Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wellington Airport ,Gollum from Weta Workshop

I trotted down to Wellington Airport this afternoon and discovered Gollum from "Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit".  Made by Weta Workshop to welcome people to the middle of Middle Earth.  Wow, what workmanship.  It was just such a pity that the light coming through the windows, plus the ceiling spotlights made it a bit difficult to get photographs.  But.... congrats, Weta, what a magnificent job.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween in Miramar, Wellington

About a decade ago, New Zealanders hardly gave Halloween (Happy Birthday, Peter Jackson!) a thought.  Nowadays, a few kids dress up and trot along with their parents to see Gran and get some lollies (sweeties, candy, depends on which other country you come from).  But folk just do not decorate their houses or grounds.

However, for the last couple of years there's been a house in Miramar that has dolled up their fences on Halloween.  It's become known by neighbourhood kids as 'The Halloween House".  They love going there.  The house is owned, I believe, by someone who works for Weta.  There are lots of Americans working at Weta.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fifth Swim for October

J and I have done it!  Our fifth swim at Hataitai Beach for October.  We never thought that October would be so stressful.  The weather hasn't been that good and we wondered if we would get our fifth swim in.  But from here on in it should be pretty well plain-sailing with our five (or more swims per month), what with summer coming on.  However, we said the same thing for this month, and look at all the worry that this month has brought with it!

It was nice in the water yesterday.  We swam lazily backwards and forwards, chatting all the time about life, the universe, and everything.

Roll on November!

Russell Crowe and me (plus Hobbit stars)

I felt sad when it was announced that film actor Russell Crowe and his wife had split.  I never used to think much of Crowe's telephone-throwing and tantrum antics.  In other words, I paid attention to the press who must hound Crowe all the time. 

A year or so ago, he appeared at a charity cricket match at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, in aid of the Christchurch earthquake victims  (his cousin is a New Zealand top cricketer).  Crowe was also born in New Zealand.  Many of the Hobbit cast took part in the cricket match.

I was standing by an enclosure when Crowe went past.  I asked the woman standing next to me if she would take a photo of me with Crowe in the background.  From halfway up some steps, Crowe noticed what was going on.  He came back down and over to me.  He asked the woman to take a proper photo of us.  After she'd done that he said, "Let's take another one, just for luck.".

He was a true gentleman.  And here's a photo.

I also took this very (very) long-range photo of  Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Mark Hadlow (dwarf), and Martin Freeman (Bilbo).

and just for your viewing pleasure, here is picture I took of Ian McKellen.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

countdown clock to The Hobbit Premier in New Zealand

Here's the clock that is counting down the days to the Hobbit Premier in Wellington.  The countdown clock is on top of the Embassy Theatre in Courtenay Place.  Our mayor revealed last week that for the week of the premier in November that Wellington will adopt the title  "the Middle of Middle Earth".  When the LOTR premier was on, most of the signs in Wellington got changed to "Middle Earth", even the airport got a name change for the day.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Third swim for October

Well, J and I have done at Hataitai Beach, Wellington, New Zealand, our three obligatory swims for October to satisfy our "Minimum three swims a month for 2012". obligation.  Great and all that.

But ever since we realised last month that we'd actually done a minimum of five a month so far we were itching to complete the year with the big five-oh.  We thought this would be easy and we trumpeted it to the world (and our gym buddies).  Pride comes before a fall because October hasn't been a very good month, weather-wise, and it looks like the bad weather will continue through to Labour Day Monday  (22 October which is a holiday).  This will only leave us a week to get in two more swims.  Oh dear.  Hope we can do it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Middle-Earth Count-down Clock to Hobbit Premier

I live in Miramar, Wellington, New Zealand.  And being that I live in Miramar, home of Weta Workshop, Weta Digital, and Peter Jackson, I have a fairly intense interest in the coming world premier of "The Hobbit" (part 1).  Okay we've got the world premier, just like we did for LOTR: The Return of the King.  But I well remember some star in Hollywood dismissing our earlier  "world premier" as of no consequence and when the movie had it's premier in Hollywood a few days later, that would be the real one.

Who cares?  Wellington will go all out for our big day.  And last week, our mayor announced a count-down clock on the top of the Embassy Theatre, ticking down the hours. We saw it (working) on television.

I hiked down to the Embassy this morning.  Well, actually I drove, so sue me.  I went down with the express purpose of photographing the clock.  Naturally, when I parked, I realised I didnt have my camera.  But, thanks to my swimming buddy, J who told me to always keep an old camera in the car, I was prepared.

But not prepared for the clock not operating!

