[d3v0 lifeblog]

A blog of the newly hedonistic d3vo.

2009 Things

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Things to do in 2009:

Massage Course

Do the mid year massage course at the Wellington School of Massage. It is a 3 weekend commitment plus homework and other class stuff, and I have to buy a table.

Computer Languages
Learn some Lisp, it looks like it is the language I am starting to think in after dribbling over the edges of Java. Lisp in a strongly typed object oriented style as opposed to Lisp in a dynamically typed functional style, but Lisp none the less. I'll probably start here and here.

House stuff
Flooring and outside corner caps, that should blow some g's while I save up for a bathroom. Make or find a trivet for my fireplace.

Business Stuff 1
Build a faceless keep-time to get an interaction style interacting. Then try out some faces and graphic styles, to see what fits.

Business Stuff 2

Talk to the Ponoko guys after I get my fit rig test code going, see if they will do templating of saleable algorithmic designs.

Dance Stuff
Make a dancing matt and dance it in with my lindy crowd. Buys some lindy and balboa videos from here and here.

Trivet, Trug, Sorrel

Trivet
I asked my grandmother lots of things over Christmas including 'what kind of device do I need to be able to cook things over my fireplace in the winter, it has no hanging hooks.'

Here answer was to describe a certain kind of trivet. Trivets in general are things you put hot pots on, but the trivet itself is not heating device. Metal patterned placemats count as trivets by this defiition.

She showed me her fireplace, it has a built in swinging trivet, a little metal platform built into the grate that swivels over and away from the fireplace to allow you to cook things in normal pots, no hooks required!

I'll have to figure out how to make one, time to visit a foundry again for the first time in a decade.

Sorrel
While fixing a Christmas night salad for myself and my grandmother I wandered through her garden. She introduced me to a new perenial herb, sorrel. She claims hers is perennial and French.

Sorrel is delicious. It is flavoursome and savoury. It is long leafy leaves that tast a bit like subtle tomatoes. I have seeds.

Trugg
I recounted mr_storysmith's story of looking for a trugg. Nana agrees that they are difficult to find and says she just uses a flat woven basket instead.

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Post 464!

The Temporal Void

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Finished reading The Temporal Void over the weekend, part two in a three part series by Peter F. Hamilton.



I feel that Hamilton's storysmithing abilities have taken a noticeable leap forward with both this and the previous book in the trilogy. His ability to suspend disbelief and to convey emtions in his characters is improved, as a reader I feel closer to the action than with his other books.

The Void gets expounded quite a bit, I kind of feel like a definition of it is enclosing on a kind of inverse moral hazard for people a bit bored of the normal constraints of the universe.

The book is very very good, but not quite as good as the first part in the trilogy however. A four out of five stars read.

Virus Free, Again

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My laptop had a virus, briefly. I really should get around to replacing my router to something that Ubuntu can talk to propertly.

Barbequed Cousins

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I barbecued with my cousins on my fathers side today. It was nice. Cooked for eight, lazy slow barbecuing.

We passed a rugby ball around, played some petanque and lazed in the sun. Good stuff. The first of a yearly tradition, I hope.

Foodie Wellington Walking Tours

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Care of stuff, here are links to two foodie walking tour companies, perfect for entertaining out of town guests, I hope.

Zest Food Tours of New Zealand
Wild About Wellington

Wooden Spoon, not this season

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We ungalantly avoided the wooden spoon this season by playing a small team of young girls and beating them this evening.

The evening was mint though, the grass wood soft but not slippery after the morning rain. It was a warm, very still and sunny evening, almost no wind.

Lindy Saturday Night

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Dancing on Saturday was good, we had about 50 people by my count turn up, which is a good number. I danced fro 8 till 11:30 with a good break for bring a plate goodness.

My plate of chocolate and strawberries disappeared pleasingly. My favorite was the supermarket layered sponge cake with mock cream, I love that stuff.

Went through my pile of mail this morning and found my check from the IRD, a refund, perfect timing for me to buy a new fridge, mine is dying.

Melbourne Bits 2

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A shop called universal-ent.com had really giant, really cool mega-salad-bowls the I am desirous of.

Melbourne florists take orders for, and sell, Christmas trees. I haven't seen that here but it seems like an obvious bit of extra seasonal income.

