June 30, 2005

Can't You Kill Without Swearing?

Review of War of the Worlds: "War of the Worlds" is rated PG-13. Much of the earth's population is wiped out, leaving very little time for sex or bad language. - nytimes.com

It's bizarre. I was taking a couple of kids into town a while back and an idiot pulled right out in front of me when I was doing 100. I nearly stacked into the back of him and said several bad words. Then I turned around and apologised to the kids for swearing, and explained that it was only because I got a fright.

"Hey, my reactions just managed to save you from serious injury and death, but man, I'm so sorry I said a bad word while doing so." It's a bit ridiculous really.

It reminds me a little of what Mike Moore wrote about the movie he made where a black man was shot by police, and in the next scene a woman is seen bludgeoning a rabbit to death to sell as food. He got complaint after complaint about the rabbit, but no-one said to him "Oh! How could you show a black man being murdered?! I couldn't eat for weeks."

Ahhhhhhhh. I slept in until 8! My god! I can't remember the last time that happened. To provide context, I usually wake up crying about 3.30, either from pain or nightmares. It's totally bizarre to wake up while it's light.

Criminal Jeenyus

It charges that on May 5 and 6, Mr. Johnson used a program called Evidence Eliminator to try to erase more than 12,000 files from his computer. [...] Federal prosecutors also brought a charge of obstruction of justice, claiming that Mr. Johnson attempted to destroy evidence - nytimes.com

Here's a tip: Next time, don't go with a product that indicates a crime in its title. Something innocuous like, um: FileOrganiser or TidyUpLegally might be better than, say, Evidence Eliminator or GoDirectlyToJail.

Posted by phreq at 09:29 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 29, 2005


At the same time as that kid is going on about the importance of an antibacterial sponge, he has the earpiece of his glasses in his mouth. I don't think the tray table is his biggest worry here.

Do you know what the most effective way of killing bacteria on your sponge is? Make sure it is dried completely after use. That's it. Simple huh...

Today I got some DHC from the doctor - apparently, the other drug is no longer subsidised by the government; therefore, even though it would actually be far more effective than DHC, the pharmacies just don't stock it. So I am taking the maximum dose of this other stuff, and it's helping. I cried when I realised I might have found a solution.

It doesn't entirely kill the pain but it reduces it by about 20% and that is just fantastic. I slept without being woken up by pain. As Deb said to me, it's the first time in the 2 years she's known me. Fuck it's awesome.

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Fallout Chic

France won an international competition today to be the site of the world's first nuclear fusion reactor, an estimated $12 billion project that many scientists see as essential to solving the world's future energy needs.

While the physics of nuclear fusion have long been understood, the engineering required to control the process remains difficult and the logistics of coordinating construction among a six-member consortium presents an even bigger challenge.

Japan finally agreed to relinquish its bid in return for the consortium's commitment to build a $1 billion materials testing facility in that country.

The consortium also promised Japan that any subsequent fusion reactor would be built there, a significant concession as the first reactor is a development project meant to solve the various technical problems involved and prove that fusion can be harnessed as an economically viable energy source. A second reactor would likely be a prototype meant for commercial power generation.

Still, few scientists expect a fusion reactor to generate commercially viable electricity before the middle of the century, if by then. - nytimes.com

Righty-ho. The French seem to have been seduced by novelty. Fusion is sexy, I admit. But how sexy will it be when it's bogged down in inevitable engineering problems and all the neighbourhood kids have no hair?

Risky Business

This is an excellent article on theft prevention as a community.

Pain Killer Saga

So finally, I got an appointment yesterday with the anaesthesiologist (spelt wrong by you know what I mean) at the Burwood Hospital Pain Management clinic. He gave me a prescription.

I went to the pharmacy and found out that the drug he prescribed is no longer avaialable in New Zealand.

Then I spent $45 at an after hours doctor to get 2 pills that helped slightly. I am so pissed off. Professional doctors who know what the hell they're doing seem to be in woefully short supply in this country.

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June 28, 2005

Black Caps Into Zimbabwe NOW!

The Zimbabwe cricket tour is an absolutely golden opportunity for New Zealand generally and the players personally. So they have a contract they must fulfill? Then tour, and make it count.

Use the Media
The media will be watching the tour. The international media. So why not, every game, the Black Caps stage a sit-in. They all wear flower leis or whatever the peaceful greeting equivalent is in Zimbabwe, and they greet their hosts with grace, understanding, and utter refusal to support the regime.

Play friendly matches, play matches with kids from the slums. Milk each and every photo-op, media conference, TV special by pointing out the utter misery of the country and the fear and repression.

What's the worst that could happen? The team could get kicked out. The media could be jailed. Someone could die. I don't see any option there that would help Mugabe.

This is a huge diplomatic opportunity where we can use the letter of the contract to undermine a madman. Go the Black Caps!

Read These:
Mugabe's Psychological Straitjacket

Opposition Unable to Stop State-Sponsored Violence

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June 27, 2005

I think I see the problem...