Anyway, here are some pics of the Embassy Theatre at the end of Courtenay Place.  What looks like a giant creepy-crawlie(a weta?)  is a Weta sculpture.  Note the movie camera at the top of it. 

Look to the top of the theatre and you will see neon signs that refer to Wellington being the middle of Middle Earth.  In the centre of these two signs.... no clock!  Sorry about that.

PS:  Second swim for October.... done!  I must admit I'm a bit worried whether we can get more swims in by end of month.  The weather has not been kind to us.  And now that I've opened my big mouth and said,we're trying for five swims (oh dear), per month, I'm sure that J is giving me the evil eye.

Monday, October 8, 2012

American television programmes

Ten years' ago, in New Zealand, we were a couple of years behind viewing shows already seen on American television
A couple of years ago, we became, maybe, a season behind.  This seemed inevitable at the time because United States  shows that had been shown in their Autumn (September) were held over until the following Autumn (April) in New Zealand.  Both countries figured that nobody would watch shows in the summer; everybody would be out cavorting at the beach or doing some other summer frivolity.

But, now, with illegal downloads, the scenario appears to be changing.  Television programmers are fighting back.   No longer will we be seeing Christmas programmes in the middle of the year, or Halloween programmes at Christmas.  A couple of weeks ago I was surprised to see channel four announce that the new season of "New Girl" would be shown here within a couple of weeks of it being shown in the States.

Then, surprise, TV3, said that we would be seeing "Homeland", my fave show, the same week as the States.

But double-triple-quadruple surprise.  All day yesterday, TV3 trumpeted that "Homeland" would be broadcast on the same day as it was to be shown in America.  Wow!  I watched it last night and thought, "Nobody in the States knows what's coming up in the next few weeks with this programme.   There's no spoilers to be read about on the net.  It's a level playing-field. So ....  O for Awesome .
 (O for Awesome? - look it up on youtube, you'll have a giggle)

And because time-wise, we're hours ahead of the States, maybe we could even be seeing "Homeland" before Americans.  Sweet as. 

So, why are we still almost two years' behind with "Coronation Street"?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Judge Dredd - Karl Urban

I see that the movie "Judge Dredd" starts this week, and that it stars Karl Urban.  Karl is a New Zealander, Wellington-born.  He was in "The Lord of the Rings".  And also, of course, in the recent "Star Trek" re-boot.  He will be in the second "Star Trek" movie, too, to be released later this year .  He plays the young Dr "Bones" McCoy.

When New Zealand had the "King Kong" premier in Wellington, Karl walked down the red carpet.  I was just standing there, with my pen and paper in hand.  I hadn't waved at him or anything because I already had his autograph from another time, but he grabbed my pen and paper, signed his name, gave me a big smile and wandered off.

I do hope he is a great success in Hollywood.  I'm so proud when New Zealanders make it there.  Here's a photo I took of Karl Urban at the "King Kong" premier.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

attending the wrong funeral

Last week I went to a funeral.  I was early.  Sitting in the pew beside me were two little old ladies (goodness, I suppose I'm a little old lady, too - when did that happen? - and probably not so much of the 'little' either).   One lady leaned over to me, gesturing to the huge blow-up photo of the deceased on the screen above our heads.

"I think we're at the wrong funeral," she whispered.

The deceased woman had a very unusual last name.  I couldn't imagine there being two of them, so  I murmured placating noises. 

"Where did this woman live?" asked the lady.

"Miramar," I said.

Our woman was from Plimmerton."

"The deceased's daughter lives in Plimmerton," I said.  We old folk get places muddled up all the time, so I thought nothing of it.    "I'm sure you're at the right funeral."

But the lady went to check.  She hurried back, leaning across me to grab the coat sleeve of her friend.  "It's the wrong woman," she said.  Apparently her person-in-question was alive at home in Plimmerton.

"Well, I'm staying,"  hissed her friend, tugging away from the claw-like grip.  She set her lips firmly, folded her arms, and stared straight ahead.  The original friend left the funeral home but not before crossing her name out of the "In Memorium" book she'd written in on arrival.  How crass.  Now my friend's relatives will forever wonder about that cross-out.

The second lady, the one sitting beside me who didn't have a clue abouit the deceased, sang heartily during the psalm, wiped away a tear during the daughter's reminiscing, and daintily partook of a cup of tea and a muffin or two after the service.   It all made me think of dear Blanche from tv's "Coronation Street" who's hobby was funeral-attending, anybody's funeral.

PS:  1st swim for October.  Quite cold.   Four more to go.