Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The evil Kim Dotcom.... Not really

As far as I can tell Kim Dotcom has broken no New Zealand laws, yet on the 20 January this year the New Zealand Police arrested him at the request of the FBI

" On January 5, 2012,[41] indictments were filed in the United States against Dotcom on criminal copyright infringement charges along with Július Benčko and 5 other associates. On January 20, 2012, Kim Dotcom, Finn BatatoMathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk were arrested inCoatesvilleAucklandNew Zealand, by New Zealand Police, following an armed raid on his house. Authorities were cooperating with the United States' FBI and Justice Department...

" According to Dotcom's defence, the police operation against Megaupload was unnecessarily grandiose: "... armed officers arrived in helicopters and dropped into the Dotcom mansion courtyard.

"According to head of security, Wayne Tempero "... the force was incredible ... Had they simply asked us we would have opened the door to any room they wanted to enter." He said Mr. Dotcom seemed shocked by the police action. "I remember him saying "copyright infringement" and shook his head, like he's going "what the hell?". We weren't building bombs in the cellar, we didn't have a meth lab bigger than the South Island here. This was a normal family house

What the fuck is going on here? The raid was on TV it was a gross over reaction by the NZ police and armed offenders squad. Now Mr Dotcom was living in anything but a normal family house he was living in a mansion but all of this is very interesting in a gossip type way as is his estimated 50 million dollars but it is totally irrelevant to the central question  of when did  New Zealand law enforcement agencies start taking  orders from the FBI?

The usually rational centre right Kiwiblog has this to say today

Kim Dotcom needs $220,000 a month to survive ...I knew the cost of living was going up, but I suspect Mr Dotcom wants that sum of money available to him for other purposes – maybe travel."

Not to be outdone Keeping Stock on the same issue.

" Surprisingly, we don't have a lot of sympathy for the Dotcoms' plight. The figures that they have presented to the Court today are absurd, and will be abhorrent to many. They are asking for more than four times as much PER MONTH as the average New Zealander earns annually.
If Kim Dotcom thinks that this is a way to sway public opinion in his favour, we'd suggest that he has been poorly advised.
And if Kim Dotcom hasn't been doing anything illegal, why does he need to spend $6000 per week on bodyguards? Hmmmm...."

These are blogs that purport to support freedom and oppose unnecessary government intervention in the lives of New Zealanders. Mr Dotcom is German but a NZ resident and entitled to the protection of NZ law. That we are prepared to give up sovereignty to the FBI scares the crap out of me.

This man has not broken NZ law. The agencies of the NZ government should not be under the control of the American entertainment industry unlike the FBI appears to be.

If there is a case to answer then it is civil not criminal under NZ law and Hollywood and there lapdogs the FBI can file a civil case in our courts. I hope Mr Dotcom wins. I hope the NZ Police are forced to pay compensation out of their operational budget. I hope they are forced to beg our parliament for additional funding to cover for the compensation, because maybe they will learn to say no.

New Zealand sovereignty is not up for sale presumably for some mythical free trade agreement that America will never sign or if they do put so many get out of honouring it clauses in it it will be worth less than the paper it is written on.  

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sunday " Lunch "

Significant Other and I decided that having a leg of lamb for Sunday lunch was a good idea on Friday. She didn't have a roasting dish but I have several and of course being a typical Kiwi bloke they are all the usual family hand me down variety with the outside being discolored from years of use. I pulled it out of my bag on Saturday and realised on the spot that it was unacceptable. Before she could call her niece to remedy the situation I took immediate action and put 40 minutes of elbow grease into cleaning the old dish and got it to an acceptable standard. I also pulled out the leg of lamb and pointed out that their was a lot of meat on it and with vegetables we could actually feed us her nephew and niece as well as R and her three kids.

I had a $30 one card reward voucher to spend at Countdown so we popped down to get some veges and other staples. Significant Other was appalled at the the Countdown prices, given that the whole shop came to $37 and we had a 10kg bag of rice, veges, milk and other stuff I can't recall for a cash outlay of $7.00 I wasn't to concerned but I am fairly sure she will not be making the move from Pac & Save any time soon.

