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Life is rolling on quite well at the moment. It's June already! 
Tawhai's sore throat has come back and it seems to be a bit worse this time. His throat was swabbed again for strep, and his tonsils have been checked. They are not swollen. 
So he's needed just that extra bit of tender loving care for the past few days. He's sitting next to me, watching Batman videos as I type and listen (quietly) to Turbonegro. 

I also decided that this week, I would clean out the office. And try to make it look halfway to decent. It was a flipping mess before.
Here's some webcam photos that I have turned into simple diagrams. I should be a cricket commentator. 
Click for bigger images!


It was a horrible junk room of a place, windows were blocked up by bad furniture choices, the curtains blocked out the light. Total Ugh.  Toys everywhere, a disconnected turntable, cds lying around.... grumpy cats, you get the picture. 


So I got to cleaning it out and moving furniture around.  I may or may not have stopped to check wig growth.

And just like that - it's done!
I've brought some things back Inside, that had been banished into the Shed. CDs from out of the wardrobe, photos out of their files...
I am very happy indeed, Blackadder!

Proof of the happy! And my skill at making giraffe hand puppets. 
No, I don't spend all my time in here swinging around on my chair.  Not at all!

Tawhai has developed a nice little cough today, but says his throat no longer hurts. He doesn't ask about the end of the world anymore, after I gave him this explanation

Choice. :)

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Stoked! There's a couple of new videos of recent gigs up here.
More will soon be added!


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...but the land remains

For the last two nights, just before he goes to sleep, Tawhai has asked me if the world will end soon.
Apparently some kids at school have been talking about it. 

I told him that I don't believe the world will end. There are no stories that refer to it in tikanga Māori. 
Then I tried to explain the different ways in which worlds end. 

For example, if we had to move away from Gisborne, then our 'world' in Gisborne would end, and we would start a new 'world', a new life, somewhere else. Worlds end and situations change, for people everywhere, every day.

One example that was pointed out to me last year, was that our world ended forever when the Endeavour appeared here in Tairawhiti, in 1769.  

And even if Planet Earth suddenly, and inexplicably exploded (probably due to Vogon roadworks), we wouldn't be around to notice.  
So why worry about it?

I'm not sure if he felt satisfied with that explanation, haha.

I also told him about the whakatauki (proverb) that goes like this:

'Whatungarongaro he tangata, toitū he whenua hoki'
'People disappear, the land remains' 

which refers to the permanence of the land. 
The land may change, people will die, but I think it (or Papatuanuku) will always be here. 

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A tiny speck will appear on one side of the Sun in a few weeks and slowly traverse the solar disc for a few hours. The movement of that little black dot may seem insignificant. But it is one of the rarest sights in astronomy, an event known as a transit of Venus. Miss this one and you will have to wait until 2117 for the next.

Earth's closest planetary neighbour, which is currently in close and spectacular alignment with Jupiter in the night sky, will make its passage across the Sun's disc on 6 June and can expect to make scientific headlines – for astronomers hope studies of the transit will provide them with key data for studying worlds that orbit distant stars.

"This transit is special because it is the last time in our lifetimes that we will have an opportunity to collect data for a planet as well characterised as Venus," said David Crisp of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "We will have to make the most of it."

Venus, for all its glittering beauty in the night sky and its association with the Roman goddess of love, is a deeply unpleasant world. It has a surface temperature of 460C, its dense atmosphere of carbon dioxide has incinerated or crushed all robot spacecraft that have landed on it and its surface is shrouded by thick clouds of sulphuric acid. Once thought to be a sister world to Earth, because of their similar sizes and orbits round the Sun, Venus is more like a vision of hell.
It's a twice in a lifetime moment: the transit of Venus across the Sun | Science | The Observer

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May the 4th be with you

Last Friday, Tawhai and I drove to Palmerston North for this gig:

May the 4th be with you
It was held to celebrate the return of Janne, one of our kriegsmarines, to New Zealand shores.

We had a good drive. You probably know by now that Tawhai is awesome to travel with. We'd had breakfast and snacks before we left, so apart from the odd toilet stop or smoke break for me, there was no other reason to dawdle.
It was raining when we left Gisborne, and to my surprise Palmy's weather looked like this:

Blue skies in Palmy

Bloody hell, Palmy, you know how to turn it on! Lots of beautiful golden sunlight everywhere, especially as we were coming over the hill on Saddle Road. 
We stopped in at Ben and Monica's, then off to seek out toys and food. Back to Ben's, to eat and relax for 5 minutes. We went off to the Royal to talk to the owner, Jo.  I asked if it was ok to bring Tawhai along, he had proper hearing protection and I would be with him all night. Pleeease. Plus I had taken him to a Black Chrome gig at the Royal before. And his first proper gig was Swampfest in 2006. 
Luckily, Jo is a lovely lady and said yes. Yay! 
I know a few people in Palmerston North, and the ones I would ask to babysit for me were all playing that night. Haha. 
I saw Bitch Slap arrive too. Yay! Hadn't seen them since Deathpunkfest. 
Back to Ben's again, where Tawhai could contentedly finish building his Star Wars lego, and I could Doris it up.

Then I sat down and caught up properly with everyone. Dave told me some awesome stuff about pounamu in the South Island and gave me a piece.  It's got grey veins running through it and really beautiful. I heart pounamu (greenstone). 

Time to go! Tawhai, Dave, Twiggy, Ady and I piled into the car and headed for the Royal. A round of coke and raspberries for Tawhai and I, and we saw Betty Cobra at the bar. Yay!  Then we saw Ken Vicious sitting there. Yay! I haven't seen Ken for years. It was good to catch up.  Janne walked out of the back room, and I said hello to him too. Yay! He was soon followed by Graeme, whom we greeted as well. Yay! 

