,
you don't think you're a beauty, but you do like your hair,
you're complex and tricky, yet some ways you're not,
you're up some, you're down some, you're cold and your hot.

Who's gonna end up / holding your hand? /
A beautiful woman / or a tall handsome man
and there's no doubt / they'll love you /
but it's yet to be seen...
will any / one ever / know you like me?

Will anyone ever know you like me?

You like planting flowers, that's heaven to you,
crack open a beer when your planting is through,
you'll paint all your toenails if you had the time
while listen to Willie, Dylan and Pride.

Who's gonna end up holding your hand?
A beautiful woman or a tall handsome man?
and there's no doubt they'll love you
but it's yet to be seen...
Will anyone ever know you like me?

Will anyone ever know you like me? 

You'd rather make out than make love all night,
you like if your bath is too hot,
your closet is cluttered with dress-pants and levis
that you wish you'd never bought.

Who's gonna end up holding your hand?
A beautiful woman or a tall handsome man?
and there's no doubt they will love you
but it's yet to be seen...
Will anyone ever know you like me?
Will anyone ever know you like me?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Number 5 - Favourite Food

Chicken, Italian, pasta, mushrooms, cheese.
Mum's roast mutton, Mum's roast chops, Mum's Yorkshire pudding, Mum's chicken casserole.

Pumpkin.

Homemade chocolate sauce.  Real vanilla ice cream.  Hokey-pokey ice cream. Cookie dough ice cream.

Cups of tea.  Brie. Tim-tams. Girlguide biscuits (with cheese).

Bread.

All of these are my favourite when I'm eating them.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

4th Thingie - Favourite Book

It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I am a big Fantasy geek. You know the kind - swords and dragons and the like. On occasion I will try out a sci-fi, and in those I mostly enjoy the Young Adult works of New Zealand author Ken Catran.


There are two main Fantasy authors who I admire and whose books I simply love to read.  The first I found was Mercedes Lackey who sometimes co-writes with her husband Larry Dixon.  She has two main 'worlds' in which she writes - the 'Valdamar' books and the 'Bard' books.  I prefer the first.  Her books are an easy read without being too light and have enough of both depth and length to keep me satisfied.  She tends to write in trilogies which nicely splits up what would otherwise be an epic for each character's story.  Her sets of trilogies require a timeline in the beginning of her books in order for the reader to appreciate the book's place in the time line, but each set can pretty much be read on its own.  Lackey apparently pumps out about four or five books a year so it's pretty surprising that she achieves a decent read.  She's well written and I enjoy her tales.  I am trying to collect the entire Valdemar chronicles.



The other fantasy author I'm enraptured with is Robin Hobb.  My flatmate first lent me the Liveship Traders trilogy and I am so very glad he did.  For years I have seen her books in the Sci-fi & Fantasy sections of the bookshops and have never been interested in giving her a go.  Talk about judging a book by its cover!  Hobb's tales are masterful tales which use the plot not so much as a driving force as a backdrop to intricate and competently written character development.  People I started of hating - wanting to shake them, slap them, smack them - turned out to be some of my favourites; and people whose side I took themselves take steps which were logical and believable according to their characters, but which I did not see coming.  Hobb is also a talented writer, and I have to admit that in many areas she outshines Lackey with little to no competition.  I began to read to my sister from the middle of the third book in the Farseer Trilogy and I actually had to hide the book from her so that she would not read the end before she had read the beginning.  That's how good Robin Hobb is.


In the area of non-fiction, well... I don't really read non-fiction.  But I do enjoy reading the travel novels by Bill Bryson and love my copy of A Short History of Nearly Everything.  I also love my Reverse Dictionary, does that count?

I also read a lot of rubbish.  I read trashy novellas and stories on the internet.  I pick up $2 fantasy novels from the second hand book store and put up with poor language skills and un-artistic writing for the sake of the gripping plot.  I think my writing is similar to this b-grade stuff but I'll keep working on it.  The more I read the more I should be able to see what won't work.

I like Mills & Boon (etc).  Forgive me if you feel you have to but they are also an easy read and I like the tension, the expulsion of the tension, the character interplay and, yes, the sex scenes.  (Why deny it?)  But I wouldn't say that anything from Mills & Boon is worth reading twice.  And that's what it comes back to isn't it?  Is that the real definition of 'favourite' ?  Something which is enjoyed over and over again without tiring of it?  I suppose it is... I just never thought about it.  I do really enjoy Ken Catran's novels, but I can't say I really read them more than twice at the maximum.  Some of Mercedes Lackey's works are worth reading many times - but not all of them.  To be fair though that's probably true of most authors.  Hobb I will definitely read again but since I am still going through her work for the first time I cannot yet include her in the running.  As an author she will definitely be included in my list of favourites.  Non-fiction... sorry, it just doesn't cut it for me at the moment.  Maybe one day when I'm older.