Sunday involved a trip to the baker to get some croissants for breakfast  I managed to secure the last 4 which meant Significant Other, Niece and me had a pleasant breakfast  followed by church, now having not looked inside a church since my grandmothers funeral well over 20 years ago I was unsure what to expect. It soon became apparent that this was no ordinary service it was in fact the pastors final performance and tributes rolled in throughout the service, including an memorable analogy that involved "Saving Private Ryan " made even more remarkable because the orders came direct from President Lincoln in the White House. I have no idea if " Saving Private Ryan " was based on fact and this was an attempt to fictionalise it or perhaps Roosevelt was the modern incarnation of Lincoln, given it was a christian event I decided speculation on Dalai Lama style reincarnation being a newly discovered exciting feature of the American Presidency might not go down well.

This is of course the point at which the wheels started to fall off. Sunday Lunch was being provided by the church to farewell their pastor a man who ran a congregation that clearly had no concept of classical theology but a man whose pastoral care I have come to admire greatly, that alone convinced me I could probably get along with him and I did, ironically on his last day in the ministry.

Clearly when you are putting a leg of lamb in the oven at 2.30 pm you are no longer cooking " lunch", R's daughter S about 12 was astonished that I was cooking my explanation that we were cooking a Kiwi meal and I was the only person who could cook Kiwi meal was dismissed as she was learning to cook at school however I gather the modern equivalent of home economics hasn't reached legs of lamb yet as she didn't want to prepare it for me when I gave it to her.

For all that the kids were really patient from left J2, J1 and S.

J2 the youngest amusing us trying on Significant Others nephews shoes.

No pressure well at least not for R. " Lunch " was a success although it started at about 4.00 and took till about 5.30.

Leftovers, actually given the dish was overflowing with vegetables and I carved the lamb onto a separate platter I was not unhappy with uptake particularly given we gave a rice option, the kids loved drowning the rice and lamb in gravy but still ate the veges. The only incongruent note was when a friend of Significant Others nephew  told me he enjoyed the beef and he hadn't had it cooked this way before.

Lots off dirty dishes. You can see the roasting dish bottom right. I bet it has been scrubbed spotless by now. I am not allowed to do the dishes if Significant Others nephew is at home and I felt a bit sorry for him. He had been off for a weekend camp organised by the refugee service and arrived back in time for " lunch " and of course the dishes.

 I make a lot of dishes when I cook and yes I was laughing when I took this but I did feel a little bit guilty about the work I had created for him.

Significant Other is keen to do another lamb roast, she watched everything I did. I doubt I will even be allowed in the kitchen when it happens and I suspect that it will be a fusion dish incorporating some African cuisine ideas.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Photo. On my way home

I was catching the Half Moon Bay ferry back to the city tonight and unfortunately didn't spot this until I was walking down the jetty to board so only had time for this photo.

I guess it is better to discover the runabout isn't seaworthy when launching rather than out in the harbour.

" The worst day fishing is better than the best day working "

Maybe not.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Republican Insanity Explained

I was actually looking for a different republican insanity story, trust me there is no shortage, when I stumbled over this headline

Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult

It was "Cult" that attracted my attention.

"But both parties are not rotten in quite the same way. The Democrats have their share of machine politicians, careerists, corporate bagmen, egomaniacs and kooks. Nothing, however, quite matches the modern GOP."
Lets face it you don't get much more insane than the modern GOP.

"...it may have come as a shock that the Republican Party is so full of lunatics. To be sure, the party, like any political party on earth, has always had its share of crackpots, like Robert K. Dornan or William E. Dannemeyer. But the crackpot outliers of two decades ago have become the vital center today: Steve King, Michele Bachman (now a leading presidential candidate as well), Paul Broun, Patrick McHenry, Virginia Foxx, Louie Gohmert, Allen West. The Congressional directory now reads like a casebook of lunacy."

As you can see the article is a bit dated but I can fully understand the authors reaction.