I have found out that I should get some lindy-hop specific dancing shoes, probably two pairs. They are Aris Allen shoes. A casual pair and a retro pair. These are hand made in Baltimore and have a serious amount of specificy to them, quoth:

'Aris Allen's philosophy is that your dancing will look more authentic if you wear the same shoes the dance was invented in'

'These are designed for the intermediate / advanced dancer.'

Lindy notes:
- learn some hip-hop 'pops', these are popular when swing dancing in Germany, I have heard.
- when doing corridors, learn the clockwise follow spin to close.
- practice basket side to side transitions, especially in blues dancing.
- practice my skater hold transition double spinning the follow into close that Rachel and Phil taught.
- swing djs use jriver media studio and read swingdjs.com

Lindy teaching thoughts
- sheet music for stepping rythms.
- move card in either 6/8 length for 6 count or 8/8 length etc
- setting homework via video!

Mebourne Bits 1

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Trains
Melbourne has some odd use of english that I feel I need to document here
- An Express train will not stop at all the stops it goes past, like in other countries
- A Limited Express train has the same definiton, but presumably stops at more stations that an express
- A Direct service, as in a the 5:08 Direct service to Sandringham, will stop at all the stations it passes.

I don't mean to be overly pickly, but aren't the adjectives express and direct much more like synonyms than antinyms?

Airports
The departures information boards at Melbourne airport are good. For the flights that are not due to board yet, the line says relax, nice framing!

Melbourne Lindy Dance Floors
The dance floors in Melbourne are very big but also very crowded. It was necessary to adapt your dancing style to be much more compact, which I found tricky.

The floors did thin out a bit after about 1 am, however that feels like 3 am if you are just in the country!

Also would have benefitted from some suede soled shoes, which I have yet to purchase, the floors were designed for you to be wearing them.

Also, this is post 456, which is the name of the first album by a group called The Grid. The first song on their first album is awesome, I've yet to repurchase it after loosing the album somewhere.

Icebergs

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There are icebergs ahead and the weather is getting a bit cold.

I'm grumpy about lots of irrelevant things this evening in anticipation of icebergs over the weekend.

Right now I'm grumpy at going to dance classes but not being able to participate at all for a bunch of reasons beyond my control. However if you give me a minute I'll be grumpy at something else.

Lindy Camp

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I went to lindy camp at the begininng of the month, it was very very fun and very intense. The propery name for this lindy camp is the New Zealand Exchange 008.

I'm not sure how many people exactly, but a bit less than 100 people came and stayed for the weekend at a Christian camp. All mad keen lindy-hop and balboa dancers.

I took a half day on both the Monday and the Friday. I flew up around midday on the Friday and got picked up by a friendly Aucklander with a trailor of bits for the camp.

We got to the camp, I chose an empty bunk in an empty bunkroom, put down my bag and helped to get things set up. I moved some couches and helper set up one of the sound systems.

Before dinner I met some bunkroom people, two dancers from Syndey and Melbourne and a guy from Auckland.

Dinner was 5pm to 6pm, early dinner times for me. There was a camp meeting then we tooled around getting ready for the social dance of the night, a Halloween themed evening. I dressed as some kind of murderer underground money man, in a red tie with a few bullet holes in the front and a few exit wounds in the back.

The dancing was good. To encourage mixing we got given pipe cleaners and tags to swap with other dancers. People must have found me friendly, I swapped all mine in the first half hour!

We danced till about 12, then went back for second dinner of leftovers and snacks. Next was blues dancing, but I only stuck around for a few minutes, my body simply said no!

Next morning I was woken by the breakfast bell at 8am. I got up, put on my dressing gown and went up to breakfast. Things were subdued, it was a matter of fueling up in the hope that something might start me up later in the day.

First class was both streams of lindy dancers before we split for the day for the rest of the day, this was the pattern for the lindy dancers for both days. The first class was a fun routine class, only a couple of new moves.

Second was slightly scary lifting moves. With some follows it was very easy, with others very hard. One of the follows was very discouraging to me and it made me dread her each time she came around the circle.

Last class was super slow and controlled lindy from this UK guy who was very cool and had lots of cool moves. We did some neat lead and follow stuff.

Dinner at 5 to 6, chiling with the roomies. Some Americans gave us a quick introduction to blues dancing. I had kind of seen it but didn't really understand what was going on. They taught us a few simple but very intimate moves. Leading the blues dancing makes me concentrate a lot on the feel of the follow and what her feet are doing. Also found that I could get a sense for the speed at which my follows heart was beating, because my hand spent most of it's time there. Feeling somebodies heart beating is a very intimate thing.