The delay in confirming the United States' second case of mad cow disease seems to underscore what critics of the agency have said for a long time: that there are serious and systemic problems in the way the Agriculture Department tests animals for mad cow.

For seven months, all that was known was that a test on the same cow done at the same laboratory at roughly the same time had come up negative. The negative result was obtained using a test that the Agriculture Department refers to as its "gold standard."

The explanation that the department gave late Friday, when the positive test result came to light, was that there was no bad intention or cover-up, and that the test in question was only experimental.

The nation's mad cow testing system is now infuriating both ranchers and consumers. Consumer lobbyists say the flawed results show once again that 15 years of testing has been dangerously inadequate. And now the beef lobby, which has long enjoyed a cozy relationship with the Agriculture Department, is complaining that the testing system is dangerously unpredictable.

Other countries use food-safety standards: Japan tests every cow, Europe tests about one in four.

The United States instead uses statistical models that it says will let a few tests detect the infection even in one cow in a million. It now tests one in 90; when the first mad cow case was found in 2003, it was testing one in 1,700. - nytimes.com.

I'd let the cow tell you themselves, but they haven't seen a blade of grass in months, live in feedlots where the floors are concrete, they get injections of antibiotics every day just to keep them alive, and this is the way they are fed: Other practices that many veterinarians dislike continue, such as feeding poultry litter with spilled cattle meal in it back to cattle, giving calves "milk replacer" made from cattle blood and letting cows eat dried restaurant "plate waste." So these cows would probably be "mad" from the conditions in which they're kept. At least they die young. Most are around a year old, and spend a good 30% of that life on concrete, gorging on blood and other cows.

The Americans Are Eating Vampire Cows - I can't believe the religious right, the humanitarian left, the vegetarians, the food safety lobby and general common sense hasn't yet prevailed over the HUGE RICH BEEF AND RANCHERS LOBBYISTS WHO PROBABLY KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE (and might feed you to their favourity cow!)

At least cows in New Zealand get to eat grass, and the winter feed is silage - fermented grass - or stuff like swedes, which is stock food except in Dunedin, where it it served to mental patients.

Posted by phreq at 09:27 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Fiscal Foresight

I am getting pretty annoyed with National going on about the "huge economic surplus". It's pretty obvious the the world in general is undergoing a market-correction (which is accountant talk for depression).

"I think the greatest threat to our future is our fiscal irresponsibility," warns David Walker, the comptroller general of the United States. Mr. Walker, an accountant by training, asserts that last year may have been the most fiscally reckless in the history of our Republic. Aside from the budget deficit, Congress enacted the prescription drug benefit - possibly an $8 trillion obligation - without figuring out how to pay for it. - nytimes.com

I really don't think that now is the best time for the Government to say "Well, good times are ahead!". I notice that Brash has started referring to his Tax Cuts as 'moderate' and to be 'implemented over time' so I'd say the lastest Poll numbers gave him quite a fright!

And In An Exercise of Balance

What if it all turns out swimmingly in Iraq, despite the Americans? Most of the societies that demoratised did so from internal civil pressure - Portugal, Spain, Eastern Europe, Georgians, Serbs - and there is certainly a force within the Middle East towards secularim. Maybe the American forces can just hold open that crack in the shell long enough for the creature too grow too large for its former home. Even a fledgling democracy is too big for the old shell of Saddam, and also does not fit back easiliy into tribalism.

Maybe all the Americans need to do to get democracy to flourish is stay there. After all, irritation causes pearls.

... Then Again

Some regions of the world are overpopulated with human beings. And, some areas of the world are simply not suitable to be settled in.

I am starting to suspect that these areas are:
Many parts of Africa
Many parts of Australia
The desert States of the USA
Most places with permafrost

Some places you could live in just fine if you had fewer people, and if the people weren't trying to live there permanently. Nomadic life has much to recommend it. Your environmental footprint is small and you spread the pressure on resources.

So next time they ask me to send money to:
Droughts and bushfires in Australia
Droughts and famines in Africa
Save the (Glowing) Nevada widelife
Education For Inuits

I shall write back and ask what they are doing to stop this happening again. I'm only going to donate to one-off emergencies now (for example, a meteor attack, or an invasive rose-bush) Frankly, it's like living in Wellington and expecting *not* to lose your home in an earthquake.

Posted by phreq at 07:17 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 26, 2005

Fighting Chance

The Fight For Life is a good cause. I'm just waiting for a celebrity to be seriously injured so that we can all agree: it's a good cause, but boxing is not the best sport to use.

Quite apart from the amount of violence and brain damage, I feel that boxing keeps women (and smart men) out of involvement. I understand that boxing has drama and unpredictability, so I offer the following propsoal:

Contestants are paired through challenges. If you want to fight someone, you challenge them to a duel (glove slap optional). Then the challenged contestant picks the form of duel:
- Paintball
- Chess
- Consumption of Unpleasant Things
- Trivial Pursuit Questions
- Air Hockey

I'd donate money to see that programme!