"It was this cast of characters and the pernicious ideas they represent that impelled me to end a nearly 30-year career as a professional staff member on Capitol Hill. A couple of months ago, I retired; but I could see as early as last November that the Republican Party would use the debt limit vote, an otherwise routine legislative procedure that has been used 87 times since the end of World War II, in order to concoct an entirely artificial fiscal crisis. Then, they would use that fiscal crisis to get what they wanted, by literally holding the US and global economies as hostages."

The article lists many examples of this type of behaviour.

"Far from being a rarity, virtually every bill, every nominee for Senate confirmation and every routine procedural motion is now subject to a Republican filibuster. Under the circumstances, it is no wonder that Washington is gridlocked: legislating has now become war minus the shooting, something one could have observed 80 years ago in the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic. As Hannah Arendt observed, a disciplined minority of totalitarians can use the instruments of democratic government to undermine democracy itself."

And that is a real risk, the American right seems to have lost the plot.

" John P. Judis sums up the modern GOP this way:
"Over the last four decades, the Republican Party has transformed from a loyal opposition into an insurrectionary party that flouts the law when it is in the majority and threatens disorder when it is the minority. It is the party of Watergate and Iran-Contra, but also of the government shutdown in 1995 and the impeachment trial of 1999. If there is an earlier American precedent for today's Republican Party, it is the antebellum Southern Democrats of John Calhoun who threatened to nullify, or disregard, federal legislation they objected to and who later led the fight to secede from the union over slavery."

Remember Rick Perry threatening to take Texas out of the Union in May last year ? That he legally couldn't do that seemed of little consequence to him.

" Undermining Americans' belief in their own institutions of self-government remains a prime GOP electoral strategy. But if this technique falls short of producing Karl Rove's dream of 30 years of unchallengeable one-party rule (as all such techniques always fall short of achieving the angry and embittered true believer's New Jerusalem), there are other even less savory techniques upon which to fall back. Ever since Republicans captured the majority in a number of state legislatures last November, they have systematically attempted to make it more difficult to vote: by onerous voter ID requirements (in Wisconsin, Republicans have legislated photo IDs while simultaneously shutting Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices in Democratic constituencies while at the same time lengthening the hours of operation of DMV offices in GOP constituencies); by narrowing registration periods; and by residency requirements that may disenfranchise university students."

We thought Muldoon was bad and trust me he was but he was an infant compared to the modern Republican Party and National in NZ cleaned up the mess something the Republicans are incapable of it would appear in America.

" This legislative assault is moving in a diametrically opposed direction to 200 years of American history, when the arrow of progress pointed toward more political participation by more citizens. Republicans are among the most shrill in self-righteously lecturing other countries about the wonders of democracy; exporting democracy (albeit at the barrel of a gun) to the Middle East was a signature policy of the Bush administration. But domestically, they don't want those people voting.
You can probably guess who those people are. Above all, anyone not likely to vote Republican. As Sarah Palin would imply, the people who are not Real Americans. Racial minorities. Immigrants. Muslims. Gays. Intellectuals. Basically, anyone who doesn't look, think, or talk like the GOP base. This must account, at least to some degree, for their extraordinarily vitriolic hatred of President Obama. I have joked in the past that the main administration policy that Republicans object to is Obama's policy of being black.[2] Among the GOP base, there is constant harping about somebody else, some "other," who is deliberately, assiduously and with malice aforethought subverting the Good, the True and the Beautiful: Subversives. Commies. Socialists. Ragheads. Secular humanists. Blacks. Fags. Feminazis. The list may change with the political needs of the moment, but they always seem to need a scapegoat to hate and fear."

He He  ".. Obama's policy of being black."
What is interesting though is his analysis of the Democrats.

