Sunday, June 29, 2014

Matariki - Maori New Year

Hi there

It's Matariki, the Maori New Year.  Mid-winter.  Matariki is a time to remember ancestors, store crops, gather fish, give thanks.  'Matariki' star system (the Pleiades) shines once a year in the heavens above Aotearoa (New Zealand).  Over the last couple of decades, Matariki has become widely recognised as a time for celebration.  There are exhibitions, shows, many occasions to honour Matariki
Below is a link to tell about Matariki

Matariki (the Pleiades) star cluster

Saturday, June 28, 2014

vampires in Wellington, New Zealand

Hi there

I was so impressed with the New Zealand vampire mockumentary "What we Do in The Shadows' that I thought I'd google vampires, see if there were any others living in Wellington.

There's an Amazon Kindle e-book with free computer sampling called "Kiwi Vampire".  The vamp in question actually does live in Wellington.  There are a lot of places to  recognise.  You can google 'Amazon Kindle Kiwi Vampire' to read the first few chapters of  the the book free on your computer.  The actual book is, I think, a dollar.  There's a free Kindle computer app if you want to get the whole book.


I went for  a lovely walk in the sun yesterday.  Halfway up the Maupuia hill (behind Miramar) I had to take my jacket off because it was so warm.  T-shirted walkers that I passed were grinning, full of the joys of life and happily shouting "hello" to strangers.  Fine weather does this to people.

Here are a couple of pictures that I took from the hill suburb of Maupuia,  looking down on Miramar.  If you 'hit' the top picture you can see more clearly over to the far right what looks like a huge water tank and a square block building behind it - this is Peter Jackson's film studio.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Eight Swims for June 2014 - mid-winter in NZ

Hi there

Well, we have mananged eight (count 'em, eight!) swims for June.  There was a whole flurry of them around the shortest day (21 June).  J and I are kind of proud that the swimming total has been so good for what is officially mid-winter, even though we both know in our hearts and in our freezing limbs that July and August  are truly the coldest months for swimming.

I see that one of my five readers (hey, from England, woo-hoo!) has said that there was a record broken somewhere in New Zealand for the most people skinny dipping in winter.  Nope, it wasn't J and me.  Skinny-dipping?  I would have to be forty years' younger and many stone lighter to even contemplate that.

It's been a year since the terrible storm that caused havoc around Wellington.  The Hataitai Beach wooden steps leading down to the water from the deck  were completely shatterered (see last year's pic), the Breaker Bay mid-winter swim was cancelled, house roofs were blown off and falling trees blocked roads. 

A few days after the storm I wandered over the hill from Miramar to Scorching Bay.  It broke my heart to see all the silt, pebbles, and debris washed up onto the Scorching Bay beach.  Here's a pic I took at the time;  I never figured the sands would get back to looking pristine ever again.  But the beach is looking real nice again nowadays.

Monday, June 23, 2014

What we do in The Shadows - vampire movie and Q & A Session

Hi there

Last night I went to the Roxy 'Theatre in Miramar, Wellington, New Zealand, to see the new mockumentary film by Taika Waititi and Jermaine Clement, in which they star, direct, produce.  What we do in the Shadows.   A vampire story with old-fashioned vampires, but set in modern Wellington.  There was a Question and Answer session afterwards.

The film was done on a shoestring with the producers having to find make-do props and, as they said, they even used their own teacups in a scene.

Jermaine started off pre-movie by reading a letter from the New Zealand Documentary Board (!). 
Both he and Taika kept getting muddled up with the word 'documentary' ... documentarian ... documentarying ... documentarialisation ...  All completely deadpan.

The letter said that the Board would like to see a documentary on vampires and enclosed for reference were the vampire movies "Blade 1" and "Blade 3".  The DVD of Blade 2 was out on loan.

The movie was good.  I loved seeing all the Wellington landmarks.  I've always thought I would probably end up in The Rita Angus Rest Home (nicknamed 'Colditz' by its inhabitants) in Kilbirnie when I grow even older but now after seeing a vampire perv into the windows at night, I'm not too sure about any future plans to end up there.

So many vampire myths were delived into.  Our vampire flatmates tried to go clubbing at night and couldn't get into any of the clubs because they were never invited into them by the doormen.  The yearly big event, the supernatural masquerade ,was held in the Mt Victoria Bowling Club  (it was so hilarious to see the bowling club leader board on the wall).

Even werewolves weren't forgotten.  Rhys Darby and his scruffy scratching uncouth pals were marvellous.  And I loved the vampire minion, a married mum who desperately wanted to be 'turned', but instead had ended up  mowing the flatmates' lawn, cleaning their house, and ironing their shirts.  She complained that they couldn't wear shirts like ordinary guys, oh no, they had to wear blouses, and with frills no less.

The Q and A session:  the interviewer asked Taika and Jermaine what they had done at Park Road Post Production.  The answer was a short crisp, "Post-production."

Taika told the audience that the editing was exhausting.  He and Jermaine had taken turns, month by month.  He would go away after his month, come back, look at the work and declare it really bad, then discover  it was his own work and not Jermaine's.

A question from the audience asked about the film becoming a tv series.  The reply from the producers was that Australia were interested and also a couple of American companies.

Last night was a fund-raiser for Taika's daughter's kohanga reo (pre-school).  The little girl was there and she was such a cutie and so quiet and polite.  She ran up to Daddy and he cuddled her lovingly on his lap.   Ahhhhhhhhh......

Friday, June 20, 2014

Mid winter swim Breaker Bay 2014

Hi there

Well, in the end, I was persuaded to go on the Breaker Bay (Wellington) mid-winter swim today (21 June 2014 NZ time).  The water wasn't that cold at all but, oh my goodness, is it hard to get into the water at Breaker Bay.   The shore is so rocky and pebbly, and a downward slope, and everyone was slipping and sliding and falling in the water because the rocks were so submerged.