Next we got ready for the big night. We had a big, full sized and loud swing band in a hall built for dancing. They pulled out a huge ton of period pieces that we loved. I danced and danced and danced like crazy the whole night, trying a bunch of new stuff from the days classes.

Next was second dinner then some blues dancing, I lasted about an hour or so. T'was very fun!

Sunday morning was slightly harder getting up than Saturday was. More lessons, a tricky corridor move into tandem, then this cool kind of half way reverse out of tandem. Also a window wiper turn inside your own arm varient.

Lunch then two more classes, which kind of blurred. The last one was a swing out variation class, I picked up a few new variations from it, the kick cross, the kick behind, a kind of front knee move and a syncopated hold stomp off. Good classes for my level of ability.

Sunday night dancing was fun too, we were dancing in our smaller floor number 3 which was nice, lots of people had bailed by that point.

There was a DJ competition which was cool. I danced to this song with a roommate which was some guy singing about his immaculate penis. It was so funny I had to stop several times to compose myself.

More blues dancing that night from 12 till late. Couldn't sleep due to a snorer so I chatted as my nervous system attempted to calm itself from the weekends activities.

A lift to the airport and then a gruelling half day at work. I got lots done so it was worth comming in.

If you get into lindy, I would recommend it 5 /5. Totally amazing experience, crazy fun, crazy learning, an environment that is emotionally safe and encourages you to use them in your dancing.

I must have danced at least 14 hours of the weekend including classes, probably more. Lost a couple of kilograms to boot too.

I'll stick some photos in this tomorrow when I have more time.

2008 Hols: Brussles 4: Graffitti

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On the whole the graffiti in Brussels was very stylish, much more artistic than the tagging seen around my place.







Divested?

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I think I'm currently being divested by somebody both younger and with more emotional IQ than I have. Being on the receiving end of this particular combination is pretty rough.

Things start out good and then kind of taper a bit. Next you hit some sort of schism where the emotional content received in dialogue is not reflective of your own positive input. Then there are the rescheduled conversations.

Next up probably is one of those calls. Somehow the more masterful the divester is the worse the divestee feels, like it wasn't even hard for the other person.

I'm probably going to get one of those calls this week. If this transpires then I'm just letting you all know in advance that I will be emotionally broken for a good couple of months.

2008 Hols: Brussles 3: Cathedral

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At the end of a park was a very big church, probably a Cathedral even. If The Lord of The Rings had needed a church, they could have used this one, it is all first testament anger and epic.









2008 Hols: Brussles 2: Park

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A couple of kilometres away from my hotel there was a park. My first day in Brussles I walked to it and round it, a good long walk to walk me into the time zone.



Something about this lampost and its setting is very Narnia.



Italian ice cream from the 70s anyone?



Very eurpoean style gardening going on here. No rambling englishness to it, it is all very precise, the fruits of long term planning and effort. I felt it was almost sterile though, a large sense of detachment through mastery.

2008 Hols: Brussles 1: Eurostar

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I decided early into my trip planning that I was going to take the Eurostar to Europe. Brussles is on the Eurostar line so was an easy target, as was Paris.

Taking the Eurostar from St Pancras International meant that I was able go under the channel, via the Chunnel, an engineering marvel. My fab travel agent booked me cheap first class tickets, they were on sale.

The waiting lounge bit was like your typical airport, lots of weird kidney shaped couch thingings, and everyone still with their luggage. The checking in process was much easier than with flying, only a 20 minute requirement of checking in before your departure. Good fast service through the security screening, these people seemed to care about looking good.

St Pancras International has a wonderfully pretty roof terminal roof, in my opinion. Here are view up and down the platform. These trains are long!






First class is a bit bigger than first class on a plane, but not much bigger or much nicer. What is nice is the quietness of the train. The thing is very very quiet, one of the quietest trains I have been on.




Remains of a first class meal. It was much more identifiable than an airplane meal. It was French sized portions, which I came to understand as meaning small portions.




A bit of French countryside. Notice how blurred the posts in the photo look. For once my camera is reproducing what I experienced. The posts went past so quickly that the did not appear to be moving quickly, it was more like they existed fleetingly.