" While Democrats temporized, or even dismissed the fears of the white working class as racist or nativist, Republicans went to work. To be sure, the business wing of the Republican Party consists of the most energetic outsourcers, wage cutters and hirers of sub-minimum wage immigrant labor to be found anywhere on the globe. But the faux-populist wing of the party, knowing the mental compartmentalization that occurs in most low-information voters, played on the fears of that same white working class to focus their anger on scapegoats that do no damage to corporations' bottom lines: instead of raising the minimum wage, let's build a wall on the Southern border (then hire a defense contractor to incompetently manage it). Instead of predatory bankers, it's evil Muslims. Or evil gays. Or evil abortionists.
How do they manage to do this? Because Democrats ceded the field. Above all, they do not understand language. Their initiatives are posed in impenetrable policy-speak: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The what? - can anyone even remember it? No wonder the pejorative "Obamacare" won out. Contrast that with the Republicans' Patriot Act. You're a patriot, aren't you? Does anyone at the GED level have a clue what a Stimulus Bill is supposed to be? Why didn't the White House call it the Jobs Bill and keep pounding on that theme?"

While I am a fan of Obama I do think he could have been more forceful and less compromising with the lunatics that are the current GOP, I accept politics is at the end of the day the art of the possible and no more so than in the USA.

" It was not always thus. It would have been hard to find an uneducated farmer during the depression of the 1890s who did not have a very accurate idea about exactly which economic interests were shafting him. An unemployed worker in a breadline in 1932 would have felt little gratitude to the Rockefellers or the Mellons. But that is not the case in the present economic crisis. After a riot of unbridled greed such as the world has not seen since the conquistadors' looting expeditions and after an unprecedented broad and rapid transfer of wealth upward by Wall Street and its corporate satellites, where is the popular anger directed, at least as depicted in the media? At "Washington spending" - which has increased primarily to provide unemployment compensation, food stamps and Medicaid to those economically damaged by the previous decade's corporate saturnalia. Or the popular rage is harmlessly diverted against pseudo-issues: death panels, birtherism, gay marriage, abortion, and so on, none of which stands to dent the corporate bottom line in the slightest."

This is the part that mystifies me about the American people when the housing crisis hit we were bombarded with images of people in trailer parks flying the Stars and Stripes, hell in most countries they would be burning the flag and a hell of a lot more, just look at Greece.

Pandering to fundamentalism is a full-time vocation in the GOP. Beginning in the 1970s, religious cranks ceased simply to be a minor public nuisance in this country and grew into the major element of the Republican rank and file. Pat Robertson's strong showing in the 1988 Iowa Caucus signaled the gradual merger of politics and religion in the party. The results are all around us: if the American people poll more like Iranians or Nigerians than Europeans or Canadians on questions of evolution versus creationism, scriptural inerrancy, the existence of angels and demons, and so forth, that result is due to the rise of the religious right, its insertion into the public sphere by the Republican Party and the consequent normalizing of formerly reactionary or quaint beliefs. Also around us is a prevailing anti-intellectualism and hostility to science; it is this group that defines "low-information voter" - or, perhaps, "misinformation voter."

Separation of church and state is something most western democracy's take fairly seriously.

"If Republicans have perfected a new form of politics that is successful electorally at the same time that it unleashes major policy disasters, it means twilight both for the democratic process and America's status as the world's leading power."

It is a sad but I think apt conclusion should the Republicans in this guise ever regain office and inevitably they will.

New Zealand's Slaves

In the September / October issue of Professional Skipper magazine a stark warning was issued about the practices of Foriegn Charter Vessels fishing in NZ territorial waters.

"This has been followed by a group of 32 Indonesian fishermen who quit their boat, the FV Oyang 75 in Lyttelton Harbour. They allegedly received inhumane treatment and are now faced with deportation.
The men left the ship, a Korean-licensed FCV chartered by the Christchurch company Southern Storm Fishing, claiming serous physical, sexual and psychological abuse from Korean officers and alleging the company had not paid them fully for their five months on board.
Southern Storm Fishing has publicly stated it has done nothing wrong and the crew had no reason to leave the boat. The mounting evidence would suggest otherwise."
Oyang 75

I would have thought the examples quoted in that article in conjunction with evidence gathered by The University of Auckland Business School might have improved things

