Mar. 11th, 2014
07:55 am - Shit just got real, yo
Today I will be in Christchurch (not pictured), consulting with stakeholders. This is unfortunate because it's Dr Wheel's birthday. Therefore it's up to you lot to happify his birthday in my absence. K?
After more than 5 years, Dr Wheel still ticks off everything on my list. Yes that is a euphemism, why do you ask?
Mar. 10th, 2014
- Cleaned the house, all shiny and fancy like. Particularly liked the part where the next morning, the YoT came out and asked if I'd done the vacuuming yet and offering to do it. I'm like "Can't you tell?" O.o
- Took the boat out for a few hours down the northeastern side of the Miramar peninsula. There's a shelf about 200m offshore I was looking for, but failed to find. I spent some time with anchor/berley and got bites, and I seem to be developing a knack for catching accidental blue cod. They like it when I stop the boat to faff around with something, it's like they know I'm not paying attention. Actually, I think they just like drifting lures, so I might try that next time out. Anyway, still too small for me to be comfortable with taking home so back they went, but catching fish is better than not catching fish, eh? Also, my paddling is improving in leaps and bounds.
- On the kayak front, this week we'll be picking up my whitewater boat from my brother's for Dr Wheel to try out. Apparently the spray skirt is still there but the paddle's nowhere to be found. Weird.
- Spent all day Sunday in the garden. Trimmed edges, weeded, pruned, spread sweet pea and nasturtium seeds on all the unused banks, picked another 15 or so tomatoes, mulched, mowed the lawn, planted out broccoli, marigolds, cornflowers, stocks, and cosmos. Onions and carrots are coming up in seed trays. First lot of tomatoes is almost finished, second lot starting, beans about to come on, courgettes still going, and my solitary capsicum is getting bigger. Also, chillies!
- Went for dinner at Flying Burrito Brothers*, An hour and a half later our food hadn't arrived so we gave up and left because we had to be at a show. They were rushed off their feet and short staffed, and when we went back later they refunded us which made me feel a lot better about the whole thing, but I'm still not sure I'll go back. The show was really fun, lots of entertaining circus stuff and of course, adagio. As usual it inspired me to try doing things that will take years to get good at.
- Had a visit from the youngest Wheel. He's 19 months old and not really talking yet, but perfectly able to communicate just the same. Also, we had lunch in the sun on the deck, and my plate was sitting on the decking with a knife on it. Young Wheel was stomping and he noticed the clinking of the knife on the plate. I watched in fascination as he stomped right by the plate, then moved further away and tried it again, then right as far away as he could get to test his range. Smart kid. Eep.
* Turns out that Mexican and Thai are the two styles of food to avoid if you dislike coriander. I've taken to telling waitstaff I'm allergic because it makes them stop requiring justification for not wanting it in my meal. "Oh, do you just not like it?" is a really invalidating thing to hear when you ask about it. Actually no, I don't just not like it. I am genetically predisposed to have my entire meal taste like it's been doused in laundry soap if it's in there, to the point where it's just inedible. But I don't want to have to keep repeating this, so I say I'm allergic and they shut up. Regardless, Mexican and Thai are better if I make them myself - then I can avoid the whole issue.
Mar. 7th, 2014
Last night I saved the seeds from a yellow roma tomato that I grew from a handful of heritage seeds given to me by bekitty a couple of years ago. It made me feel all survivally and self sufficient and stuff.
And then I started wondering about genetics. You see, if you keep the ewe lambs all born from the same ram, and only change your ram every few years, eventually your gene pool shrinks and you start getting unthriftiness. The solution is to cross in from an outside line.
So with my wee marties, if I only save the seeds from one tomato, will I not be shrinking my gene pool? And given that all the plants I grew are from the same lot of seeds, how do I keep my gene pool big enough? Will my next year's plants be sad little inbred things that produce grape-sized tomatoes?
Enquiring minds want to know!
Also, you should watch this:
It's a lot more in line with the style of adagio I'd like to do. That move at 1:12? We did it. Not that gracefully, but I didn't drop him on his head. We have a fairly low bar for success. *ahem*
Mar. 5th, 2014
09:23 am - In which I whine some
So last night for the warmup for training, we played Stuck In The Mud. You know that game where one person is 'it' and they have to tag other people, who then have to stand still until someone else crawls between their legs to free them? Yeah, that game. Only, we didn't really play it, because of me.
I got picked first up to be 'it' because apparently I was looking cold and miserable. Yes, Wellington has spectacularly turned on autumn by rolling in a southerly storm for us. Last night I got wet going home, it was like 10 degrees, and I was cold, if not miserable. So the coach, in his infinite wisdom, decided it'd do me good to run around being 'it'.
( Only I'm not an itCollapse )
tl;dr - Oh get over yourself Tats.
Meanwhile, today is a historic day. Today, the New York Times published an article outlining the result of the first study of therapeutic LSD since it was banned in the 1960s. In the study, terminal patients were administered two guided doses of LSD, two weeks apart (in conjunction with ongoing therapy sessions), as a treatment for end-of-life anxiety. The results have been very promising. While not conclusive, this study could pave the way for more comprehensive work - as one of the researchers says, it's kind of like proof of concept.
And people everywhere who've used LSD go "Well duh." Such a shame the mythology around LSD has prevented its study for so long. So great that taboo is finally being broken.
Mar. 4th, 2014
Time taken: 7 hours
Materials: Charcoal linen, gold acetate satin, red drill fabric, thread, waxed linen heavy thread, 810 cap 10mm and 12mm shank rivets, 1.2mm leather in 20mm strips, 20mm buckle
Tools: Pins, sewing machine, ironing board and iron, sewing awl, mallet, hole punch, rivet setter and anvil.
Techniques: Sewing, leatherwork, riveting.
Difficulty level: Pretty easy apart from handling that goddamn acetate satin!
( Men in skirts are sexyCollapse )
And then, the moment of truth! I apologise for the quality of the pics here, especially the somewhat crooked back view. They were taken mainly to show how the armour hangs and are not my best work.
Note here: this means of attaching armour would work well for women, who tend to have hips which give you something to hang belts off. For men, who tend to be straight through the hips, using belts isn't ideal. The weight of the tassets and overskirt armour pulls it all downwards and because it sits over the tapered lower section of the breastplate, there's a tendency to slide downwards. You can see in the pics that it's all sitting lower than it should. My model said he felt as if the tassets might slide off if he jumped up and down.
I will address this by adding loops to the breastplate for the armour to hang off. This should prevent it from descending too far. I will also add a means of attaching the tasset part to the overskirt part so they stay together and in place. I may even rivet them together for extra security. However, we can pretty much call this job done now.
09:59 am - Oops
I dunno about you, but I have a plant that I call an indicator plant. It's always the first one to droop when it needs watering, but bounces right back as if nothing happened when you finally give it some. Thus, it indicates when it's time to water the houseplants. This is not it:
I guess I might have been a bit distracted lately.
Mar. 3rd, 2014
10:28 am - In which I muck about in boats
Oh look, another weekend has gone past and now it's March, which means it's officially autumn. I noticed this morning there are fewer cicadas making their noises in the trees outside our house. Boo! I would be quite happy for long, warm days to continue for a lot longer. It's not quite dark enough when I get up in the mornings to need a light to make coffee*, but it won't be long.
It also means that to be on the water at daylight on Sunday morning, I had to get up at 5:30am.
( But I'm getting ahead of myselfCollapse )
And it felt pretty damn good shouldering my boat and putting it on the car in front of a bunch of people, too. I am that shallow.
Oh yeah, here's another sign of autumn - the naked ladies are coming up.
These have the same leaves as agapanthus and I couldn't work out why they were dying off. Now I know - it's because they are naked ladies, so named because the flowers come up first. They remind me of my hometown. But I won't hold that against them.
Oh yeah, while I was out yesterday, my boat named itself. It wants to be Turtle. It's green, it's broad, it goes in the water, and in kayaking terminology turtle is what it's called when you tip your boat over. Hopefully that's not tempting fate - I'm going more for amusingly self-effacing. But there you go. Turtle.
* We have coffee in bed every morning. I started this habit when Dr Wheel moved in. He brings the happy habits. <3
** Kiss my arse, Pink Kayak Maker People.
Feb. 28th, 2014
12:21 pm - This is awesome
My adagio partner may be horrified to discover that I find Paul Hunt a huge inspiration. Unfortunately, in order to do that kind of gymnastic comedy you actually have to be really good.
*wanders off to practice some more*
Sheep update: They got to see a vet yesterday afternoon, who stitched more of their wounds than I would have, and was able to use local anaesthetic to minimise their pain and trauma while doing so. Last night all were doing well, although No3 was still off her tucker. Can't say I blame her, that leg was pretty mangled and I would want to just sit and nurse it too. But they should all pull through, which is good news.
In other news, I got my hair cut.
( Clicky for evidenceCollapse )
Meanwhile, you may recall from such times as about three days ago, that I find 'ladies' versions of things that have no gender-related necessary differences, equal parts amusing and annoying. So this morning when this came through on my email, I laughed out of one side of my mouth while cursing out the other. I give you, The Berkley Angel Ladies' Softbait Rod:
Yes, it's pink. Hot pink. Yay! And it's called 'angel', because women are angels, dontcha know? I'm totally one. Yep.
I mean really. A fishing rod is a medium to transfer force from the hands and arms to a fish, while reducing shock load on the thin piece of material attaching one to the other. There is ZERO reason to make one especially for women. It even says in the blurb that it's actually the same blank as another rod called 'dropshot'. But this one has 'cool cosmetics'. Because chicks dig cosmetics, amirite? Seriously, that's the only difference. They made it pink, called it Angel, and taDA! Ladies' rod.
ARGHARGHARGH! I want to find a place where I can review this rod as sarcastically as people did those pens. Because ARGHFUCK!
Feb. 27th, 2014
This morning I was going to tell you about my new haircut, and post pictures of that. Instead, I'm going to have a rant.
You see, I was walking to work when I got a text from the client I'd seen on Monday - her sheep had been worried by a dog in the night and she needed help to deal with the carnage. I informed work, grabbed the car, my shearing kit, a needle and some dental floss, and headed out there not really knowing what to expect. When I arrived, the sheep were in the yard - five of the lambs I'd shorn and crutched. Two were untouched, the other three in varying states of injury.
( Worrying does not mean existential dread, by the way - warning, graphic pictures of woundsCollapse )
I probably don't need to say this to the readership of this blog, but after dealing with all that this morning I'm going to say it anyway: KEEP YOUR BLOODY DOG LOCKED UP AT NIGHT. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR DOG UNSUPERVISED. EVER. Little Foo-Foo may be gentle as all getout with your wee toddler and it might be cute when she 'plays' with other animals, but make no mistake, she is a killer by nature and given the right set of circumstances, will do the same kind of damage to sheep that you see in those photos. Even small dogs can kill sheep.
Sheepdogs are the worst. They've been bred to want to chase sheep. Even my beloved First, who was my mate for 12 years and a pretty handy heading dog into the bargain, could not be trusted with sheep unsupervised. She would eventually worry them, so I never gave her the chance. And that's the only way to be sure.
*sigh* Fact is, the vast majority of people already know this. There are hundreds of dogs in the area where this happened. But it only took one fucking irresponsible arsehole to create carnage among the local sheep and cause the death of what is probably a really nice dog. I don't blame the dog, it was just being a dog. The owner, however, is lucky that they live in town. In the country there'd be no due process, the dog would have been shot already, probably in front of them, with no compunction. And it would be entirely their fault. As it is they'll lose their dog and probably a bunch of compensation money for the dead and injured sheep. And it's all so bloody unnecessary.
Feb. 26th, 2014
11:55 am - Let the bodies not hit the floor
Last night I did a one-armed handstand. Against a wall, and starting from two handed, but still. I wanted to see if I could, because I'm afraid to do handstands on my right elbow and my form is starting to fall apart through lack of practice, as was pointed out last night.
Yes, I know that habitually doing that puts twice the weight on my good arm and will probably mess that up too. But now I know I can do a one-armed handstand!
( Check out mah melons!Collapse )
Also, last night Happy and I did this:
Only, we didn't let go hands, we had three spotters, and he wasn't wearing speedos. It's only the second time we've tried it and this time I (as the flyer) got almost completely straight from a straddle and back again without it fallng apart. I think it's a sign of our improved skill and communication that this isn't anywhere near as terrifying as it looks. yay us!
Time taken: 8 hours
Materials: Expanded PVC foam board, hot glue, small amount of Wonderflex, Rub 'n' Buff in silver leaf, acrylic paints (graphite, mars black, burnt umber), 810 cap 10mm and 12mm shank rivets, 1.2mm leather in 20mm strips, 20mm buckle
Tools: Craft knife, heat gun, glue gun, paintbrushes, mallet, hole punch, rivet setter and anvil.
Techniques: Plastic thermomoulding and fabrication, painting, leatherwork, riveting.
Difficulty level: Making the template was a bit tricky, the rest was straightforward.
( Best protected bum in ThedasCollapse )
I don't have a completed picture of these, because they can't be shown properly without being on the person, which requires the overskirt and sash to be completed. These will be shown in the next tutorial.
Feb. 25th, 2014
As seen in the Warehouse this afternoon:
Because a ladies' crossbow has to be pink and purple, yes? Because she's a guardian, not a hunter. So she doesn't need to blend in with her surroundings. The Nerf site describes it as a 'fashion bow'. Whatever that means. The boy one* is equally loud, but much less 'fashion'.
Scuse me while I go vomit in the corner.
* Am I wrong in thinking that nerf is like lego, in that really it doesn't need to be gender-segregated, and that doing so is just a bit wrong?
So laughingmagpie came up with the name Stingray for my boat. Stingrays being a thing that seems to be popping up in my life a bit this year, like Stumpy and that one in the lagoon on Sunday. I like it. It being a shallow-water predator and kind of cool and all.
The idea of naming a kayak seems a bit wanky to be honest, but there's this supserstition where going out in an unnamed vessel is bad luck, and for those of a more pragmatic bent, when the time comes to go offshore and I start mucking about with VHF, it helps to have a name for your call sign. Well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
( Meanwhile, in landbased anticsCollapse )
Oh, and there's an art thing on Friday that the Hypnotutu will be at, with me in it I guess. I'm equal parts excited and nervous at the prospect of taking it out in public, but it could be loads of fun right? Right? At least hopefully I'll get a few more pics of it, and maybe a video.
And I'm hoping I'll find time in this crazy week to actually test it and charge it up before then, or it could just be embarrassing.
* this one was an embarrassing mistake to do with a randy ram and a ewe that was too good at fencebusting. I suggested they market it on TradeMe as a specialist lifestyle breed. Weirdest looking sheep ever.
Feb. 24th, 2014
10:29 am - Let the silliness begin!
So I did it. I bought a kayak. It's green.
The weather was uncooperative in that Wellington Is Fucking Windy kind of way for most of the weekend. The forecase said it was going to continue not to cooperate for another week. But yesterday afternoon there was a window between the nor'wester and the southerly where it dropped below 20kts, and I took it.
( Not quite according to planCollapse )
And my chillies have chillies on them! Ooh er! I'm told the greener they are the hotter they are, but I'ma wait a bit to see what happens before harvesting them.
So anyway, I think this boat needs a name. The menfolk in my house suggested The Jolly Roger, and Jim. I am.. not sure how to be diplomatic about that. Although I suspect flippancy in the offering.
Anyway, suggestions welcome, from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Also, those who mentioned wanting to go for a paddle as a group, I think we should do that soon. Yep.
Feb. 22nd, 2014
05:57 pm - Who knew fish could be so funky?
This morning I got a text from Kiri. It had a picture in it.
( Clicky for pictureCollapse )
Also, I've been getting interested in soft bait, which is a soft plastic lure that imitates baitfish. I like lure fishing. Anyway, I couldn't resist giving these ones a try:
Fluoro rave bait!
Feb. 20th, 2014
About 7pm last night, as pombagira and I sat sitting licking the salt off our fingers from our fish and chip dinner, we watched a thick fog roll in from the south. This morning it's still here. This doesn't happen very often in windy Wellington, but when it does it shuts down the airport and the foghorns start up in the harbour with a vengeance.
This morning there must have been a boat going out and one coming in, because it was a foghorn duet. Last night there was one that you could feel vibrating your insides within our house 3km from the harbour.
I like foghorns.
( In which I see a man about a kayakCollapse )
So, instead of going "Fuckit" and spending most of my savings on what isn't really an impulse buy but feels like one in a way, I arranged with Dave to go in sometime this weekend and go for a paddle. They have a couple of fishing boats in their hire fleet, and the idea is that Dr Wheel and I go down there, hire a couple of boats, paddle around, hop out, tip the boats over, right them, hop back in, swap, paddle around some more - in short, give them a good test. Dave suggested I bring a rod to see what actually fishing from one would be like.
That way I should get an idea of how hard it is to get where you want to go in a kayak, and whether I'll find it enjoyable enough to do regularly. But I suspect if I do enjoy it a lot, in the near future I might be forking over a shitload of money for a large hollow bit of plastic and some string.
In orange (or green). And with the manly name of Prowler. *ahem*
Feb. 19th, 2014
Bloody hell, I got a Child Support payment. A princely sum of $35.
