Saturday, November 28, 2009

twenty glimpses of New Zealand.....

....taken from some two thousand (give or take 1700) sent by my Dad!

well, the kind folk of New Zealand have been kind enough to allow some images of their fair country to be sent on to my mail address, and thus i am obliged, indeed compelled, to share some of the pictures with you all. it has been rather tricky cutting down the number of pics to a reasonable amount to post here (complaints? set your own site up, Dad!), but i think i have got some of the finer moments; if you allow for the crash helmet ride thing posts from earlier.

starting off with one likely to get me into trouble, well, as we have seen in other pictures, my Dad has a rather good knack of attracting the attention of men who are good with colours, and indeed jump over puddles. if he wishes to discourage this sort of thing, he may want to refrain from engaging in certain Elton John activities like this.....

....let's hope no one waved and said "coo-eee" to him!

to get the majority of my likely-to-cause-trouble comments out the way, well, just for the gentlemen who take a shine to my Dad, here he is proudly standing and showing off an absolutely massive eruption.

as a sister of mine, who shall remain anonymous (you can thank me for protecting your identity Gillian), goes and puts her moody boots on when i get the names of places in New Zealand wrong, i am obliged to tell you that i think the above was taken at a place called 'Whakarewerewa Thermal Village'. i'm no scientist or owt, but isn't "thermal" what they make those missiles out of? a rather strange thing to construct a village from, if you ask me, but you didn't.

now then, despite my lack of official scientific credentials, here's photographic evidence that some things do indeed remain as a constant throughout the universe.

i cannot add to the above, really.

moving on, and of course Daniel and Katie get very excited when Grandma and Grandad arrive in town. there are many reasons for this, but looking at Daniel & Katie's expression, i would suggest one close to the top of the list of reasons for the excitement is that "Grandad always gives us beer".

i imagine as he is reading this Dad is proclaiming some sort of innocence and suggesting someone else gave them it. leaving that aside, another great thing of having Grandad in particular around is that you get to dig up and bury a whole range of things.

nice one, good to see Dad being such a good sport about exactly what was being buried here. i have no doubt that one can get sand out of a notebook laptop netbook thingie. eventually....

ah, now then, there's being cool, there's being super-cool, there's being sub-zero, there's being Ian Brown and then there's being Daniel!

what can i say? an excellent, excellent outfit!

New Zealand are famous for their sheep, of course. they have millions of them, possibly running wild and certainly at the least running whenever Grant happens to [TEXT OBSCURED ON LEGAL ADVICE]. with so many sheep it must be a particularly extraordinary sheep to stand out from the, erm, herd or pack - oh, it's flock, isn't it, in any sense, let alone be so special that the sheep has a statute but in its honour.

whatever New Zealand have in sheep it would seem that they lack in postal staff. not sure why they included this pic for me - perhaps they were inspired by my various discoveries of miracles of the Post Office here, or maybe they think i should fly over and do it?

being a Postie sounds like an ace job, really. at least i would make sure that things got delivered to people!

now then, behold a trilogy of trampoline pictures! the Farnworth family would appear to consider a garden as no more than a location for a massive trampoline, and who are we to argue?

Daniel and Katie would appear not to argue as such, but all the same would certainly seem to consider Grandad placed on top of a trampoline as being a better bouncing facility than just the standard trampoline!

and, looking at this shot of Grant giving it some, one can only assume that shepherds have taken to putting really large (tall?) fences around their cherished flocks, look at the height he can jump!

Grandad's can always be counted on to teach you things that you had never really considered before. like, for instance, a trampoline is all very well for playing on and having fun, but it is also a great location for a nice afternoon nap!

there wasn't in the thousands of images all that many of everyone at once - in fact, there was only the one that i recall, and that one is the one i present here. i think it's them all on one of those "sky car" things, taking them up that mountain where Grandad will shove helmets on them all and shove them down the hill in the snow-free sledge thingie.

ah, see - they did get most of the sand out of Grandad's laptop notebook thingamajig! here he is showing Katie and Daniel how, thanks to the marvels of modern technology, you can place a wager and see how rubbish Middlesbrough are doing from any point in the world!

oh go on then ladies, here's Grant doing one of those "poses" you usually see gents doing on those more peculiar social interwebnet site thingies......