I included the Mills & Boon 'romantic fiction' up there because it follows the same basic framework of what is my favourite book.  This book (which hopefully both my Loyal Followers will have guessed at already) is a very typical story which follows the standard romantic fiction structure.  There is a girl and a boy.  The girl hates the boy with a passion and the boy is slowly but surely falling in love with the girl.  The boy expresses his love but she rejects him cruelly, (and the reader would be forgiven for thinking that she has really burned her bridges there).  But they are thrown together again by fate and circumstance (mostly circumstance), and the girl begins to realise the boy is really quite dashing and wonderful and perhaps she could like him.. just a little bit.
Then fate sideswipes them this time and something prevents them from ever being together.  This is the point at which the girl realises the boy is really the only one she could ever love.
Fate is left out of it at this point, although the girl doesn't know it at this stage.  The boy does everything in his considerable power to overcome the obstacle between them - not knowing for sure if it will even bring them together.  When she discovers what he has done she starts the conversation which brings them together forever.  Hurrah!
Have you guessed it yet?
What sets this romantic novel aside from trashy fiction is not just the depth and character development of both the main characters, but the side plots and stories, the rest of their families and acquaintances, the interaction between main and supporting cast I mean characters and the free-flowing and natural seeming dialogue of an intelligent and witty young woman and a man who won't be goaded.  I read it again and again.  Every time I am gripped by the tension.. each time I pretend I am she.  I pretend other characters are able to listen into conversations and wonder what their reactions would be if they had.  I wonder who I would be and how I would know them if I were in the book too.  And my heart never fails to ache and break when that ultimate moment comes.








This book is possibly only surpassed by this one:


(which has all of that and zombies)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

3 - Favourite Musician ... Part Two



I dropped in to Marbecks today with the intention of buying some Chely Wright.  The country music section is small and mostly filled with the Big Names, and none of her albums were there.  As I was browsing I recognised the voice in the song being played by the store.  Holy Shit, I thought, that's The National!

The National are a band I would never have heard of had I not embarked on The Chuck Bartowski Project in which I attempted to collect every song from every episode of every series.  It was a fun project, and The National was the best thing to come out of it.  Two of their songs have featured on Chuck, Fake Empire and Slow Show, both from the album Boxer.  I acquired Boxer soon after and it has been an album I cannot get enough of.  Their songs are sad and draw me in to them.  When listening to The National I hear nothing else.  Bryan Devendorf's drumming is magnificent, he sets a primal beat to which the rest of the music is tied but not enslaved.  Matt Berninger's lyrics and husky baritone bring the melancholy depth and soul-rending heartache to the music, but the drums are the heartbeat and create a power to the music which is undeniable and is gracefully supported by the rest of the music.

When I went up to the counter and asked the girl (already knowing the answer) "Is this The National?" I was rewarded with a pleased and impressed smile from her as she discovered there was another who knew good music (har har har).  She explained that she was playing their new album, and that she's already listened to it twice today.  Also, she felt it was a little more upbeat than their previous albums.  I exclaimed and made sure not to let on that I'd only been exposed to one of their albums.  As she handed over the cellophane wrapped cardboard CD case of High Violet she asked what I thought of The Editors.  I hadn't heard of The Editors and told her so.  She offered to put them on the listening station for me.  As much as I wanted to hear them I turned her down - I had to get to Newmarket.  But she put their name on a recommendation card for me and I left the store with High Violet and Norah Jones' The Fall.  Still no Chely Wright.


Anyway, I'm listening to The National's new album High Violet as I right this post about who I will finally label as My Favourite Musician.

I've noticed that the kind of music we love is heavily influenced by the kind of music we grow up with.  That's not an exclusive list by the way - we all branch out.  But I grew up with Suzanne Prentice, Patsy Riggor, Dean Martin, Cliff Richard & The Shadows, The Seekers, Foster and Allen, Simon & Garfunkel, Elaine Paige, Burl Ives, Jim Reeves, Credence Clearwater Revival, Roger Miller, Buddy Holly, The Beatles et al.  I still enjoy a great deal of their music and the genres they emerged from.  I prefer Radio Hauraki to The Rock because the rock music they play tends towards those older styles.  Over both those stations I prefer Coast 105.4 because I like their music better still.  (and the DJ doesn't love himself)
During recruit course and primary trade training, my best friend was one Emma Boughtwood.  Emma was also a big music fan, and there was a lot of music we both loved to listen to.  But there was no denying her mother's love of rock and metal was what steered her towards the same.

During my life, my love affair with the above names and the musicians I have come across since has waxed and waned. For example I've rediscovered Roger Miller very recently as I sang and played a great deal of his songs for my new niece.  But throughout my life as other genres and other musicians have come and gone from the prominent place in my soul, there is one 'musician' who has remained in place.  Unlike movies, music is easy to listen to over and over again.  Sometimes we suffer overkill, and sometimes we just grow bored or grow away from artists as we mature and become more complex creatures ourselves.  Sometimes phases in our lives fade away and the music with them.  There is one who has remained a steady influence in my life - inspiring day dreams and stories, making me want to dance, want to cry, want to be lonely, want to be a heroine, want to embrace the strength and bravery and loyalty which is being presented.  Each album is unique and brings with it an individual atmosphere and yet each album is undeniably by the same genius.  Some pieces I like more than others, but the only song of Enya's I've heard which has not moved me is May It Be.  Of all her albums, I believe the only ones I do not own are A Box of Dreams and her latest The Very Best Of Enya.



