Saturday, 31 July 2010

Confused? You won't be, after this episode.

Some say that the name Levi is a guarantee of white trash antisocial behaviour; I don't think I've ever met a Levi myself. But my post from a week ago about Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston kissing and making up may be proved wrong by today's news.

It seems that Levi was very good friends with Bristol and her best friend, Lanesia Garcia (on the right of the picture), before Bristol ratted on Lanesia and claimed Levi for herself, by right of pregnancy. Then Levi split because he couldn't handle the publicity and the expectations - and guess who provided comfort? That's right, Lanesia. And guess what happened to Lanesia? That's right, she's pregnant! Which is kind of upsetting to Bristol, who is planning a wedding now she and Levi are back together. Maybe.

It sounds like true love though; Levi already has Bristol's name tattooed on his ring finger, after all.

This may all sound like a rerun of Soap, which is not far from the truth - but the couple don't want a sitcom, they're planning a reality TV show about themselves and their baby son Tripp. But now that Lanesia is great with child, will the wedding and TV show happen? Watch this space!

Hold the presses! There's more! Yes, Lanesia is pregnant - but the father may not be Levi. It could also be one of two other guys who were, um, "dating" Lanesia around conception time.

Levi's sister Mercede, (left, with Bristol Palin in happier days) who wants to be a model - don't any of this bunch want a normal life? Or have normal names? - is now muddying the waters with an angsty blog post protesting her innocence in the split between Bristol and Levi last year.

You couldn't make this up.


The week in pictures

A selection of pics from the last week or ten days. Just because.

Moore's Law in USB sticks: from the front a 2GB, then a 4GB the same size, then a smaller 4GB, and at the rear the tiniest 4GB - the last one's memory is in the little black handle, and the biggest part is the connector itself.

Home made pizza for Sunday lunch. Yes, it was good.

Lyttelton Harbour from the Summit Road.

I left the little office which had been my domain for the last year.


Back to sharing the large corner office with Jess.

A $48 Lazyboy chair from Trademe now sits in the corner of the living room, making our furniture collection even more rag-tag and eclectic.

Impulsive is wrapped up in a new cover to keep the winter storms away.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Interesting week

It's been an interesting week, with a new team leader for our group. He seems very pleasant and capable, but he's understandably having to learn an awful lot about his new environment; as acting leader for the last 15 months, I'm the one getting most of the questions.

The weather has been settled and frosty all week, with lovely sunny days following. I bet it's lovely on the ski areas. Treble Cone seems to have collected the most fresh powder from last weekend's storms, as this blog shows.

Porter Heights has had a good week. This shot was taken by Bernie Wicht of Macpac outside the ski area boundary in Crystal Valley.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Karma

How's this for poetic justice?


I wonder what happened next...

A slight change of subject - from male morons to Doonesbury - Roland Hedley reporting to Fox News from Wasilla, Alaska.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Life at the top

It seems that Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston, newly reconciled, are out to make a buck from their heart felt romance - and 18 month old Tripp (not to be confused with his uncle Trig, born with Down Syndrome). I can't help wondering, though - what will they actually DO? The photographers will leave in the autumn, and then what?

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

On the move again

I'll be shifting out from my single office, back to a shared office with Jess, over the next couple of days. Our new team leader arrives next week, so I presume he'll want a private space. It looks like we'll be in for some interesting times.

I went for a swim after work, and managed a dozen laps of freestyle/crawl. My previous swim on Sunday was all done swimming breastroke, which is my preferred stroke, but the diagonal kick action caused huge discomfort in my hip, taking a day to recover. So I perform a stately but slow progress up the Friendly lane, though I hope that my fitness will improve fairly quickly.

The hip is a bit stiff and sore this morning, but nothing like the pain I had on Sunday. In previous stints at swimming I've progressed to reasonable speed and distance in 5 or 6 sessions, though this hip may not tolerate that much effort. Still, any kind of exercise is better than none.

I'm seeing my GP again on Friday, and I hope that she'll pull a few strings and get me a surgeon's appointment earlier than September 17th, which is the best they can offer at present.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Waiting for the frontal lobes to grow

I wonder about the future of this guy. His name is Jesse Thornhill, from Tulsa Oklahoma. He did a bad thing, believe it or not.

His story is in Randy Cassingham's Mug Shot Museum, which is well worth a look, as is the parent site, This Is True, weird stories from the news media. Those bumps are surgical implants; I'd say it's pretty obvious that they're not his brain's frontal lobes.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Cycle safety and common sense

Our helmet law may be putting people off cycling. This blog post is worth a read, especially the suggestion of a "compulsory for kids" law.

When it comes to other ways to encourage cycling, we should be following sensible cities like New York. Look at this for a safe cycle lane, with a buffer between it and the cars. In Christchurch, cars treat cyclists in lanes like slalom poles; go as close as you can without actually hitting them.