...if only sheep could access the world wide web. moving on, and as has been mentioned before, Mum & Dad celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary whilst in the fine and fair land of New Zealand. nice one, looks like a lovely time!

and, to mark the occasion, off they went for a nice dinner. Mum of course always looks good; it is with sheer, unbridled delight that i note that Dad decided not to go out in a shirt that he had spilled his breakfast and lunch all over!

next up is Dad helping Katie with a present he selected and took over for her. James and i had the pleasure of being there as Dad just randomly grabbed something off the shelf and said "she will like this". we asked if he was sure, and he said yes. in fairness, Katie does appear to love it, but i am not at all sure Dad is ready for the extra amount of gentlemen he will attract to himself by having purple beads in his hair....

as well as Mum & Dad's anniversary, the last month has also seen Katie turn 4. now, we knew on this side what they were getting for her as a present, but Katie was not sure. owing to the insanely brilliant, internationally renowned wrapping skills of Gillian and Grant, i am sure Katie was completely thrown of the scent of the notion that a lovely new bicycle awaited her....

and, if i may be so bold, may i say what a nice touch it was to use absolutely every different type of style and design of wrapping paper available in New Zealand. did that help to maintain the element of surprise?

blimey, how many pictures have i put here? pressing on, and to balance out the image of Grant, here's one of Gillian, apparently caught unaware that anyone was near with a camera....

and finally, one of Daniel getting ready to go off and perform the trick or treat rituals of Halloween. now, in years to come, he will claim that his sister made him dress like this....

good luck, hope people buy that story!

well, i think that will do for current pics from New Zealand for now, readers. i dare say i have managed to miss out all the ones that my Dad liked the most, as in the ones where he isn't prancing about on a tennis court or has purple things in his hair. if it looks like it will make for an easier Christmas i shall certainly put some more pics of his nomination up; otherwise that's yer lot....

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

a sunny (early) morning at the zoo....

hey everyone

well, despite telling James on Friday night that he was free to sleep as long as he wished for on Saturday morning, he was up at 6:30. this means that i was up at this time, too. James had clearly had an interesting dream, as he woke up with one sole purpose - a visit to the zoo.

not a bad idea, as it happens, but not the best in terms of timing. James was (eventually) persuaded to let the animals sleep for a bit, in particular as the zoo only opens up at 10. after breakfast, and indeed selected highlights of The Phantom Menace, off James and i went to his beloved Lory Park Zoo!! Mummy, being a few days away from baby due date, wisely opted to stay home and rest!

before we get to the beautiful animals at Lory Park, there's one of the other reasons James loves going there - the ace play park for children!

as well as the climbing frame / jungle gym thing, they usually have the bouncy castle on the go, which James has no problem at all with.

it has been a couple of months since our last trip to Lory Park, and my have they made some changes! for a start, when you walked in you used to go straight to the meerkat (or mongoose, as James insists on calling them) house. well, you do now still go straight to the meerkat, but no more house for them - they've built a really ace enclosure for them!

another new thing at Lory Park are signs everywhere warning that the animals bite, and that you shouldn't put your fingers through the cages. now, dear reader, to you and i this would seem like common sense. alas, there have been one or two incidents of children putting their fingers in to play with the animals(or possibly just to tease them), and of course parents have gone barmy blaming the zoo.

having seen how some parents just let their children run around unattended at Lory Park whilst they sit to eat and drink i've always had a suspicion that blaming animals for biting an intruder into their living space was always a bit of a cover for what we can really only call neglect. look, if you will, at this picture.

