Friday, December 26, 2008

Visiting Gran

I spent the couple of days before Christmas visiting my New Zealand grandmother. I like visiting Gran, I really do, particularly now that she's on improved medication and is much chirpier and active than during my last visit. But there's this thing that really bugs me. It isn't that she forgets multiple times of day where you've come from and when you're going home - she usually has who I am nailed, which is actually an improvement over much of my extended family, or at least was in the past when I resembled my sister much more closely. It isn't that she's fussy over food, or from time to time will lock her houseguest into the granny flat at the bottom of the house during her just-before-bed shutdown procedures. Oh no no no.

It's sitting watching TV with her in the evenings. I kid you not, she changes channels every five minutes. Just long enough to be somewhat interested in the storyline, but never long enough to actually find out what's happening. Bah!

Christmas Bling

I don't often wear jewellery, but on some occasions it's almost mandatory, such as on Christmas Day having been presented with rose quartz earrings by one's sister:

They make me oddly nostalgic, actually. When we were very young our grandmother, who lived in South Africa, would most often send us presents of semi-precious stones set into bracelets that she'd made herself.

Regarding bling of a very different kind, my sister has also been producing her own limited edition Christmas Book. (Literally producing, as in selecting the material, editing it, and binding it herself.) It comprises a selection of roughly five years of both of our writing output, and she says that I can have a few author's copies to give away on my own account. Would anyone like a copy, of the 'would really be interested' variety, rather than the 'nod politely because they're friends but stash away somewhere and not look at' variety. We appreciate the latter sort, because they're polite, but more interested in providing Xmas goodies to the former. It has a range of material: short stories, poetry, fairy-tals, one short-film script and some essays. Much of it is very good indeed, and the rest of it is by me. :-)

Finally, a complimentary picture of Macca doing Macca type things:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Day Out

Repton has once again been hurling himself into the grass, this time at a tournament in Christchurch, and I spent my day pottering around having fun.
- going to dancing practice at the Medieval Guild and being a test audience for the play that they'll be performing at the Harcourt Park Joust in January;
- nice lunch at the Aro St cafe with a couple of members of the aforesaid Guild;
- biking around the bays as far as Cog Park - the eponymous giant cog wheel doesn't seem to be back yet, alas;
- wandering around Te Papa - I thought about looking at the colossal squid they have, but the queue was quite long, so I settled for peering at the display case from the partition;
- gelato on the waterfront.

There were many people out swimming, or paddling, or riding tandem bikes, and just generally enjoying the sun. It's been a nice day.

One of the interesting things - at Te Papa they had a 3d animation display of what they thought Big Squid's life was like, which was neat. Here's the thing, I'm quite amblyopic (posh word for saying my brain ignores the input feed from one eye because it has a very different focal depth) and under normal conditions I don't think about things like depth in what I'm seeing. But in some conditions, like in an Imac cinema, or looking at some pictures with technical tricks giving the illusion of perspective, or today at Te Papa, I get the feeling of knowing that things are nearer or farther just by looking at them, I don't have to work it out from size and movement. Is it like that for most people all the time? Gosh.

Move is just about complete bar hanging pictures and making myself laundry bag. Macca the Cat is now officially Allowed Out, although is having problems getting up the nerve to venture outside anytime she thinks that bouncing around staunchly insisting how brave she is might actually result in being exposed to Other Cats Looking At Her. Right now, she knows where the cat door is, and what it is, but is mostly using it as a toy to bang her paws against. No, wait, she's finally wormed through it now. It's unlikely that she'll be out long. Silly cat.

EDIT: And she just faced off one of the neighbour's cats trying to come in. Might have to think about undisabling the cat door magnet and making her wear a collar.

Total cycling distance: 18.8km, spread over about 6 hours with lots of distractions in between.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Oh for Heaven's sake.

"The Government is considering passing a law overriding Eden Park's consent process because of fears it will not be ready for the Rugby World Cup."

OK, so in the extremely short time that we've had the new government officially in power they have:
1. Overridden the Pharmaceutical Management Agency of New Zealand's decision making by literally bypassing their provision of pharmaceuticals and making the Ministry of Health do it instead;
2. Shoved through an extremely serious 90 day probation bill under urgency without any select committee scrutiny;
3. Is now talking about passing a law to overrule the Environment Court and High Court, for a rugby game.

I don't care how big a deal the World Cup is, this just isn't on.

Dear John Key, for Christmas, what I'd really like is some due process and accountability in government - you can keep my two front teeth.