(oh, and save the... children/teenagers/various afflicted.)

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June 25, 2005

That's A REAL Concert

Violent electrical storms and flash floods brought chaos to the [Glastonbury] festival yesterday. Lightning tore a hole in the roof of a beer tent and campers were forced to evacuate as fields became submerged in chest-high water. Stewards took to a dinghy to paddle between stricken tents and check on flooded revellers, while a JCB lifted several campers clear of the water in its bucket. - guardian.co.uk

Intervene. The Worst That Can Happen Is A Deep Blush.

I've become an interfering old woman. I see kids not wearing helmets, weaving in and out of rush hour traffic, and I pull over to tell them off. And then call Traffic Patrol. I hand out plastic bags to people who are letting their dogs crap in public space. I call Animal Control when my dog gets threatened. I write emails to politicians.

However there is a bright side. I get involved when people are in trouble. I ask people studying a map if they need a hand. I pull over for vulnerable-looking hitch-hikers. If I see a kid walking along being hassled by other kids, I pull over and ask who they are and what they're doing. I ask kids "Do you need help?" if I see a crying kid being dragged along by someone. The worst that can happen is that I get smacked in the face or make an idiot of myself.

Mills' puppies are gorgeous. Seven days old, their eyes not quite open yet. Ollie has her pups due in a few weeks, and I should be able to tell if Sock is in the family way in a few weeks too.

Sock is currently in residence beneath the heat pump. She hasn't moved in hours. I'm simultaneously fantasizing about winning a non-specific contest involving a lot of money, watching Steve Irwin on TV, and reading the papers.

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June 24, 2005


It's Friday night and I've watched 3 programmes I didn't want to see. I went into town today and it's a nightmare of cars and idiots. There was an LCD screen outside the parking building:
Litchfield: 11
Manchester: Full
Cashel: 3
BlahBlah: 2

That was how many parks were left in each parking building. And unlike most of those 'Hidden Queue' signs and stuff, the numbers were accurate. Every time a vehicle entered or exited the numbers changed.

My aim for this weekend is not to go anywhere near the central city. Lions fans are rampant. I got stuck behind 6 campervans today, and all I did was drive from New Brighton to St. Martins.

Today I cut a story I'd written from 10,360 words to 3,000. You'd be amazed how it focuses a piece of writing. Once I cut the extraneous, indulgent exposition, I was away laughing. (Maniacally)

Campbell Live answers very few of the questions I want answered. Could he be any more grateful to his interviewees? "Oh thank you, oh it's so great to have you here, oh you're amazing, oh my heart is pitter-pattering."


You know what I want? An answer to this email. The original email (I'll forward it to you if you're interested) was sent 21 March. This most recent one I sent 10th of June. No response, as of yet.

Hi Mr Franks,

I’m still very keen to see that response. Any idea of timeframe yet? Particularly interested given your view on the “smacking law” – you know that there’s no point in saying “Oh but I didn’t mean for people to take the law *that* way”. It just doesn’t wash, as I heard you say on radio news this morning. Once it’s in the law people will use it. So how do you defend the legislation *you* introduced?

I’m really, really keen to see that response. Even a draft version would be good.

Thanks again


-----Original Message-----
From: Stephen Franks [mailto:Stephen.Franks@parliament.govt.nz]
Sent: Friday, 22 April 2005 3:57 p.m.
To: [phreq]
Subject: RE: Human Rights Act


Spurred by your challenge I am aiming to write a comprehensive piece, for wide distribution. It has yet to materialise.



If you're pissed off about this guy taking months and months to answer a simple email (email me at phreq@stonesoup.co.nz for a copy of all the dialogue) from a genuine voter/constituent/emailer/shit-stirrer, then email him at Stephen.Franks@parliament.govt.nz and ask him where this comprehensive piece for wide distribution is.

On another topic, today I got a dog bowl, a pair of hand-knitted woollen socks, and a large corner-pillow from the Sallies for $5. Sock has taken over all three.

I love Sock. She is a lovely, complex, delightful personality. I still can't imagine getting another cat yet - Ruby Tuesday was just too special - but having Sock back means I can paint again. It was so strange. While she was away, I couldn't draw or paint anything worthwhile. I don't know why. I'm just intensely grateful that the spark came back with her.

I gave Sock a paw massage today. It's a big thing for a dog to let you handle their paws, so it was really nice to se her completely relax and close her eyes as I rubbed her toes, 'cos it means that she feels safe with me and safe in our house.

You know, having Sock makes me more sure than ever that I should not be a parent. I have so much respect for people who can parent effectively. I find it hard enough to avoid passing on my problems to the dog! Well, not quite - but you know, having to get up and walk the dog twice a day - it does give my life a sense of obligation/purpose even when I don't want to move. But I'd hate to put a kid in that position. It's okay to have a pet because you're "needy", but a child requires a degree of selflessness that I just don't have.

I can't believe the amount of crap I have watched on TV tonight. House was vaguely amusing, America's Next Top Model was predictably vapid, and Rove is an unconnected orgy of clapping and shrill voices.