The effect is a little mesmerising, you don't feel like you are travel fast at all. It feels much slower than a car ride on the motorway.

2008 Hols: Grads: Hapstead Heath

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I met five (5) grads from my Wellington 2000 grad program for brunch. We then flounced around Hampstead Heath. T'was nice.

Hampstead heath is a park with slimely looking lakes, not very many trees, on some hillock things with lots of grass. Somehow this contreives to be a nice place to potter around, probably contrast to the great grimness of London.

Walking.




The heath.



Drinking halves because we are girls? The pub was fun, very hobbity.

2008 Hols: Essex 5: Bobs

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Picked walnut. Tastes of vinegar, but not sugary like most gherkins. I hadn't seen these before. The walnut is soft and kind of fleshy, just the barest hint of nut. The pickling happens before the walnuts have hardened, I understand. The flash in this shot shows the shape well, but in real live the colour is more like that of dark cooked mushroom.



A very cool chopping board.



We had shared a meal, both aunts, friend, dog and extra friend. I helped a little with the cooking by making cheese sauce, which hadn't been seen in the household for a long time. We shared wine and attempted to enjoying the early evening outside.

We failed, it was too cold, so we drank the wine inside :-)

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Down from Rowhedge is Fingringhoe. Go on, say it out loud! To prove I am not making it up here is picture of the signpost.

2008 Hols: Essex 4: Countryside

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England does have some lovely countryside. You have to be patient for it and wait for it between showers, even in the 'summer', but when you do on your long all day walk with Aunt, friend and dog, you will get pictures like these.

The countryside has been combed and combed by long periods of agriculture and cultivation. All the big stones, tree roots and small landscape features have been brushed away by civilisation and time.

It gives bits of the English countryside this particular kind of look, the geologic fractal at play here is very soft.

We set out in the morning on a kind of rambling, each bringing things to share for lunch. I brought tomatoes, crackers and a kind of English cheese I hadn't tried before called Red Leicester, soft, mild and kind of a kind of reddy orangey colour. I've got some in my fridge in NZ now, goes well on cream cracker with watery tomatoes like the common big red.











2008 Hols: Essex 3: The Company Shed

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I went to Wivenhoe with my Aunts to go to The Company Shed. It is a post world war two leftover pocket of seafood eating and celebratory culture, as far as I can tell. Wivenhoe is across a tidal river from Rowhedge. The tidal river implies that you are close to the sea, and therefore good seafood. We came to The Company shed to eat some.




You sit at shared tables, with random strangers. On the left is my aunt by relationship, on the right is my aunt biologically on mother side, but then next to her is some random English dude I'd never seen before or since.



The Company supplies glasses, in assortment. You bring your own bread, butter and wine. We were given tumblers of odd sizes with which to drink our sparkling wine.

You got given a knife, fork and a little scratchy poky instrument to yank things out of shells.



We got random plates of stuff. Some of it I could identify. We got crabs, salmon, smoked fish of a couple of kinds. Then there were these weird gray and yellow gritty things, some kind of mollusk, I think. The gray and yellow gritty things went well with Tabasco sauce, oddly.



As at any occasion involving any of my extended family, we ate a lot, in this case everything.



On the whole the thing had a kind of Pacific Island feel to it. The all seafood meal, and fingers and poky thing technique and the celebration atmosphere of the thing all felt Rarotongan. I can feel my land lovers grasping at something about the bounty of the sea and fisher cultures at play.

2008 Hols: Essex 2: Abondoned Boats

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Here are a couple of Aunts and a couple of abandoned boats on the Wivenhoe slipway.



Once cute, proud and practical these are now wrecks, no longer salvageable. I have sad thoughts that perhaps the owners passed away and their descendants have been negligent. It is not nice to see such once loved hand crafted objects degrade.

Looking inside through a hole in the hull.





Another abandoned boat, this one in the water at various tides.




2008 Hols: Essex 1: Wivenhoe Houses

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Essex is southeast of London. Near Colchester there are the villages of Rowhedge, Wivenhoe and Fingringhoe.

Wivenhoe has cutesy little houses, especially this little lane. These houses are old, predating the British discovery of New Zealand and my family name.



Nice anchor door handle






This next one is my faviourite, but mind your head.



The roofline is, well, extant.

2008 Hols: Winchester 5: Reception

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Cake!



Sleeping junior guests, too much drinking I venture.



Cabaret.



Silly hats!