"Their research revealed these foreign charter crews essentially operate in an institutional void, a No Man’s Land. One of the findings, just released, clearly demonstrates the evidence all points towards these people being trafficked persons by unscrupulous manning agents in what is nothing short of slave labour, and this has been going on for decades within the New Zealand seafood industry. Crew told them about being forced to sign false time sheets, of not being paid, brutal beatings, inhumane punishments (e.g. made to stand on deck for hours, without food or water in extreme weather conditions), relentless verbal abuse, degrading sexual assaults, rationing and locking up of food, denial of medical treatment, and how accident injuries were covered up. Others told them how they were often fed expired fish bait, drank rustic water, and bathed in salt water sometimes only once a week.
Now watch out for some New Zealand deepwater fishing industry representatives duck for cover. My guess is before the government’s ministerial enquiry is concluded, there will be some big, red faces about and heads must roll.'

It would seem not the Stuff website today reported on yet another case of this today  although  a search of stuff failed to turn it up tonight but it was the same as all the other reported stories on the behavior of the slavers that we allow to fish our waters but with one critical difference it linked to a Bloomberg Businessweek story about Yusril a slave, living the life of a slave for the benefit of NZ Inc.

" On March 25, 2011, an Indonesian fisherman named Yusril became a slave. Yusril (which is not his real name, to protect his identity) is 28, with brooding looks and a swagger that compensates for his slight frame. That afternoon he went to the East Jakarta offices of PT Indah Megah Sari (IMS), an agency that hires crews to work on foreign fishing vessels. He was offered a job on the Melilla 203, a South Korea-flagged ship that trawled in the waters off New Zealand. “Hurry up,” said the agent, holding a pen over a thick stack of contracts in the windowless conference room with water-stained walls. Waving at a pile of green Indonesian passports of other prospective fisherman, he added: “You really can’t waste time reading this. There are a lot of others waiting and the plane leaves tomorrow.”

Interesting to note the ministerial enquiry reports Friday. Anyway a bit more about NZ's slaves.

" The terms of the first contract, the “real” one, would later haunt him. In it, IMS spelled out terms with no rights. In addition to the agent’s commission, Yusril would surrender 30 percent of his salary, which IMS would hold unless the work was completed. He would be paid nothing for the first three months, and if the job was not completed to the fishing company’s satisfaction, Yusril would be sent home and charged over $1000 for the airfare. “Satisfactory” completion was left vague. The contract only stated that Yusril would have to work whatever hours the boat operators demanded.
The last line of the contract, in bold, warned that Yusril’s family would owe nearly $3,500 if he were to run away from the ship. The amount was greater than his net worth, and he had earlier submitted title to his land as collateral for that bond. Additionally, he had provided IMS with names and addresses of his family members. He was locked in.
What followed, according to Yusril and several shipmates who corroborated his story, was an eight-month ordeal aboard theMelilla 203, during which Indonesian fisherman were subjected to physical and sexual abuse at the hands of the ship’s operators. Their overlords told them not to complain or fight back, or they would be sent home, where the agents would take their due. Finally, Yusril and 23 others walked off in protest when the trawler docked in Lyttleton, New Zealand. The men have seen little if any of the money they say is owed them for their work. Such coerced labor is modern-day slavery, as the United Nations defines the crime.
The owners of the Melilla ships did not respond to requests for comment.
The experiences of the fishermen on the Melilla 203 were not unique. In a six-month investigation spanning three continents, Bloomberg Businessweek found cases of debt bondage on the Melilla 203 and at least nine other ships that have operated in New Zealand’s waters. As recently as November 2011, fish from the Melilla 203 and other suspect vessels was bought and processed by United Fisheries, New Zealand’s eighth-largest seafood company,...  ( cont. below )

Convinced yet ? We are to blame, this is our jurisdiction we NZ Inc. benefit from the sale of these fish. read the full article it will shock you.

Oyang 77 detained crew wages permit removed
Oyang 75 Gone permit revoked
Millina 201 & 203 Detained Probably wages
Oyang 70 Sunk
Insung 1 Sunk
Don Wang Sunk

I would like to think the detentions and permit removals were in reaction to our disgust at the behaviour of the FCV but this has been going on for years. Why do I suspect it has more to do with this.