Posted by phreq at 11:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Groovy Tunes

I've noticed that in some areas of road, there are lines cut in it every 10cm or so. When you drive over it at a set speed, there is a distinct note that sounds. Something to do with resonation and tyres and so on.

What I want to do is, experiment with different spaces between the grooves. I should imagine, the closer together the grooves, the higher-pitched the sound. If that's true, then you could take a straight piece of boring road and turn it into a musical road!

Tomorrow I am going to search for someone in roading to email with this idea for a tourist attraction/art project.

(You could have, as well as those "Welcome to Small Town!" signs, a "Welcome to Small Town!" tune, and in black spots, the Jaws theme might be more effective than those little white crosses.)

Posted by phreq at 08:20 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 23, 2005

Ode To An Old Friend

(to the tune of Little Hunk of Tin)

My zippo was a thing of joy,
It's not a tool and it's not a toy.
Had it for years and it was a friend,
But it's driving me round the bend.

Flick flick scrape curse curse flick try again,
Flick flick

You never go when I need you to,
Temperamental describes you.
Swapped you for a Bic which lights first time,
Don't need to say no more to finish this rhyme.

Flick flick scrape curse curse flick try again,
Flick flick.

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Sing It Fast And No-One Will Notice

What I say is, don't listen to the messenger, hear the message. - Madonna.

Maybe I need some red string to help me make sense of such mysteries.

Not Friendly Is Putting It Lightly

I took Sock for a walk yesterday and a really scary thing happened. I was walking past a house where a new fence was being constructed and there were about 3 builders on-site. There was also a Rottweiler. Sock stopped and the other dog came over and had a sniff. After about 3 seconds I said "come on" to Sock.

At the same moment, a guy yelled "She's not friendly!" and the Rottweiler rushed Sock. I managed to get Sock around behind my legs, but the other dog circled around to charge her again. The dog charged Sock 3 times in all and I honestly think the only reason Sock wasn't mauled is because I had her on a good lead and could manouvre to keep my body between them.

The Rottweiller had no collar (that I could see) and most certainly wasn't tied up, muzzled or restrained in any way. What person in their right mind would have a dog of an agressive breed, that they know to be unfriendly, completely uncontrolled in a city street?

I am going to call animal control today and report the incident. I know that this time it worked out ok, but who knows what could happen next time? Sock did nothing at all aggressive.

Slap Hand Against Cheek, Gasp.

President's George Bush's decision not to sign the United States up to the Kyoto global warming treaty was partly a result of pressure from ExxonMobil, the world's most powerful oil company, and other industries, according to US State Department papers seen by the Guardian.

I'll Have Mine Rare

HAKODATE, Hokkaido -- Lucky Pierrot, a hamburger restaurant chain active mostly in Hokkaido, will begin selling whale burgers on Thursday. - Mainichi

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June 22, 2005

Excluding No Possibility

As omens go, this was pretty bad. "It could be the ancestors; it could be witchcraft," Mokgadi Modjadji, a close female relative and member of the royal family, said after Monday's service. "It could be arson." - nytimes.com

Wises maps are so useful. You can look up pretty much any street or city area and get an up-to-date and prinatble map, for free! Check it out at www.wises.co.nz.

Kiwi FM rocks. Have a listen:
AKL 93.8FM

This month the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences awarded its annual Webby (the online equivalent of an Oscar) for the best art site to Graffiti Archaeology, grafarc.org, a pictorial study of graffiti-covered walls as they evolve. - nytimes.com

Yesterday I read an article that said someone had "riffled through the papers." All of a sudden I thought - "oh no, I've been mispropnouncing it for years!"
But no.

To search with intent to steal.
To ransack or plunder; pillage.
To rob: rifle a safe.

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June 21, 2005

Especially Since It's Not

British farmers have launched a campaign to remove the term "couch potato" from the dictionary because they fear its negative connotations are putting people off buying the vegetable. - guardian.co.uk

I think the first issue to clear up is probably that the potato is neither a fruit nor a vegetable; it's a tuber... (well, broadly it's a vegetable, but I'd like to see a Couch Root campaign) (after 10pm). Second of all, they never remove words from the full-length Oxford dictionary, although little-used words are removed from shorter versions of the dictionary over time. How else would anyone be able to translate Shakespeare?

Oh, and you should read this. Documents that were censored by the Americans, written by an American reporter who sneaked into Nagasaki after the second bomb was dropped. Censored for almost 60 years (come Septerber 22) and interesting to read.

This morning I woke up at 00:32 and have not been able to get back to sleep.

Stupid brain. You go sleep now!
Stupid girl. Be nice to me or I'll give you a migraine!
Sorry, brain. Fine, I'll read the papers for 6 hours.
They'd better not be tabloids... Oh, and would it kill you to provide some Omega 3?

I have a strange craving for pop-tarts. I haven't eaten them in... um... about 8 years. But I just read an article on Social Security and the inventor of pop-tarts was one of the people interviewed for it. He's in his 80's and still eats them, so they can't be all bad. Mmmm. Warm and constructed largely of sugar.