yep, whereas James was happily sitting and watching the meerkats playing away and eating the nuts he had given them, the girl behind him (and two other boys) decided it was OK to climb in. now, there was only so much i could do, which was to tell them that they shouldn't be doing that and thus should get out now. of course i was ignored. their parents, assuming they were even there, were nowhere to be seen. should one of the kids had a scratch or bite, who do you think they would have blamed?

right, moving off my soap box and on to the true treats of Lory Park, here's some pictures for all you tiger lovers, Elaine in particular if you visit my site!

as i said, it was a really hot day today, and thus the male tiger there was wisely having a little cool down when we walked past him!

it was that hot that it would have been very tempting to jump in with him! however, thankfully there were a good number of signs around warning that the tiger would probably bite anyone and anything entering his domain, so James and i just settled for finding a strawberry milkshake instead!

and, speaking of animals that are likely to bite you, ladies and gentlemen, the king!

he really is a beauty, and i have pictured him here as he was carefully stalking / pacing a rather nice looking kids party happening right next to him! i am sure they would have loved to give the lion some birthday cake, we can only trust that they didn't pass him some!

last, and certainly not least, here's a look at some of the new members of Lory Park. first up here is who James calls "his new friend", a beautiful puma!

James was mesmerized by the puma, and that's putting it mildly! he really didn't wish to see anyone else after he met the puma - i think given the chance he would still be sat there watching him or her!

the puma certainly took a shine to James too, as he/she walked up and down following James, and then sat down and look at James as he sat and looked at him or her. the puma didn't seem too interested in playing with any other children like this - either the puma really took a shine to James, or just likes his excellent Wall-E t-shirt i guess!

for some odd reason, James was not as enamoured with the baby pumas. this was a shame as i love them to bits! i thus couldn't go and see the three of them for as long as i would have liked, but did manage to get one picture!!

well, what a lovely morning out! hope the pics are OK, i didn't take the camera with so they are off my phone.

if you are in the area, Lory Park is well worth the trip to go and see the lovely animals, and indeed the staff are dedicated and very friendly. oh, and if you take children to any zoo, if you don't think they are quite bright enough not to stick fingers through cages or climb into areas, maybe keep an eye on them!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

movie reviews.....

hey everyone

well, thanks to the joys of DVD (and a number of Michele's "rubbish" TV shows finishing), we have been able to catch up on one or two (well, two) 2009 movie releases at last!

first up is the apparently "controversial" Brüno. following on from Ali G and Borat, this is Sasha Baron Cohen's third attempt at effectively the same thing - using social, cultural stereotypes to trick people into given preposterous, embarrassing answers to carefully worded/loaded questions. nothing new, then, but the lack of originality doesn't stop it being sporadically rather funny.

the last two Cohen characters had to progressively be more outrageous to get laughs, and this is something that reaches a presumed zenith in this film. the amount of times one gets to see Brüno sans clothes, let alone engaged in various "activities", presumably tested the patience of what you could get away with showing in a mainstream film, and it's hard to foresee circumstances where the content of this, if not the humour, is topped.

a great many of the incidents in the film seem contrived and staged, but you would hope that one or two of the moments that cause you to laugh out loud are genuine incidents of catching people off-guard. as outrageous and outlandish as some of the moments are to get laughs, it is one of the more simple incidents - the "exclusive interview with Harrison Ford" that Brüno obtains - which gets the biggest laughs. on the basis of that, i would suggest that Sasha Baron Cohen is talented and intelligent enough to venture into less extreme territory next time but still produce bellyaching laughs. this is no bad thing.

next up is a film that i have been looking forward to seeing for what feels like the majority of the year, Moon. it's the debut film from the admired Duncan Jones (for details of his famous father, see "rest of internet") and features the increasingly impressive Sam Rockwell, as well as (sort of) Kevin Spacey. in the case of the latter, it's hard to dislike Spacey, but he has been making it easy to do just this with some really bad choices of films of late.

now, i am going to do my best to make this review spoiler-free, but with such a minimalist plot, it's going to be tricky......

in essence, Sam Rockwell plays Sam Bell, a resource engineer alone on the Moon bar a computer assistant, GERTY (Kevin Spacey), who mines the requirements to keep Earth's energy supplies going and sends them back to the world. His three year shift doing this is coming to a close, and then he makes some discoveries......