For those who are new here, Child Support for me has been an ongoing joke, in which (prior to this current payment) I had not received anything for nearly two years, and the total debt has crept to ~$10,000, some of which goes back to when the YoT was 13.
Periodically (about every 6 months) I check in with IRD, and they inform me that they are doing what they can, that I should let them know if I get any new information, and that they can't tell me any details about what they are doing and/or when I might expect some real action. Sometimes they tell me they've recalculated how much I should be getting paid, and I laugh a hollow laugh because the whole thing's pretty abstract when I have no expectation of actually receiving any money. It's been a bit of a saga.
( The YoT is now nearly 19Collapse )
I try to be flippant, facetious and humourous about it, but the fact is, it pisses me off. I am powerless here, and that pisses me off. It would piss me off less if those who supposedly had the power to help me would actually exercise it in a meaningful way.
And I'm left with the constant question: How bad does this have to get before I get real action? Or before it becomes newsworthy? Either would be fine..
* Except for the bit where if they go to University, their eligibility for financial help is affected by the parents' income until they are 25. I don't really understand why getting an education should force a kid to be reliant on their parents for 6 years longer, but there you go.
Feb. 18th, 2014
For a brief second over the weekend I thought the tomatoes were slowing down. Then I realised that this is because last week I denuded them completely and gave a bunch away. This week, they are back up to speed, and yesterday I picked another 10.
At the start of the season, I planted 6 hybrid variety plain tomato plants and 8 heirloom yellow roma ones. Then a few weeks later I planted another 6 plain ones. The first lot are about half done fruiting, and the romas and second lot are about to start. They aren't as heavy (the heirloom ones in particular are obviously not as vigorous) but they still have about 20 tomatoes apiece.
( To the freezer!Collapse )
Meanwhile, Chris Finlayson (National Party MP) sent me a letter. I'd feel special, but he sent the YoT one too. In it there is a survey to glean what issues are important to me. I get to choose from things like:
Rolling out ultra-fast broadband, and investing in roads and rail.
You'll note how they've cunningly phrased is so if I want broadband I also have to agree to more roads. Interesting, that combination. I'm not sure what they have to do with each other, but he's prompted me to return the survey pointing out how manipulative this question is. Because I'm a shit like that.
Also: More elective operations and shorter waiting times.
What this means is that pombagira's surgery for endometriosis would get bumped further into 'elective' territory, because being crippled once a month is something you only 'elect' to fix. And because making more important but non-life-threatening surgeries elective is surely the only way to improve waiting times.
Oh wait. We could spend less on tax breaks for rich people, and more on health!
That's not an option according to Chris. But we can have 'tougher sentencing, parole, and bail laws', and 'reducing long-term welfare dependency , with a focus on work' - not, you'll note, reducing unemployment by creating more jobs, because we all know that the unemployed are to blame for their own unemployment, not neoliberal policy that increases inequality very deliberately in order to create competition for jobs and thus manipulate the working class into accepting reduced wages and conditions so that business owners can exploit them more easily...
I don't think Mr Finlayson really wants my opinion, eh? But he's going to get it anyway. *ahem* Here is a picture of my response. Yes, I really did say BAD SURVEY, NO BISCUIT. After I took the pic, I also added this:
"PS if you are not prepared to accept this survey with my altered answers, please throw it away and don't count it at all. And then take a long hard look at yourselves as representatives of the people."
I am going to be hell on wheels when I'm old. Oh fuck yes.
Feb. 17th, 2014
The cicadas started going nuts at about 6:30am this morning. I think this means it's officially late summer. So I find myself staring at the solitary pumpkin that grew on my totally misplaced vine, and wondering how to tell when it's ripe. I think 'not yet' is the answer, but never having grown them before, I've really no clue.
Meanwhile, my weekend ended up being as busy and varied as predicted.
( Industrious Tats is industriousCollapse )
So yeah, a productive weekend. Things I didn't get to do: tidy up the back section and vegie gardens, make salsa for preserving, work on Cullen**.
* Involves mincing up fish, squid, and their guts with my trusty hand mincer (out in the shed for minimum stinkage), adding some breadcrumbs for bulk and to retain the juice, and freezing in little balls. When you go fishing you drop it in the water and it leaves a trail of tasty fish noms, which supposedly makes them hang around. Also occasionally attracts sharks.
** The weather's been too nice for being indoors sewing, and I've been too busy to get a good chunk of time for it. But I'm itching to get back to it, so Dr Wheel may get chased around the house with armour a bit this week.
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