I got a slap in the assumptions yesterday. I was following a very nice, lowered, black-out windows etc CRX and the guy was driving at about 40k in a 60 zone! I was pretty sure it was deliberate because as soon as I changed lanes, he pulled straight over in front of me, slowed way down and I almost smacked into the back of him.

I stood hard on the brakes and raised my hand - not the fingers, more like doing the fingers with your whole hand. A hand came out of the window, waved courteously, and as I accelarated past, I glared at... a terrified, white-haired old man squinting anxiously ahead of him. I don't know where he got those wheels.

Merry Christmas, Grampa! I got you the King Springs Lowering Kit and some blue lights to put around the number plate we got you last year!

Posted by phreq at 03:32 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

June 20, 2005

And I Can See Why

"For a long time, the Japanese Imperial Army announced that, on other islands, the women had been raped and killed, and the men were tied at the wrists and tanks were driven over them," said Mr. Nakamura [...]

"I heard my sister calling out, 'Kill me now, hurry,' " Mr. Nakamura said, recalling how his 20-year-old sister panicked at the approach of American soldiers. His mother took a rope and strangled her. [...]

Minutes later, the Americans took them captive. [...]

His mother lived into her 80's.

"We talked about the war," Mr. Nakamura said. "But to the end, she never once talked about killing her daughter." - nytimes.com

How difficult would that be to live with? For a parent to kill their own child in extreme circumstances, only to find out that those circumstances did not actually exist, god - that would be such a huge thing to carry inside you.

I've just looked up the phrase "point blank" in Dictionary.com:

1 entry found for point blank.
point blank, TX (city, FIPS 58556)
Location: 30.74592 N, 95.21678 W
Population (1990): 443 (372 housing units)
Area: 4.9 sq km (land), 0.8 sq km (water)

Does anyone know the actual origin/meaning of "point blank"?

Posted by phreq at 04:48 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Michael Campbell Got It!

Micahel Campbell won the US Open 2005. He is the first golfer from New Zealand to win the United States Open and the first to win a major since Bob Charles won the British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in 1963. - nytimes.com

Back from hospital, it was good to go in but even better to get out! Finally I have my baby Sock back. I missed her badly! Hopefully (hopefully) puppies in 9 weeks' time.

The phrase 'right away' is puzzling me. 'Right now' I can kinda get, but 'away' is very strange in this context. 'Go away' makes sense, but it's not the same use of the word, is it? Or have I just got a hornet in my taffeta bustle?

Posted by phreq at 03:29 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 17, 2005

Away With The Hairies

Well, probably they're not much more hairy than me. I'm going to be in hospital for a few days, as agreed with my dr. this morning. So I'm home blogging frantically waiting for the call...

Tired and sore. Bed for a day or two sounds inviting (until about the 3rd hour, at which point my brain remembers that I hate hospitals. Then I spend the next 3 hours trying to make them discharge me).

And now, with a late-breaking news story, here's Kermit The Frog:
"Ahem! News to hand indicates that Sock's maidenhead is no more. This means an outside possibility of puppies. So everyone cross your tails, 'kay?"

On a more serious note, I was reading an article about a drug that has been shown to help black men, exclusively.

A study found that black people taking the drug with other heart failure medicines were less likely to die than those given a placebo.

BiDil could be a step toward more personalized medicines that someday would be based on genetic profiles, doctors said. BiDil combines two generic drugs that appeared to help blacks in earlier research, although they failed to do the same for the general population. The heart failure study then was done and found a benefit for black people taking the drug. - nytimes.com

Which is very good news. But what if it were a drug developed specifically for white men suffering from heart failure? Wouldn't there be a storm-in-an-uninformed-teacup? "it's racist", "all the health funding goes to white men", "eveyone ignores the [insert minority]".

You know the sort of thing. I don't think we can help that reaction, necessarily - it's a bit like that arthritis treatment that Pharmac won't fund for anyone over 18. People tend to feel brassed off at any exclusions (well, when they are excluded).

Posted by phreq at 12:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 15, 2005

Oh, Holy Night

Today marks the 350th episode of The Simpsons. I feel fortunate to have lived to see this day. If you call me between 7.30 and 8.00 tonight, you'd better have a good reason. Oh, and some sort of device that reconnects the landline and turns on my cellphone.

Heh heh. It's so confusing having the Lions playing the Lions tonight. Makes it a no-brainer for the commentators/omni-gods to predict the result, I suppose. Lions, Lions, Lions... no, not your Lions! Shuddupa your mouth!

Today it was very cold. I am wearing mainly thermals covered with polar-fleece wrapped up in snuggle-sack and two pairs of socks. Alllllmost warm. I might sleep under the heat pump. Mmmmm... 21 degree air. I can see why people worship fire, sunlight, heat and so forth.

