March 26, 2006

commonwealth games

My most memorable moment? Definitely Michaela Breeze winning the Gold medal in the under 63kg weightlifting. Weirdly beautiful.

Posted by carla at 09:37 PM

March 24, 2006

fat cat

The Fat Cat pub in Ipswich is one of the few things in Ipswich I would heartily recommend you actually seek out. It's built in a newish suburb (California - would you believe) and is about 100 years old (which makes it about the age of Berhampore). It has many of the characteristics of british pubs which I like best. Most of all, the comfortable Sunday afternoon yes-i'll-have-a-pint-and-read-my-book-in-the-sun thing.

Also, my newly fattened stray cat Neville sat on me last night and purred. And sat on me this afternoon and purred. And he has a little belly from proper feeding and stripes and everything. And a cynical person might say the horrid cold weather made my warm lap seem more appealing than usual, but I think it is a wonderment anyhow.

Posted by carla at 11:49 PM

March 18, 2006

now, how to get an american tap...

Okay, this may just be the coolest thing I've seen on ThinkGeek for a *verY* long time. An LCD attachement to taps that makes the water come out alien blue (at least until you move it away from the light source).

I was actually thinking I might have to buy one - when I noticed the small print said it was not recommended for sale outside the USA. SOME DAY, they will get with the rest of the world and start using metric.

Until then, my water is colourless. With a "u".

Posted by carla at 09:46 AM

March 12, 2006


I think this explains why Microsoft help is so outstandingly pointless these days. The documentation team is obviously under siege. Pissing off the EU bureaucracy by producing too much opaque documentation is tantamount to making a frock/hat/handbag outfit that even the Queen thinks is too tame and banal.

I suppose the really sad thing is that during the 80s it was popular amongst young, free-thinking politicians to say government departments were bad because they were stodgy, defensive and didn't respond positively to challenges. They used to talk about provider 'capture' (that is, ex-teachers being the only people who worked in Min Education). It would appear (as was mentioned quietly at the time) that private companies do exactly the same thing.

Posted by carla at 01:24 PM

March 09, 2006

foliage ii

Update to this entry.

It looks like they are redesigning the whole front of the building. I think they are going to enclose some of the pointless frontage space and put something in it (probably somewhere you can buy food or coffee based on the local changes recently).

I'm glad Wellington architects have finally stopped trying to build airy plazas for people to stand and talk in. They stand almost no chance of being used for anything other than scurrying through on your way out of the wind/rain/worse. Even better, they seem to have figured out that you can fill those spaces with nice places to buy food and drink for people to stand/sit and talk in. Horay for indigenous usage patterns!

(now we just need to convince them not to put any gaps in the verandahs and we might have a usable city space.)

Posted by carla at 09:43 PM

March 06, 2006

media panic

this article from the onion is a truely wonderful example of how a media report can make something quite normal seem utterly devistating.

I remember a series of media reports about exploding cars when unleaded petrol was first introduced in New Zealand. Every exploding car was reported in full detail for about a week. Approximately one a day. Curiously the average number of cars flambe per year was about 350 for a perfectly normal year. But the media was sure they were onto something.

Thank God I made it home before the disaster struck New Zealand.

Posted by carla at 08:41 PM

March 02, 2006


I forget, from time to time, just how effective events are at building family-ness. Take a 50th birthday or wedding aniversary, a 1st birthday, a civil union, add people, a small dose of reasonableness and goodwill, a large dash of food and drink, mix in pleasant surroundings and sprinkle with a few speaches, leave to percolate for 6-14 hours and voila! Your family factor increases.

I love it. I particularly love it when I'm near the middle of the event and it strengthens the relationships within and between my whanau.

It also has the magical ability to turn friends into family (though it often takes repeated applications). In this way we build strong communities which can help to survive the difficult times, which insure us against hardship and give us a sense of belonging and of the world making sense.

I worry that the liberal movement of the last 100 years is making people feel lost and unsafe, like they don't know what the right thing to do is, and that they can't rely on others to take care of them when they need it. In classical liberalism there is nothing which encourages you to take care of others, only to avoid hurting them. I think this is not enough. People have to find some way of building themselves a life which is secure against the surges and storms of the world. This security is important to people, and the more worried they feel, the more important it becomes. I worry that the most immediate answer is to follow a charismatic leader off the nearest traditionalist cliff. That is not a good enough answer to get us through the challenges of modernity and globalisation.

So I'm glad to have found a way to build relationships between people which make them feel happy, and understood and invigorated. I feel proud to do it on terms I have thought about and felt my way around thoroughly. I am indebted to my family to have inherited a non-traditional, but very effective way of approaching living in the world while still being able to make my own decisions about it. And I'm thankful to have family and friends who are so willing to be generous and lovely to each other.

Kia kaha, may we all live long and be well loved.

Posted by carla at 04:17 PM