"...which has sold the same species in the same period to distributors operating in the United States. (The U.S. imports 86 percent of its seafood.) Those distributors have sold those species to major U.S. companies. Those companies — which include some of the country’s biggest retailers and restaurants — have sold the seafood to American consumers."

..." U.S. retailers such as Safeway (SWY), America’s second largest grocery store chain, and Wal-Mart Stores (WMT). When alerted by Bloomberg Businessweek,  spokespeople for both retailers pledged swift investigations. “As with all of our suppliers, we have a process underway to obtain documentation that [High Liner is] complying with the laws regarding human trafficking and slavery, and that [they are] reviewing their supply chain to insure compliance,” said Brian Dowling, Safeway’s vice president of public affairs, on Feb. 17. “We have not yet received certification from High Liner. However, we are following up with them immediately and asking that they provide us with certification.”

Friday  will be interesting we might just have a chance to rescue our off shore fishing industry from an inevitable market boycot, if we will not take responsibility and police it properly I hope our markets collapse and the fish are left in the sea. Any industry that requires a slave workforce is unsustainable by definition.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Jeb Bush-it's my turn

I thought I was reading satire when I spotted this headline

" The Seeming Inevitability of Jeb Bush"

You have got to be joking America, but apparently not.

"With the GOP fundamentally divided, it seems increasingly unlikely that Romney, Santorum, Gingrich or Paul will have enough delegates going into the Convention on August 27th.
This would result in a brokered convention — and the possibility of a “white-knight” scenario.
But who could it be? "


Jeb Bush. Well I guess if your father and brother have both been President of the USA you might think it is only fair that you get a turn as well I mean what is democracy without fairness ?

" As Ezra Klein put it:

“A candidate who emerged during the [brokered] convention — or even slightly before it — would have two months and some change to hire a national campaign staff, raise money, get on the air, craft a message, study up on the issues, decide on an agenda, introduce himself to voters, build out a ground game, etc. They would have two months, in other words, to become competitive with Obama’s ferocious campaign organization.”

I suspect President Obama is starting to get concerned that his second term will be marred by the criticism that he shouldn't be President because the republicans couldn't agree who to run against him, after the Tea Party Birthers etc et all and now this nothing would surprise me.

"Bush is an intellectual leader with a successful record as Governor of Florida, and would attract support from traditional Republicans, fiscal conservatives, Democrats, Independents, and Hispanics alike."

Not sure I get the Hispanic reference in this context. To be fair his father had a brain unlike his brother. I really enjoy guys with the mental agility to understand simple concepts such as this.

"...and is the only Republican who is willing to accept that tax cuts need to be accompanied by revenue raising."

You could be forgiven for thinking that America is not a foreign country but a different bloody planet.

"Make no mistake, I am not saying that Jeb Bush is the inevitable nominee. In fact, he is not.
Indeed, the major problem with Jeb Bush has nothing to do with his record or his persona. It’s his last name."

Classic float an idea tactics and then point out that the only thing against the guy is his last name and lets not forget that those crazy Iranians are out there building  nukes. There is nothing like a Bush to deal with that problem.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Africa in Auckland

Last weekend I and the Significant Other visited some friends of hers and I was asked to attend an engagement party for a sister who wasn't present I was caught only a bit out by the manner of the invitation as it was more of an instruction than an invitation to my ear, I think it was assumed that as I was the boyfriend of Significant Other the question was answered and it was being made clear that I was very welcome.

One point of huge amusement happened on the day before when a text went out to the invitees that the engagement party was running on Kiwi time not African time ie don't be late. I pointed out the fallacy of this assumption and managed not to laugh as I delayed our transportation to the party for the third and final time to 5.30 we arrived at 6.00pm and as far as I could tell the last arrivals got in at about 10.45pm.

 Still fairly quite when we arrived, our hosts had put on a magnificent African banquet, I have to say I am developing a real taste for African cuisine.   