Oh mighty heat pump, supplied beneficiantly by the landlord as required by the council's clean air act, we thank thee for thy bounty of relatively cheap warmth. Behold, I present to thee a sacrifice of hairy m&ms and small pieces of tinfoil. If you want me to eat them for you, please give me absolutely no sign...

thy will be done!

Posted by phreq at 07:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Sounds Complicated

The laws in the bible about menstruation are pretty harsh. You'd have to have a lot of doves or pigeons in stock.

Perhaps that was why women wanted to get married and have kids.
"Sure, I may die in childbirth, but anything's better than being unclean 50% of the time and sacrificing 24 birds a year!"

I don't quite get why the Canadian ambassador's comments were so wrong. He seemed to be making a comment about human nature under different circumstances. When people need each other to survive, they work together. But as soon as that extremity is alleviated, people's natural competitive forces come back to the surface and yeah, we end up fighting, killing and eating each other, usually over sex, ultimately. It happens over and over in history - the Romans, the Inca, the French, the English, the Germans, the Pitcairn Islanders, and yeah, the Maori, have at different times acted in this way.

Posted by phreq at 10:27 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 14, 2005

Tactical Warfare

Is it ethical for my doctor to, instead of prescribing any sort of painkillers, to tell me to continue smoking illegal drugs and drinking alcohol to control the constant pain I'm in? I asked him to put it in writing but he refused. Then I started to argue and he told me I was being hysterical and unreasonable. He gave me sleeping pills and tranquilisers, but no painkillers.

I think doctors find intractable problems an insult to their ego. They find it offensive that I am in pain, and cannot process their favourite drugs, and need something more. They seem to think that, despite the fact I can obviously find other drugs freely in the community, I want to (and need to) spend hours and hours and hours of time and endure insult after insult after insult from doctors in order to find pain relief that works. If I wanted to buy mophine or pethidine on the black market, I could. But I'm (foolishly, I'm coming to suspect) trying to work within the rules.


Doesn't anyone know a crooked doctor?! God! This damn ethical country. I might have to find a Mexican vetinary student or something...

Posted by phreq at 08:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jacko Not Guilty On All Counts

Yep, Michael Jackson was cleared on all ten counts. Charges included kidnapping, false imprisonment, lewd acts on a minor, attempt to commit lewd acts on a minor, supplying a minor with alcohol, drugs and pornography.

Wow. I actually expected a "guilty" on at least some of the less-serious counts.

Posted by phreq at 10:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 12, 2005

What Part Of 'English' Did You Miss?

Sock is almost definitely not pregnant. Damn, damn, damn! She's been shoving her swollen genitalia at male dogs for weeks now... and they just ain't interested. It's not just Charlie Brown, either! We sent her up to the breeder's farm (muttering imprecations against CB) and... nuttin' doing.

WHY?! What is wrong with my poor baby girl? She's pretty and willing, but I guess I just don't understand sexual attraction among English Cockers. Apparently, this 'happens', which is breeder speak for 'not my fault'.

Poor sexually frustrated Sock. Men just won't look at her! The female dogs know she's on heat though. Perhaps I have infected her with lesbianism?

On another topic entirely, I am snuggly warm in my snuggle sack. Thank you Zephfi! I have considered adding pockets, a belt and a hatch at the back, and just settling in until spring.

I reconsidered quickly. But it is nice and warm.

The car had a flat tyre this morning. So I jacked it up and changed the wheel - it took me a while to realise that the easiest way to put pressure on tyre-iron is standing on it, but once I'd got that principle into my semi-conscious, it all went swimmingly, and the wheel hasn't fallen off yet.

Those giant Adidas Haka-Men are just crying out for the addition of humourous genitalia. Aren't they? Or is it just me that thinks that every time I see one? I noticed the big one in the Square is very close to the pig pen.

I can't believe it, but I'm actually following rugby. Without duress! It makes me worry that some day, I will enjoy watching a 5-day test match of cricket. If that ever happens, will someone please shoot me?

The guy breaking his ankle the other day was fun to watch. Also the stamping feature of rugby intrigues me. Push push stomp, run run slam, kick rebound boo run score yay dance! That's good, honest sport. Arrr.

Posted by phreq at 06:32 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Meth Mouth

Yet another reason not to do meth, and this time it's an appeal to your vanity:

Quite distinct from the oral damage done by other drugs, sugar and smoking, methamphetamine seems to be taking a unique, and horrific, toll inside its users' mouths. In short stretches of time, sometimes just months, a perfectly healthy set of teeth can turn a grayish-brown, twist and begin to fall out, and take on a peculiar texture less like that of hard enamel and more like that of a piece of ripened fruit. - nytimes.com

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June 11, 2005

Bonking Bonobos & Deadbeat Dads

Did you know that your closest animal relative may not be the male-domiated, strength-regulated chimpanzee - it may very well be the female-led, sex-drenched bonobo. Male bonobos may have sex up to 3,000 times a day.

The control section of [voles'] DNA expands and contracts in the course of evolution so that members of a wild population of voles, the Emory researchers have found, will carry sections of many different lengths. Male voles with a long version of the control section are monogamous and devoted to their pups, whereas those with shorter versions are less so.