..and that's all i dare say, really. with such limited scope (and this is not meant as a bad comment) it's hard to discuss the film without giving anything away, and it's that good i'd rather let all and sundry watch and enjoy for what it is rather than telling them why!

there are things to say about the film that don't give anything away. like, for instance, what a great talent Duncan Jones is. he has in interviews not objected to discussing his father, David Bowie, at all - in confidence he says "one day it won't be people saying Duncan Jones, son of David Bowie, it will be people saying Duncan Jones, whose father is a singer". it was quite a wait to see this film, i very much look forward to his next. and then there's Sam Rockwell. i have yet to see a bad performance from him (this film, Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind and Choke being the outstanding works), surely it's only a matter of time before he is spoken of as one of the greatest actors of this generation.

well, there you go. two films that are in no way a waste of 90 minutes for you to consider! as we are coming up to "best of the year list" time, i would imagine Moon is at the top, unless i remember something or other i saw earlier on!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

New Zealand Head Protetction Deployment

hey everyone

well, after my observations around crash helmets in general and crash helmets worn in New Zealand when my Dad has a good idea (click here), Gillian is rather adamant that i say what the helmets are for. if "adamant" is sending me two mails and leaving a comment here, of course.

the crash helmets are worn to provide a measure of safety on something called a "luge ride", something that i think takes place in the magnificent, mountainous region of New Zealand known to the locals as Rotorua, and indeed known to visitors as Rotorua.

at a guess i would say that a "luge ride" is some sort of snow free sledge ride, which in fairness looks quite class and a lot less colder than a traditional snow sledge ride!

Grandad and Katie certainly seemed to think this was a very cool thing!

i would probably wish to wear a crash helmet doing that too. and knee, elbow and everywhere you can think of pads, as i would probably go flying off on the first corner!

right then, hope that makes Gillian happy! i have several thousand other pics from New Zealand as hinted at, will do my best to put them up here soon!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tom Jones in a telephone box

hey everyone

nothing really, i just saw Tom Jones on a TV show recently and recalled a rather splendid picture of him using a telephone box. thanks to the magic of the internet, i have found the picture.

and by happy accident, when i found this one i found an image of Tom with The King, Elvis Presley and two people who are not The King, Elvis Presley.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum

hey everyone

there's a school of thought, right, that in an ideal world, dudes just walk around in brown leather tanned waistcoats, wearing sensational battered flares and awesome boots. they have nomadic, Viking like straight flat long hair with a straight cut fringe that has the style of being flattened and kept in place by a helmet. the dudes all either have beards, or awe inspiring sideburns that make Vegas era The King, Elvis Presley appear closer to a skinhead than anything else.

such an ideal world needs the correct soundtrack. that correct soundtrack would most certainly be West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum by the excellent Kasabian.

from the opening trilogy of Underdog, Where Did The Love Go? and Swarfiga right through to the penultimate track, my favourite Fire, this, ladies and gents, is one hell of an album.