The woman of the night  me and Significant Other or as I am sure someone will point out the thorn prick between two roses.  Note the beautiful dress that Significant Other is wearing, the reason for our failure to arrive on time.
The 4 seated girls and I had been having a post dinner chat or rather they had been speaking the Congolese dialect of French with the non speaking participant providing me with salient points in English and to my surprise I actually sometimes had a vague understanding of the conversation something I only found out after Significant Other brought me up to date at the conclusion of what ever was being discussed. From my point of view the funniest thing about this photo is the unannounced but not unexpected arrival of R. R and Significant other escaped the Congo together and are virtually in reality sisters. R was later in the evening to appoint me guardian of her drink a commission I performed with notable success given her ability to put it down and go for a dance without any consideration of the foot traffic around us.
The dancing was amazing here the kids are really getting into it, what impressed me was troughout the evening adults yielded the dance floor to the kids.
 This guy was amazing, he could really dance and he put a huge effort in getting the kids dancing teaching them a move and then showing them time and time again how to do it.
The engaged couple, I actually met her for the fist time earlier in the week when she called around to Significant Others place for a dress that Significant Other had made for her. They were by far the most glamorous couple at the party as they should have been.
 R, I was actually trying to get a candid shot of her I would guess she had a slit second to compose herself for this shot but she did it. My camera gives you a small gap to check the shot you have taken is the shot you want before it takes the shot and she exploited it brilliantly.
This cutie was having a real go at dancing I can't remember if it was R or Significant Other who told me to take the photo probably R looking at the dress on the right of the photo.
Significant Other and my new desk top background. Another really lucky shot she spotted that I was about to take a photo and her hands flew up to cover her face by the time the delay feature on the camera allowed the photo to be taken this is what I got, probably the best photo I have ever taken, certainly my favorite photo.

I had no real idea what to expect, I knew R reasonably well and had met and knew by name four others including the lady of the night and her two sisters as well as R's kids. I didn't speak their language and thought only a few of them would be confident enough in their command of English to enter into a conversation with me. That actually turned out to be the case but everyone was prepared to engage with me. At one point I had got up to do something and a young boy had sat down in my seat his brother in the seat beside me and mum was sitting in the next seat down. On the other side was Significant Other who knew that as soon as I returned the child would be told to get out of my seat but there were no other seats, as he started to move away I picked him up and put him on my knee. I have know idea if it was the African thing to do but to me it seemed like the right thing to do. When the child left I have no idea if mum had told him to say goodbye to me or he did it spontaneously but he came and said goodbye, I suspect the former.
I could blog much more about last night but it wasn't my night it was theirs. Thanks for including me on your special day.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Smoked snapper and the Significant Other.

The Significant Other and I  called on a Kiwi friend of hers Thursday night. It was a bloke from heaven the guy had a smoker at the back door and the place was full of fishing gear  rods, reels, and him busy working on them. He was a member of her church and a mechanic and she wanted advice about her car that has been having a couple of issues. I resolved one of those issues today in a totally unsatisfactory way but it cost $17 dollars not $300. Yes the car she bought for $1300 saved over many months, had a leaking radiator that had been fixed with stop leak, an option we took because quite frankly fixing the radiator properly  would cost more than the car is worth. Oh it was sold to her by a LMVD and a transmission / gear box problem has also developed. Will look at that tomorrow.
I have in my freezer a snapper and she was interested in the smoker at her friends back door and after our fishing chat and wanted to know more, well I said I would organise a smoked snapper for today and totally forgot to take the snapper out of the freezer after last night dramas with her car. I mentioned this to my boss  saying that I was  not bloody well paying supermarket prices for snapper and he told me about a business that  sold snapper at a good price  ( I prefer to catch my snapper and this is the first time I have bought one ).  I can't remember the name but it is  a Chinese business off  Pakaranga drive and I was impressed will blog further about this outfit. The  guy who sold me the fish didn't quite understand  what I wanted and the head was still attached so had to do a bit of work with the knife at  Significant Others place.