People have the same variability in their DNA, with a control section that comes in at least 17 lengths detected so far, Dr. Young said.

The control mechanism is also present in humans' two closest cousins, the chimpanzee and the bonobo, and bears on a controversy as to which of the two species humans more closely resemble.

Chimpanzees operate territorially based societies controlled by males who conduct often-lethal raids on neighboring groups. Bonobos, which look much like chimps, are governed by female hierarchies and facilitate almost every social interaction with copious sex.

The DNA sequence of humans, chimps and bonobos is generally very similar, but in the section that controls response to the hormone vasopressin, the Emory researchers have found the human and bonobo versions differ significantly from that of the chimp. Though not too much can be deduced from a single gene, the result shows that bonobos should be taken very seriously as a guide to human behavior and that the chimp is not the only model. - nytimes.com

So! Blame your congenital unfaithfulness on... well, it's congenital!

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June 10, 2005

Sin Is Not Chocolate

I'm getting increasingly toey about the use of the concept of sin in advertising. It seems like we've changed a sin from being a grave moral error to being a chocolate biscuit or some low-fat chips.

Why wasn't that evil bastard Capill described as a sinner? He makes me so angry. Head of the fucking Christian Heritage Party, and at the same time, molesting little girls. He was moralising about the evils of homosexuals at the same time as he was shoving his greedy fingers down a little girl's pants.

I hope you hang yourself, Capill. What would Jesus do? He'd spit on your worthless prick, that's what he'd do.

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June 09, 2005

If I Die Befpre I Wake

Please, donate my organs. Please. From blood to liver to heart to corneas, please, donate my body parts.

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They Have Pooh On Nappies Now

Man it was so cold today. I walked into town and back, and my ears were so cold they were really aching! I think it's just sarcastic for the weather-reader to refer to seven degrees as a "high".

My muse has left me, I think. I haven't painted anything decent in weeks. Come back, musie! It might be not having Sock around, actually. There's probably a certain level of chaotic destruction required for creative work.

Huggies has brought out a line of nappies with Winnie The Pooh on them.

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Listen To This

A 17-year-old New Zealand woman won the International Song Writing Competion. Go to the website and listen to the MP3 of Hallelujah. I cry every time I listen to this song. She wrote it about her father, who died of cancer. It's an amazing song, and she has a really unique voice.

Absolutely stunning.

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June 08, 2005

VISA - Fend Off Reality A While Longer

The VISA ad with the Orang-utans is annoying me. Number one, Orangs don't really eat bananas too often in the wild. Their diet is largely leaves. But more importantly, Orangs are solitary, except when mating. They have no interest in working together like chimpanzees or some species of monkey. A baby Orang stays with its mother for a few years, and then leaves to stake out their own, solitary territory.

The drinking age debate is a bit irrational. Come on. Be consistent. Either 18 is a child or 18 is an adult, within the law.

At 18, I can:
- Get married without parental consent
- Have children
- Apply for the dole
- Hold a full-time job
- Get adult minimum wage
- Assume responsibility for debts
- Declare bankruptcy
- Purchase property
- Hold a full drivers' licence
- Be sued
- Hold a passport and travel overseas
- Obtain a credit card
- Be tried as an adult
- Be required to serve on jury
- Be put in prison
- Be drafted and sent off to die for Mother England on some godforsaken rock...

But I can't have a drink? At my own wedding?

Posted by phreq at 09:38 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

That's A Spicy Meatball

Eight tonnes of hashish seized off the coast of Spain, apparently bound for Britain.

Sigh. I wish I had eight ton of hashish. Street value, 22 million pounds. I would sell half and use the rest to slowly embalm myself through a steady smoking treatment.

Mmmm... unlikely jerky.

Actually, jerky is dried. But you get the idea.

hypothetically, (since I hate boats) if I got a boat and lived in international waters, would I be able to grow, use and sell drugs with impunity? Or are there some sort of rules that govern international waters?

Reminder: New episode of The Simpsons on tonight at 7.30 on TV3.

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June 07, 2005

Quick Bacon

As I was travelling home yesterday, I saw probably about 15 cop cars. At least 2 of them passed me (I was doing 105) and vanished into the distance - speeding significantly - with no lights on, and no sirens.

There is also this article in the Press about a crash between a cop car and another vehicle on a Christchurch road.

It reminds me of a guy I know who had a drug problem. He decided to book himself into rehab to deal with it. At the first group therapy session, he recognised the two nurses facilitating the discussion: he knew them from way back, and he'd taken drugs with them at a party only a few weeks before.

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June 06, 2005

Flying Doctor (But Neither)

I sent a text to a mate of mine on Saturday morning. I told her of my new cellphone number and also mentioned our mutual friend who suicided.

Uhm. It was her best friend and -oops- I'd just assumed she'd been told first, and went to the funeral even. So I called her rather than texted her to confirm the sad news and she was devastated.