Copenhagen sets a high standard.



Amsterdam is also super cycle-friendly.

Skiing thoughts

Today's Press has a front page headline, after a woman had a huge fall at Mt Hutt yesterday, and died in hospital. "Call for helmets after ski deaths" says the paper, and the story goes on to interview ski area staff, doctors, and an accident survivor, who all agree that helmets will help prevent such deaths.

Then I read this sentence in another report on the accident; "Rescue Helicopter spokesman Simon Duncan said the mother suffered serious head injuries, despite wearing a helmet."

How will The Press explain this?

I agree that skiing is a sport where the risk of head injuries are quite high. Even if you don't ski among rock outcrops on the border of a ski area, a simple fall can bring a skier's head in contact with hard snow and ice. Wearing a helmet is becoming much more common; I'd wear one myself if I skied enough days each season to justify the expense, but I'm afraid that a day skiing is an occasional treat. I should have had one in the 80s and early 90s, when I skied 30-40 days a year at Treble Cone.

But the story is a beat-up, a lot of fuss with only a vague notion behind it. The victim WAS wearing a helmet - so what's the headline about?

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Trouble in TV Land

Our fancy new TV system wasn't working this morning, or at least parts of it were not behaving properly. The Magic HD recorder was reporting "Poor signal, check aerial". Since we watch all TV through that, rather than the TV's own tuner, that meant no TV at all. I fiddled with the aerial cable, but no better.

Then I switched to the TV tuner, and it worked fine, which was odd because that signal comes in to the back of the HD recorder and back out again - so it wasn't the aerial connection itself. I confirmed that by unplugging the incoming aerial cable from the recorder and put it straight into the TV - perfect picture again. So there was nothing wrong with the cable; why was the HD reporting "Poor signal"?

At this stage I started blaming the input section of the HD. About the only thing I could do with that was to get it to re-scan for its channels, but that made it worse; now it had no channels at all! In desperation, I unplugged the power cable from the unit, waited 30 seconds, and plugged it back in. The recorder then walked me through the setup wizard, and bingo, all is happy! Hmmm, what happened to confuse it? As so often happens with digital electronics, a reboot fixed the problem, but finding the cause is a lot more complicated.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Thin on top and developing leaks

Not me, my bike's rear tyre. It was worn through the rubber in several areas, exposing the coloured nylon and kevlar belts inside. Chain Reaction in Riccarton got me a new one, a Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700c*32; super puncture-resistant but a bit firm in the riding experience because of its stiffness. Still, given the amount of glass on Christchurch streets these days, puncture resistance is priority #1, and makes it worth the $69 price tag. I'll get 4 years (or 5000km, whichever comes first) out of it, if the last one was any guide.

The tyre was really difficult to fit. The layers of kevlar made it very stiff, and it took a lot of massaging to get one side engaged with the bead on the rim. Then I had to repeat the process on the second side. The last 15-20cm was a tight stretch, but it all popped into place at long last. I hope I don't have to take it off very often, at least until it beds in a bit. A nice touch with these tyres; they have a super-reflective stripe on the sidewall, which should make any motorist pay attention.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

It's a long way to Dunedin

Three hundred and sixty kilometres each way, according to Google Maps. We arrived about 1pm on Saturday and found Jim waiting for us, in good form, so we went to have lunch at the St Clair Salt Water Pool. The cafe there is right on the point, with surfers riding past as you eat lunch - when it eventually arrives. How soup and a toasted sandwich took so long is a mystery.

We dropped Jim back for a sleep, and caught up again about 5.30, for a pre dinner drink. We then checked in with Dick and Sue Williman, old friends from Wanaka who have a spectacular new house overlooking Otago Harbour, and run a B&B in the purpose built suite downstairs. It was great to see them, and to catch up on news. Heather and I returned to town for a meal, then drove up to Signal Hill to photograph the lights of the town, and back for an early night.

This morning we breakfasted and had a great chat with Dick while Sue had a lie in, then collected Jim. We went from the rest home to his house at The Cove, where we met the Guthries' first grandchild (whose Gaelic name I've forgotten - something like Tadgh, but I haven't got it quite right), plus parents James and Susan. After a jolly hour of baby admiring Heather and I went for lunch with Jim and Barbara, then we left for Christchurch and they went back to their lives.

It was good to see Jim, who's looking fine in his good interludes, but is more and more needing rest and quiet as the Parkinsons slowly wins the battle. Still, the presence of the little grandson is a huge boost to his morale, which is lovely to see.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Sudden move

We made a quick decision to go to Dunedin for the weekend - just over night, really. We'll visit our friend Jim, and stay with other friends who have a lovely new house with a B&B downstairs. Hopefully we'll get some good photos on the trip, as the weather is good for the next few days.