She loved it so I will be looking for some cheap salmon over the next couple of days. My one issue with smoking is that the hot smoker tends to  buckle when the heat comes on and that means some of the food has sawdust on it , well  the boss told me today that his daughter had solved this.  Put an extra lare of aluminum foil with holes cut with a knife every few centimeters on top of the sawdust  covered aluminium do not  push down and the problem is gone, worked a treat.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

From my father

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Libya and
have therefore raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved."
Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even
"A Bit Cross."  The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in
1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out.  Terrorists have been re-categorized
from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance."  The last time the British issued a
"Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish
   The Scots have raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's get the
Bastards."  They don't have any other levels.  This is the reason they
have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror
alert level from "Run" to "Hide".  The only two higher levels in France are
"Collaborate" and "Surrender."  The rise was precipitated by a recent fire
that destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the
country's military capability.
   Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to
"Elaborate Military Posturing."  Two more levels remain: "Ineffective
Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."
   The Germans have increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to
"Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs."  They also have two higher
levels: "Invade a Neighbor" and "Lose."
   Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat
they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.
   The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy.
These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy
can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.
   Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from "No worries" to
"She'll be alright, Mate."  Two more escalation levels remain: "Crikey!  I
think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!" and "The barbie is
cancelled."  So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final
escalation level.
   John Cleese

Monday, February 6, 2012

My Waitangi Day

Just been  over at Keeping Stock and despite comming at politics from  diferent perspectives I aggree with him far more than I disaggree. Keeping Stock today reflected on race relations. This has always been a subject close to my heart.

I have a recent addition to my life, she is 36, she beautiful and she is from the Congo. She is not a fan of smoking and I have rolled ( hell no brainer ), she is not a fan of drinking  and I have agreed never to drink around her, she is a Christian I have maintained my atheism so I am guessing we are meeting each other half way.

Today was all about food and driving practice but I will detail food first.  She needed an ingedient to the food that we got from one of her friends I have know idea what it was but it came in a commercial packet and she took very little off it. OK I am a white guy with two woman and three kids from the Congo and it is considered to be totally normal as it should be. We left and got vegetables for the meal at  a Chinese owned business, Chinese, Maori, African and European's in the shop an nobody batted an eyelid.

Keeping Stock is correct to point out that the vast majority of Kiwis hate, what our day of unity has become. I am sick of our day of discontent.

Driving, well she is good. The problem is I am not capable of  teaching so we are practicing. I will let her on to the motorway  next weekend she can  handle it in my opionion but it is a huge speed jump. On that note we have been driving around with learner  plates and most people have been fantastic and understood that learning was happening, two total wankers emerged who undertook us and abused. I will be carrying a pen and paper and will report you should it happen again.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Alf does security.

Alf my insane but likable 3 legged monster cat is missing a mate, Murphy my dog I will blog about Murphy later but he died yesterday aged 12. Murphy was left in Queenstown after the summer holidays and did not return to Auckland. Alf really misses him ( I want to  get rid of his beanbag but Alf loves it ), no cat entered Alf's territory well they did but left fairly quickly when they realised  a large dog was  also present.

Today the Significant Other had organised some driving practise after church with another person in the congregation ( I don't do the God thing ) and I had the afternoon free I wasn't expecting to as we both assumed the alternate driving lesson would occur straight after church but it didn't happen until late afternoon so while she was out testing the patience of some saint I was home and the  local cats have clicked that Murphy is no longer here.

As a side note Significant Other has decided that we will do an early lesson and late lesson tomorrow and visit  some lions, elephants, zebras.... etc in between, suits me.

At about 3.00 pm there was a lot of hissing and screeching I went out to investigate and  Alf and an unknown but black cat were sizing each other up at a 15 cm  gap between  my fence and the neighbours property but on my part of the property. The other cat left  at my intervention.

He has been guarding the gap for the last four and a half hours. Has not come in for dinner, he will probably  guard it all night. He is a tough little cat, I have no doubt he will win any scrap 3 legs means he cant fight  with claws so he just launches and bites. He has carved out a territory far larger than my place and when I first got him people were complaining about vet bills from his predations.