I don't feel comfortable leaving my mate Tigger with news like that. She's going through enough hard stuff at the moment and really trying to make positive moves in her life, and I didn't want this to derail things. So I packed into the Scud and we did a mish to Invers. I've never been past Dundas before so it was interesting to see the rest of the country. In fact, I even saw Stewart Island (through a mist, dimly). Stayed with a friend of Tig's called Shan, and her incredibly drunk brother who came home and had a pleasant conversation with us, inbetween staggering out onto the balcony to be violently ill over the side. Three times.

We had a really neat couple of days together, and after a very comfy night in Tigger's spare room I left Invers at a civilised 8am and arrived back in Chch seven-and-a-half hours later. Very very light traffic (only 15 or so annoying slow people, and most of them were polite and moved over... eventually) and the roads were dry and there wasn't much roadworks. Apart from some idiots on motorcycles (brass monkey returnees) and some more with caravans, the trip was very pleasant. And I did the entire trip on ONE tank of gas.

It's an ecomonomical missle, officier! (I didn't get pulled over once, which is the great thing about an old-but-well-maintained-4-door-sedan. The cops assume if you had enough money to be up to no good, you'd have a better car. Tigger has a very classy electric-everything 2-door pretty thing and gets pulled over constantly. Mind you, the cops in Invers know her. So to speak.)

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June 04, 2005

Do They Ship For Free?

Russia has a website featuring 180,000 children available for adoption. You can search by gender, eye and hair colour, and view photos and profiles online.

Ethiopia also has a crisis of orphans, many of them AIDS orphans. They're trying to smooth the official channels as much as possible, because the state realises that it's their only hope for survival. Ethiopia is so poor and ravaged a country, they cannot possibly offer these children any more than eventual starvation.

The situation between Australia and Indonesia is escalating rapidly.

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June 03, 2005

Pax Rodentia

I have mice that visit the cupboards under the sink. I think they come in from outside through the holes in the weatherboards. I don't like to kill needlessly or heedlessly, so instead of traps and poison, we've reached a happy solution. I took all the food out of the cupboard except for tin cans. Every day I put a couple of pieces of dog kibble in the cupboards, and the mice don't bother going any further in search of food.

I read the book Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence. I'd always heard that it was a 'scandalous' book, but figured it would be prudish Edwardians getting upset over the mention of ankles. Well, I was mistaken. LCL is actually quite explicit! A lot of very detailed descriptions of sexual congress and post-coital murmurings.

You And Whose Army? - Friday Theme

Sigh. I wish I had an army. An army of dogs! I'd use terriers for infantry, seeing as I don't rate terrier breeds much. Boxers, Dobermans and Ridgebacks would make up the heavy troops and Mastiffs would be the military police. Spaniel breeds make good medics, and it's almost impossible to withstand an interrogating poodle.

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June 02, 2005

Knocking Up Sock

Sock is around at Deb's place getting knocked up. I really miss her. I think it's just going to upset her if I go over there and see her without bringing her home, so I just have to be patient I suppose.

Curses! I can't remember the rules for patience.

I've read a couple of good books recently - I recommend Fish of the Seto - Inland Sea by Ruri Pilgrim.

You know, there's a couple of sayings that are confusing me. I've always thought it was all told, but the other day I read in the nytimes.com all tolled. Same thing with tender hooks, which seems to have become tenterhooks.

According to Dictionary.com all told is correct, but tenterhooks is right, not tenderhooks.

(Apparently, a tenterhook is a hooked nail used to secure cloth on a tenter)
(Apparently, a tenter is a framework on which milled cloth is stretched to dry)
(I thought a tender-hook was like a butcher's hook used to hang meat to age. But that brilliant piece of logic was rather off-beam)

All in all, I'd rather be impaled on a tenter-hook than a tender-hook.

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June 01, 2005

Back, Getting Balanced

I took a few days off and spent some time with a mate of mine, which was nice. Kind of hiding, in a way - no news, no internet, no tv. I really noticed how I have to watch my food so carefully - I slipped up while I was away and yesterday didn't really eat enough - a couple of bits of bread and some popcorn. Today I woke up and foolishly didn't have breakfast.

By ten, I kid you not, I was crying uncontrollably (for absolutely no reason). Then I got on the bus to go out to the airport and I started shaking like crazy and then sweating. All over my head and neck and body started to feel that prickly-detached starting-to-faint sort of feeling, and then I almost threw up.

I got a chocolate bar from a vending machine but I couldn't eat it. Finally when I got home I had some milk and a banana and things have started to settle down. Scary though. It's like, I miss a couple of meals and my body is so empty of stored anything that it reacts like I've been starving for a week.

I'm pretty sure that it's an electrolyte imbalance that provokes it. And it's usually when I go away for a few days and my eating patterns (tentative and fragile as they are) get disturbed. It's the same thing that happened my last couple of trips up to Welly. So either I'm allergic to Wellington, or I need to eat better.

Probably the allergy one, ay?

Posted by phreq at 03:34 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack