Lyndon Hood - Man With Plan, Lower Hutt

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Wanted: Flash developer with too much time on hands

Soon, it will be Christmas. A time of togetherness and love. A time where we pause to contemplate the humanity of all those around us - even our enemies. A time for us to recognise the things that we share in common.

In that spirit, I have a proposal for a seasonal web toy based on something that has caused unprecidented unanimity among New Zealand bloggers: mocking our new Foreign Minister.

I call it "Pin the Baubles on Winston".

Imagine the scene. The leader of the New Zealand First Party in a pot in your living room. You with a bottomless box of baubles. Hours of fun!

Come to think of it, imagine it in an office instead. The office of baubles!

Of course there should probably be more to it than that. I wouldn't want people to experience the disappointed expectations I felt with the Don Brash Flip-Flop-O-Matic (which now seems to be gone). It sounded like he would do acrobatics! But he didn't! There should have been a different trick for every flip-flop. That way, people would have falling over themselves to see all of them.

Plus, if there'd been a button that made him go "aeh" whenever you clicked on it, I would have been addicted.

So at the very least the should be a way to turn the lights out and have your baubles flash on and off. And a gallery with pics other people's bauble-icious masterpieces.

Actually, I have whole a bunch of ideas, and I reckon I could hold up the illustration end. I just don't have the software or the expertise for everything else.

And that, gentle reader-who-knows-about-this-stuff, is where you come in. C'mon. You know it has to happen. Get in touch if you think you can help.

For free, of course, but it'll look bitchin in your CV.

Kelly Pendergrast - gaining weight rapidly, San Diego

On Thursday it was Thanksgiving. Or "Starchgiving" as I now like to call it. And, of course, being a non-American, this Thanksgiving was my first one.

I knew it was coming up because my neighbours erected a giant inflatable sculpture of a turkey wearing a pilgrims hat and holding a knife and fork (in the same way, I knew when Halloween was impending because of the giant inflatable jack-o-lantern). I was invited to a Thanksgiving dinner and told to bring a side dish and maybe a desert. So I made onion tarts, bread, and an experimental apple-blueberry pie. Mmm mmm.

Since the dinner was hosted by grad students and attended mostly by grad students, there was possibly less familial argument and football watching than most Thanksgivings' have. However, there was the obligatory alcohol-imbibing and food-stuffing. Someone even made a beautiful turkey. I didn't eat it, being of the vegetarian persuasion, but I could have had an "unturkey", a wheat protein mound shaped like a turkey, with fake little wings and even an authentic soy-protein "skin". Uuuugh. Aside from the poultry, there was: sweet potato mash (I don't even know what sweet potato is, somewhere between a kumara and a pumpkin and something else, I guess), potato gratin, pasta salad, rosemary bread, roasted chickpeas, brussel sprouts, green beans, and green salad. Now, I don't know about you, but that seems like a lotta lotta starch. Strange that the US is so obsessed with the evil of carbohydrates, when Thanksgiving is practically a celebration of the joy of carbs.

Also there was apple pie, apple pie, apple and blackberry pie, pumpkin pie, some other weird thing, meringues, profiteroles, and little pinwheel spice things.
Gwaaaar! (That is the sound of me eating).

I don't know how newsworthy this all is, but sometimes we just need to take a little time and remember how wonderful it is to eat until you can eat no more.

Oh yeah, and something about remembering that time some Native Americans bailed out the dumbass pilgrims as well. I forget the details.

Wooh! Food!

Lyndon Hood - Coincidence, Lower Hutt

Monday, November 21, 2005

Forgive me if I livejournalise, but I have a novel incident to relate.

On Saturday night the WIT (Wellington Improvisation Troupe) - including me - did a show. We called it "The Lab", by way of indicating that we were trying stuff out.

One of the thing we were trying out was a revival of the 'Micetro' format, invented by improv guru Keith Johnstone (scroll down). The less said about the details, the sooner I finish writing this post. Suffice to say, at the end of the evening one player wins. They are the 'Micetro'.

It was agreed that it went very well. I'll let you know for the next one.

Now. Something happened after the show which, for the benifit of those Fighting Talk readers who are not also members of WIT, I present for your diversion.

Most of us toddled across the road to the Cambridge for a drink. And not long into that someone notice that one of the horses in the lineup for the next chariot race (you know, with the little buggies - whatever they call them) was "The Maestro".

Well how about that.

There was a clear favourite - not The Maestro - whose odds, despite lengthening suddenly just before the race - were a lot shorter than everyone else's. Then there were about a half dozen other horses the collective reasoning of the punters put ahead of The Maestro.

A couple of WITsters put a little money down. The one who bet two bucks each way didn't win quite so much.

The Maestro led for the whole race and won.

Now, how unlikely something is depends primarily on what conditions are or aren't taking into account. I'm not going to embark on investigation of the probabilties of horseracing, and I'm not going to try and find out if anyone out there, for example, bet their life savings on some even more sychronicitous nag and lost.

And of course I'm one of those people who think that some things in this life happen just because.

Still. Oooo.

New Hood: Satirist 'Apologises' to Howard

I can't pretend that this is the whole of my thinking on the matter, but it never is, is it? Anyway, it might seem more relevant and less self-indulgent if you imagine that it's the middle of last week and the streets are full of unionists.

Lyndon Hood - Sympathiser, Lower Hutt

Monday, November 14, 2005

Seeing as tomorrow's the 15th, I thought you should all be reminded of something. After all, I was, in my own small way, involved. I wouldn't want this information to be forgotten at such a critical moment.

Random Contributionz's Millie, nigh on a week ago, wrote that Australia was "apparently" under threat of imminent attack, issued a warning to the Australian diplomatic posts in Wellington and Auckland and specified a date of November 15.

Millie has previously show Jihadi connction with such statements as ... um ... nothing.

Millie's 'more' link went to a page about protests against Howard's draconian employment legislaton.

Still with me? Right then.

David Farrar rapidly picked up on the post. If he got the point - and if he didn't then it has to be said the joke about his view is in unusually poor taste - he clearly failed to pass this understanding on to his readers.

At least one of whom was apparently a journalist. Who either couldn't be assed clicking through two sets of links before calling the cops or who has a really lousy ability to comprehend satire.

On the front page of the next day's Herald (which has gone premium [Update: A helpful reader points out that the Herald story was not premium, merely mislaid - It can be found here]):
However, an anonymous internet claim that there is a threat to the Australian High Commission in Wellington next Tuesday is not being dismissed, although its authenticity can not be judged.

The Australians are due that day to co-host a function at Parliament for new MPs.


Assistant Commissioner Peter Marshall said there was no evidence or information to suggest there was any threat to any establishment or organisation in New Zealand.

"However, we will thoroughly examine any current and ongoing information to maintain vigilance against any possible threat to New Zealand security," he said.
The story was, it seems, checked out by a rather more levelheader NZPA staffer, in a story picked up by a couple of Australian news outlets, or a least their websites. For instance, The Age:
A claim of an anonymous "threat" against Australian diplomatic posts in Wellington and Auckland this month appears to be linked to protests against Australia's new industrial relations reforms.


In an apparently tongue-in-cheek reference to Australia's new counter-terrorism laws, which were rushed through last week in response to allegations of an impending terrorist attack, two New Zealand internet blogging sites warned authorities would have to contend with "fierce resistance from what are reported to be insurgent nationals".

Somewhere in amongst all that Millie issued an response to Farrar and then claification to the world at large.

Farrar has since blogged about the coming protests, making no obvious effort to draw the connection. [Update: DPF, apparently having some sort of bad hair day, has mentioned Millie's 'dupe' in the course of a big ole grump - though without explicitly saying if he was a ... um ... dupee]

So anyway, you have been warned.

[Protest details here]

New Hood: International Briefs

One Law For All: A French Success Story
Bush Clarifies Position on Torture
Watching Opening of New Zealand Parliament Turns Queen into Republican

Lyndon Hood - mourner, Lower Hutt

Monday, November 07, 2005

Rod Donald

Ditto. And this is really just a longer, more self-indulgent version of Hamish's post.

If it makes any difference, I want to extend my sympathies to Rod's family, friends and colleagues. It's a tragic loss and a sudden one. He will be sorely, and widely, missed.

Right now, Scoop has the reactions of parties and, down the page, other groups and individuals to Rod's passing (Update: Those releases are now here). There are a lot of them. DPF has links to news articles, PC is indexing blog reaction, and info and online condolences are at frogblog.

Based on the radio feedback, it sounds like many supporters of other parties hope for a Rod of their own one day.

There is a plenty of love out there, and a whole lot of respect.

So, Rod Donald is dead. The only MP ever to tell Critic that his favorite films were Battletruck and Rocky Horror.

I spoke to Rod for Scoop before the election. One thing I recall was that he had an uninterruptable way of talking; I realised he was actually taking the breath after starting a new sentence. I got to ask my next question when he was good and finished.

What I've thought about most since is the discussion of electoral issues. I've been in favour of MMP since the start but I'm more of an enthusiast for talking to him.

He cared about, and actively supported, really representative democracy. And human rights (my kind of human rights). What I saw in his political behaviour, as memember of the public, was those principles in practice. Sincerity. Reasonableness - in that, even if you disagreed, he seemed like someone you could talk to. Recognition that everyone else is a person too - when even Marc Alexander speaks of Rod's unfailing (and apparently contagious) respect for the humanity of his opponents, one can't help thinking there's something in it.

Who else, in this new parliament, can we say all that of?

I actually don't know. I hope we'll see.

Always the good ones, eh?

Anyway, I didn't know him. I know I'll miss him.

Lyndon Hood - Not Very Light Relief, Lower Hutt

New Hood: Howard Demands Emergency Anti-Wolf Legislation

Of course I can say that shit; I'm not in the country with the terrorism threat. Apparently the legislation is now in use, but it's still kind of amusing that, if you didn't accuse him of exaggerating the threat for political gain, you could accuse him of blowing the investigation.

Kelly Pendergrast - groupie, San Diego

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Ok, so after being in long-distance love with him for almost ten years, I finally got to see Beck (or "Bahk", as I have to call him over here, or people think I'm saying "bic" and talking about a ball-point pen) LIVE! IN CONCERT!

In the last few years I'’ve belatedly seen most of the musicians and bands that I loved as a teenager, and these belated encounters have had varying degrees of enjoyableness for me. Nick Cave was fantastic, Bob Dylan less so. Kraftwork were awesome, Jane's Addiction were OK. But since Beck was my pretend celebrity husband for about six years, I was pretty excited about seeing him in San Diego.

However, I failed to take three things into account: that the show was at my university'’s sports auditorium, and that San Diegan university students are, for the most part, intolerably bland and offensively drunk. The third thing is that Beck is a scientologist and married to the redhead girl from Dazed and Confused, and while this didn'’t affect my enjoyment of the show, it probably means he wasn't gonna be marrying me (and, judging from Katie and Tom, being married to a Scientologist is kinda freaky).

Anyway -– the show was weird. I arrived late with my friend Sara, and walked down the bleachers into the aircraft-hanger-esque space. The crowd was large, but immobile and loosely packed. We easily made our way up to the front (this was amazing to me. No one shoving me, me not standing on people's feet or having to squeeze myself between thousands of sweaty huge stinky dreadlocked dudes or whatever, and no one giving me evil looks or anything), but when we got to within feet of the man himself, this heinous drunk girls-gone-wild type took offense at us being near her, started shoving Sara, and then they almost got into a fist fight. Serious - people had to pull them apart! It was wild! Then, after that first bit of badness, these things happened:

-Beck pulled a girl on stage to help him play the harmonium for one song. She startedawful this aweful grinding booty dance as she pumped the harmonium. This was all during, like, the saddest Beck song ever.

-The guys standing behind me were like Beevis and Butthead in the flesh: "huh, dude, that'’s Beck! Hurr, hurr. Wooh! Beck! Rock out, man! Hurr, hurr".

-No one danced, not even a little bit.

-At the end, people swarmed onto the stage and finally danced, and not in a happy-love Flaming Lips animal-suits way, but a tank-top skanky bleach blond drunken awful way. I think some girls made out, and people cheered.


Whatever. I still love Beck, he still has the best hair in showbiz, but man, San Diego crowds suck baaaaad.