Still, J and I had a good time, with mulled wine and soup afterwards.

As you can see from the below photo, I am a two-towel person.  Also, sneakily, two bathing suits - .  don't tell anyone.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

car parking ... mid winter swim 2014 Wellington

Hi there

Okay, here's one of my favourite hates, and my five readers know all about it, from an earlier blog.  

It really drives me mad when a car vroooooms in beside my car in a supermarket carpark - and it's usually a male driver , sorry guys.  The driver leaps out in a skidding hurry, as if he's on the way to conduct a life-saving heart transplant instead of after a bottle of blue-top milk at Countdown.

Doesn't this guy realise that it doesn't make him look cool.  Quite the opposite.  He looks like some sort of dork driver, a beginner who doesn't know how to park.

Here's the car beside me at the Countdown carpark, Kilbirnie, this afternoon (Wednesday 18thJune  NZ time).  I could hardly open the door to get into my car.  It doesn't look it in the picture, but the offending car is parked very skew-whiff.  The front is more or less where it should be but the back is way over the white line and close to my car.


J and I have now completed three swims for this month at Hataitai Beach,  chasing our minimum of 4 per month.  It was quite nice yesterday.  I had a couple of weeks break this month because when I got home from one swim I shivered all afternoon, all night , and came down the next day with a terrible cold.  I wonder if the cold was coming anyway, or can a person catch a cold from being cold?

Oh, there is a mid-winter swim at Breaker Bay at 3 pm on Saturday 21 June.  Followed by a chance to change out of wet togs and, I think there's hot goodies, at the Breaker Bay Hall which is across the road from the beach.  I won't be going because I have something else going on this Saturday.

Friday, June 13, 2014

What we do in the Shadows - movie

Hi there

The NZ vampire movie "What we do in the Shadows" has now had its NZ premier. There have been vampires running hither and thither all around the country to promote the happening.

The vampire mockumentary will have a for-charity screening at the Roxy theatre, here in Miramar on 23 June.  After the session there will be a Question and Answer session with directors/actors Taika Waititi ("Boy") and Jermaine Clement ("Flight of the Conchords"), as well as actor/comedian Cori Gonzalez-Macuer.

"Boy" was one of my fave top NZ movies.  I loved it that Waititi managed to incorporate the song "Poi-E" into "Boy".   "Poi-E" had reached no 1 in the music charts in 1984 , and  with it's second outing, in 2010, reached no 3 (darn-it, Waititi was hoping for no 1!).

The below link will hopefully get you to the original Patea Maori Club version of "Poi-E".

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Wellington Blown Away - vampire-style

Hi there

As my five readers may remember, a while back I put up photos of the huge "Wellington Blown Away" sign at the entrance of the Miramar Peninsula, where I live.  It's sort of a down-under rival to the "Hollywood" sign.

There is a New Zealand vampire comedy movie due out very soon.   It is called "What We Do In The Shadows".  It's directed by Jermaine Clement ("Flight of the Conchords) and NZ director of "Boy", Taika Waititi, is an actor in this movie.

To celebrate the birth of the movie Richard Taylor's Weta Workshop have doctored the "Wellington Blown Away" sign.  This week, they lifted off the 'W" and substituted a red "V" for vampire.   And I adore it because when I pronounce Vellington", it sounds like I have a Transylvanian accent.

Weta is closely aligned, of course, with Peter Jackson and I think it is so neat that people in the movie colony of New Zealand stick together and help each other out.  No jealousy there.

Sorry the two pics arent that clear - it was raining.

Below"  putting up the original "Wellington Blown Away" sign

Can a rest home room be made to look nice...?

Hi there

A friend recently took up residence in a life-care facility (do we still call them 'rest homes?).  She was told that she could fill the room with her personal stuff.  I peeked in to many of the other rooms and saw the usual wardrobe, cabinet, bedside table, bed, and that was about it.

But... my friend has outfitted her room magnificently.  Here's a pic of just one side of the small room (it's barely cell-size)

I'll try to remember to take a photo of the other side of the room for you some time.

Oh, and I'm going to Las Vegas again this year.  In August.  My Auckland friend has agreed to come down and house-sit for me again, but only after I had to promise-promise-promise that there would be no more earth-quakes.  My five readers may remember last year when she came down, Wellington wsas in a real earthquake flurry.  

Of course, I blithely promised there would be no earthquakes, but just last weekend - whoops - we had a tremor.  Oh dear.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

everybody has a headcold

Hi there

I'm tired of being sick.  I am now right-slap-bang in the middle of another headcold, my second one in three weeks.  Grrrhhhhh!!  I can't even expect to be spoiled for being ill because all my friends, my neighbours, strangers, have headcolds, too!   It seems there are no healthy folk left in the whole of New Zealand to look after the sick.   Curse you, winter!

J and I did manage to get in a swim, so that's officially one for June.  Goodness knows when we will get any more in as a duo.  Part of me thinks the swim was responsible for my second headcold because I was so freezing after the swim that I shivered for hours afterwards.   J has since got in one swim by herself, at my insistance.  Oh, I feel so ....down  (where's a tissue, my nose is runny again?).

I sent J an email on my new Kindle Fire.  It included the line, "I've come down with a sudden awful headcold".  But predictive text beat me to the last word and the sentence instead read:  "I've come down with a sudden awful grandchild"!  Later, this had J in hysterics.  She wondered how I'd suddenly acquired one.

Here's a pic of the main road in Miramar where I live.... Peter Jackson territory.