Kasabian appear to be the only "new" band making decent, proper records. and, by my word, do they do it in some style. buy this album and play it loud.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

all things head protection related

hey everyone

i wouldn't say that i have a really big issue with crash helmets and things like that, but i do sometimes wonder if they are always necessary. i mean, for a bike, skateboard or something earth related then i understand. protective headgear in construction and mining work is certainly a given, if for no other reason than to give one that rather cool "construction worker out of the Village People" look.

however, the further into the skies one goes, the point of such a device is surely less and less relevant. i think it was the great Jerry Seinfeld that once puzzled over skydivers wearing helmets; his comment was something like "the moment you leave the plane, the helmet is wearing you for protection". fighter pilots wear them too, but not people on "civilian aircraft". i think fighter pilots wear them for the microphone thing, though, so they can go "schhhhhh roger roger, bogey at 10-15" or something.

however, if something higher in the sky involves my Dad, then i would say that wearing some sort of head protection is always a very good idea. to be quite frank, doing anything my Dad thinks is a good idea invariably, really. he is not against, for example, sending me down a slide to see if the concrete is set, or sending James over a bridge to see if it is stable.

so then, whereas usually i would suggest a helmet at a height is a waste of time, it has to be said that i am delighted to see that Katie wisely has one on as she goes up some sort of "sky lift" in New Zealand!

now, Gillian gets all funny when i can't be bothered to look up the proper names of places in New Zealand, in particular when she has taken the time to send the actual name on. according to the mail dad sent, this is taken at Skyline Rotorua Luge. i can only hope that this is correct!

either way, it looks quite a class ride! i am not sure what one could see from the top of wherever the ride takes them, but i dare say it was an ace view.

there are several (thousand) other pictures of New Zealand to upload, but alas i have not gotten around to it yet. will do soon!

in the mean time,

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

for my mate Norman.....

....and, what the heck, everyone else who seems so impressed by this "iphone" business!

they look impressive and all that, but i quite like buttons on things.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

summer is here, allegedly

hey everyone

well, according to the seasons, we are in summer now. according to the skies, however, we seem to be in winter, or possibly autumn. yesterday had some drizzling rain; this afternoon brought an outright deluge with roads being flooded.

cold winds and rain in summer isn't necessarily a reason to be gloomy, however. James, for instance, seems positively thrilled with the current climate conditions!

yes, i know, i probably shouldn't let him jump up and down in puddles, in particular when he's stood next to me, but what the heck, it is rather good fun!!

the forecast for the next few days does not look at all good in regards of the visiting team from England for tomorrow night - just as well that i did not purchase tickets! in the mean time, if this global warming carries on like this, well, i will have to get some more jumpers and a rain coat.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

new emblem for the French....

"I will be honest, it was a handball,but I'm not the ref. It would have been better to do it in another way, but as I said, I'm not the ref."

-T Henry, 18 November 2009.

well, since they are so honest and open about it, i see no reason at all why the French should not be forced to wear this with pride....

every genuine fan in the world feels very sorry for Ireland. as for the French, well, let us just hope they get three good hidings and then sent home early in disgrace next year!

class answers to curious exam questions

hey everyone

one of those excellent articles appeared in The Daily Mail today that we all love. you know, ones where you get really strange answers to what some would consider straightforward enough exam questions.

impressively, The Daily Mail limited their usual right wing "the world is all doomed" paranoia to the healdine, and just lets get people get on with enjoying the answers. here are a few of the better ones they have on display!

first off, has anyone proved that this is in fact not true?

and who could argue with the logic behind this answer?

for all we know this admittedly short answer might be the case of someone questioning our understanding of modern biology.....

likewise, if this was part of a phonetically given exam, you could understand the answer given. in written form, alas......

i have no idea if the next one is close to the truth or not, either way the person giving the answer clearly has a soft spot for her anyway....

has the person who gave this answer never seen how well dressed the members of Duran Duran and Slade are?

i love the mathematical correction to the below answer!

what have the Romans ever done for us was a question from a famous, funny film. given us the ability to talk, according to this student!

what's the problem with this answer?

and a final one.....smoking and cycling? wow, no wonder he was knighted.....

methinks it will be a very good idea to purchase the book that these all came from! F In Exams: The Best Test Paper Blunders by Richard Benson would be the name of it, and it sounds like a most excellent idea for a Christmas gift!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!