Did you know Enya is actually made up of three people?  Nicky Ryan, Roma Ryan and Eithne Ní Bhraonáin (sometimes Anglicised to Enya Brennen).  Eithne composes the music, and plays all the instruments herself.  She and Nicky arrange the songs and then they are passed to Roma.  Roma Ryan writes the lyrics, and she was so inspired by JRR Tolkien's invention of a language she created Loxian for the lyrics in Amarantine.



When Roma is done writing lyrics (and the names of the instrumentals are often taken from failed lyrics for those pieces) Eithne returns to the studio and sings them.



I can't really describe the way I feel about the music of Enya.  Only that she is always there when I need her, and I always need her to some degree.

Friday, June 4, 2010

3 - Favourite Musician ... Part One

I have something of a reputation amongst the leadership at work for being a girl who will step up to a challenge and out-perform my own expectations.  To be fair, it's not difficult to exceed my expectations of myself, because they're never very high in the first place.  I constantly feel as though one day someone will realise I'm bluffing and my work-world will come tumbling down around me.  On the other hand, there's a level of conceit in that isn't there?  To think that someone would pay that much attention to the inner causes behind my success and that the ruination of that success would domino into the work-lives of the people around me.
Anyway, I'm rambling.  My point was going to be that I have this reputation for accepting challenges yet for all that I despise challenges.  I somehow manage to revel in the brain gym they provide while shying from the responsibility and requirement to perform.  Without extrinsic motivation I not only shy away from challenges, I show an indolent indifference to fulfilling them.  So... what started out as a 30-day challenge taken from Calvin's Cave of Canadian Coolness, turned very quickly into an I-can't-be-bothered-putting-in-all-that-work.  I didn't even think anyone was reading it - that it was just me being a bit narcissistic (well I have to do it somewhere now that I've left Facebook) and ranting on to the metaphorical sound of my own voice.
So I'm sorry Nick and Rachie - my two loyal followers - for not giving daily answers to the 30-day challenge.  I shall instead do the 30-thingies challenge which affords me a lot more time to accomplish the same task.  Laziness be mine.

I therefore present thingie number 3, my favourite musician.


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I currently legally own approximately 150 or so albums on CD, forty four second hand albums on LP (plus one brand new) and thousands of songs which I have obtained by other means.  I don't listen to them all, but I have listened almost all of them.  Except some of the music in the folder named From Jonesy. And some stuff Casey put on my computer.
What kind of music do I like?  Better to ask what music I don't like.  I don't like much in the way of metal (heavy or not) although some mainstream Metallica is okay.  I used to announce I don't like hip hop, but as the lines of D&B, R&B, hip hop, rap and other genres merge, intertwine and compete with each other, I find myself admitting that I like a fair amount of individual songs from those areas too.  I'm deeply affected by music.  I can - and do - use it to deliberately alter my mood, and I am most profoundly affected by melancholy songs, and songs in the minor key.  Music with a strong and lively beat makes me want to dance - I have trouble listening to it if I cannot dance.  Sunday Hangover Music (you know the stuff I mean) helps me to relax.  When I am angry I listen to The Cranberries' Zombie then immediately follow it with No need to argue.


New albums I listen to over and over until I know all the words, then I discard them for (up to) years, and listen to them again with fresh ears.  Now knowing the words I can focus on the instruments, and my ears listen to different parts not only each time, but throughout each listening.  Sometimes the beat, sometimes the strings, the brass, the chorus and back-up singers... It's not really possible to listen to the whole of the song at once, but I strive to have heard every contribution at some point in the music.  And for the whole of the music.
I hate the radio.  They ruin music with advertisements and talking.  Radio DJs should be banned.

How can I nominate one musician from so many and say This One.  This Musician is better than all others.  Nick made me listen to what Lily Allen was singing, and I have discovered a great respect and, yes, love for her lyrics.  Lady Gaga is growing on me, but mostly because she makes me want to dance.  My sister gave me an album by Paolo Nutini (makes me think of a jawa) which I love because he is so varied; fast, slow, happy, melancholy... I am listening to him a lot.




Fleetwood Mac are also infinitely varied and wonderfully complex.  There is a depth and vivacity to their music which constantly challenges me as a listener and provides healing to the soul.  There is another, one who isn't classed as a musician but deserves an honourable mention - Mantovani.
A. P. Mantovani is more of an arranger... he would take popular music of his time and arrange it to be played by an orchestra.  Some of his works include: Speak softly, love; The Candy Man; Cabaret, Love Theme; Upstairs, Downstairs; Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps; and Catari, catari.  He has made wonderful adaptations of music I might well have never listened to otherwise.


I'm not going to continue rattling off names of musicians I love.. I am going to nominate a favourite, but you'll have to wait for part two because I have to get to work.




PS, please do comment.  Indulge my ego...