Monday, 30 May 2011

Interesting weekend

A minor drama on Saturday; Heather's heart started fibrillating about 4pm, up to approx 160 beats per minute, so I got her down to A&E. They did an ECG, put her on a drip and gave her some beta blockers, but after an hour the rate was only slowly settling down. Then they put in a different blocker, and the effect was dramatic, returning her to normal heart rate in 5 minutes.

The ongoing prediction is that she's likely to have more incidents like this as she ages; isn't it fun being in your 60s? Anyway, she was bright and cheerful on Sunday, and went for a swim with no bad effects, which is a relief.

My Android 3G experiment has hit a small snag; it works fine for phone and text, but I can't get the data connection working. I'll get our developers onto it, they have a huge in-depth knowledge of Android and networks. It's very handy having a pair of resident geeks!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

New toy

For a week now I have been getting to know my way around an Android tablet device; I'm not sure whether to call it a computer, a phone, or what. Gizmo will do for now. It's a Viewsonic Viewpad 7" with a 16GB SD card for storage.

It is good on wifi networks, though sometimes it's a bit cranky connecting to the UC wireless systems. I'm going to put a 2Degrees SIM card in it today and see how it goes on 3G.

I've added a bunch of news apps, and I really like the ebook reader; I suspect that will be a favourite feature.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Did you miss Judgment Day?

The web site says The Rapture did happen, but nobody noticed:
Jesus has come, few were saved, even less noticed his presence, but May 21st was still Judgement Day. If you are reading this blog, then you were not saved by Jesus in the Second Coming, and have been left behind during the End of Days. There are just five months remaining until the End of The World on October 21 2011. Prepare yourself for the End Times now by stocking up on water, canned goods, and appropriate clothing before the End of The World.
If bottled water and baked beans will be useful, how is the end of the world going to differ from any other earthquake or tornado? Will canned food and a heavy parka really help against the Wrath of the Lord?

Oh, I just noticed - the final irony - buy the T-shirt!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Report from TED

The TEDxEQChCh event today was well worth attending. We saw a dozen presenters, several relevant clips from older TED footage (including my favourite savant, Jim Kunstler), and came away feeling there really are ways to fix the city. Whether these ideas got through to the Council and EQC is anyone's guess, but they tried. Even Gerry Brownlee waddled up to do a brief speech and introduce ex San Francisco mayor Art Agnos, one of the day's highlights.

My favourites were the practically oriented talks, particularly Hugh Morrison of Arrow International project managers, who delivered a well documented and achievable timetable to get the rebuilding under way. Soon after came James Lunday of Common Ground; he's a Scotsman with a genuine plan for urban design based on neighbourhoods and a people-friendly central core - both things I have been thinking, but he said them 100 times better than I could. (It's his field, of course.) Paul Downton also put a high premium on neighbourhoods.

The over all emphasis was on bottom-up people-centred planning. It's over to CERA now, I guess.

There's an excellent summary and comments at Nathanael Boehm's blog, Pure Caffeine. I'll post a link to the videos when they become available.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Ted who?

Alice and I are going to TEDxEQChCh tomorrow. It is "...a one-day event to re-imagine Christchurch as a world-leading city, and to provide inspiration that will directly impact the future of Christchurch."

It could be a day-long media wank, or genuinely inspirational. I'll let you know.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Prepare ye

US religious sects have somehow concluded that the Rapture will happen this Saturday, 21st May 2011. This will be followed by the end of the Earth 6 months later, on 21st October. There are heaps of web sites about this, such as, all based in America.

I was worried that these believers might get their timing wrong, because they probably think that the 21st May is timed for the USA. After all, most Americans are baffled to find that NZ dollars don't have George Washington on them, so they are bound to be US-focussed with the date of their raising to Heaven. I'd hate them to be late for lift-off, so I thought I'd email the web site asking for advice.

Here's my email: I'll post any follow-up here. Watch this space.
Can you please tell me when the Judgement Day will begin? As New Zealand is 18-20 hours ahead of the US, I guess it will strike here first - but that will still be the 20th May in other places. How should I set my clock for the Judgement Day?

Thanks in advance for any help you can share,


Christchurch, New Zealand

Monday, 16 May 2011

Winter's on the way

Serious isobar maps at; the first big southerly blast of the 2011 winter is headed our way.

This morning on Morning Report, weather reports were saying that the Te Anau to Milford Sound road was chains-only, and another 10-20cm of snow is forecast for Tuesday morning.

This is all leading nicely towards a late June start to the ski season at Mt Hutt and other higher-altitude fields like Dobson. I'm ready, my skis are waxed (a year ago), the car is good, I have 15 days of leave to use up - go!

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Big boys' boat

Camper web site . . . My Flickr photos

A 9am start on a dreary day, to see the Volvo boat Camper. It's sponsored by a European shoe company, designed and built in NZ, and crewed by a squad of Emirates Team New Zealand hot shots. The junior crew member is the current world match racing champion, just as an example of the depth this team can call on. Dean Barker made an appearance at the open day, fresh from the Extreme 40s series in Europe. What a life, eh?

Well, actually, I'd rather have his travel and pressure than life in a Volvo 70 crew. Shifting all the gear on the boat before every tack, then swapping bunks to the new high side, all meals being a bucket of freeze-dry, everything wet, cold, and noisy; it's a bit much for a gent of my tastes.

Oh, I forgot; the story of a crew member sitting in the hull sewing a sail repair, between bouts of seasickness, also played a part in my aversion to ocean racing. "Like standing under a cold shower, fully clothed, tearing up $100 notes" is another description - I suspect its author was a veteran of a Whitbread/Volvo race.

The nearest I've seen to this level of total commitment is Himalayan mountaineering; not that I've done it myself, but I know some Everest types who've been on expeditions that match this for danger, dampness, hardship, and terror. And cost, I suspect. Funny people, humans.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Sad day

I haven't said anything about this till now, but we went to a funeral today. It was for our nephew Chris Horder's partner Brenda, who died suddenly in her sleep a week ago. Brenda was 39, a great walker and horse rider, and she leaves Chris and a 5 year old son, Bayley.

Chris was coping well today, but he'll need a lot of TLC. His mum Elaine, Heather's sister, will stay and help for a few weeks, but in the long run it's now Chris and Bayley against the world. Good luck to them, and we'll be keeping an eye out for them where we can.