As you can tell, by all the yay's, I was in a pretty jolly mood at the start of the gig.  There were heaps of other people I saw during the gig and they all get big Yay's! too.

Righto. The bands.

The Methadonnas were up first. Despite the bass player being sick, they still kicked butt. I've been wanting to see this band for a while now, and I'm glad I did cos they fucking rule! The Methadonnas feature Betty Cobra on guitar (she pulls some mean licks) and Monica on drums.  And a sick guy on bass. I was told the bass player is required, as Ms. Cobra does some awesome solos, so I'll hold back on the 'You don't need a bass player!' remark I made on the night.


Tawhai asked if the gig was over, and I said no, there's still three more to go! He asked what happens next, so I explained that the next band sets up their instruments so they can play next. I tried not to mention the word 'backline' too much. We talked to Jamaine (Yay!) and Ben on the door. We walked around for a bit, and Tawhai was keen to see the next band. He even pulled me over to the side of the stage so he could see.

Then it was time for a Bitch Slap! They'd been on tour earlier in the year and they pulled out a set which showed it. They opened with a song called 'Scoundrel', which was pretty funny.  Actually, their whole set was full of amusing banter, but we're PG here, so I won't repeat it.  Fucking brilliant, I love it. Bitch Slap are Jo on guitar and Julia on drums. Two girls rocking out on stage. Hurry up and record something, ladies!

Bitch Slap

Once their set was over, we went for a walk outside. Tawhai and I kept talking about the clock tower in the Square, which is lit up to change colour at night. I think that's pretty cool. When I lived in PN, I always thought the Square was under-utilised. And I love the cubes everywhere. The Square is full of squaaaares. Geddit?

Did they use any Golden Ratios when they redesigned it? Enquiring minds want to know, and are too lazy to work it out for themselves. I know there are some triangles in there. Pythagoras would like that.  I'll stop trying to be clever and get back to the show. 
Back inside, we found a table and a creepy green light.

Our hands

Boss Christ were up next.  I had never seen them before, so was keen for a listen. Manawatu Monsterbilly! I loved their sound, and one of their songs made me laugh loudly like a dork. This down home sound seems to be pretty popular around Napier (Devil's Elbow) and the Manawatu at the moment. I did think the set was overly long, but luckily we had seats near the door, and the sound there was great. Highly entertaining. Definitely a would trade again out of Ten.

Boss Christ

Tawhai fell asleep while Boss Christ were playing. That isn't a comment on their set, it was just his bedtime. I held him on my lap while they played, and talked to Ken some more while the Best Band In The World were setting up. 

I was curiously excited to see Black Chrome. Oo-err. I'm surprised I didn't leave a sparkly trail! Their drummer, Von Chrome, has had to take a break from playing.  I've only seen one other drummer who pounds the skins like Von Chrome does. Oh god, I just wrote 'pounds the skins'. I've been reading Rolling Stone lately, and for that, I humbly apologise. Please forgive me!
Yeah, so it was the 3rd lineup shuffle in the band's history. It was going to be interesting to see how the sound would change.  

Luckily, they got his brother. And they kicked ass!
They played a lot of old favourites. 'Centurion of Hardcore' being one I haven't heard for a while. After Kapow!, (from the Takaro EP, which you can purchase from the band for a measly $10, just go to blackchrome.co.nz) I finally found a good spot, almost right in front of the speakers. Oh fuck yeah, that's betterer!  I seem to spend a lot of time at gigs finding the best place to soak up the sound.  I always love hearing Taniwha, my personal favourite. And Black Sun, another fave. And then they got Janne up to do the vocals. That was definitely a YEAHFUCKYEAH moment. 

Black Chrome with Janne

The band finished, the lights came on, I felt like I'd just seen the best show on earth. Fucking hell, Palmy, you sure make some good fucking music! 

Saw everyone else in the room. Dave picked Tawhai up and carried him around, while I said goodbye to the others in the back room. We all piled into the car, and toodled back to Ben's place.  

Tawhai woke up on the way back. He was quite happy to watch Batman with Dave. It was really cute.  Tawhai told Ben he really liked the last band. Awesome.
We got Tawhai to take some posey jugend photos, and had a bit of a swap meet with hair clips, badges and cds.

Posing for my boy

A few talks about where to have the next DouchePissFlaps, who has already hit me up to play, who else we can get to play. 
Are Turbonegro really going to come to Aussie? 
What's going on with the worldwide Turbojugend? Who cares, we rule!  
All that logistical stuff, that I will hint wildly at, until we make an announcement later in the year. 

Huge thanks to Mon & Ben for letting us stay at theirs, and to Twiggy & Dave for being awesome. Tawhai is still talking about you guys. 

And cheers to Janne, for being a bloody good reason to have a show like this.  And everyone else for making it happen! I loved it.

You can catch Black Chrome and the Methadonnas at their next gig with 1080 in New Plymouth. Facebook event page here!

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"So if some business guru came up to you and said, 'Hey, Nicki, if you lose the swear words…'"

Before the question is out she blows up. "Why do people ask me to lose swear words? Do people ask Eminem to lose swear words? Do they ask Lil Wayne to lose swear words? I did an interview the other day and when I saw it back I'm like, why the hell did she make the interview all about some goddamned kids? It was crazy. Five-year-old children shouldn't be the subject of a Nicki Minaj interview."

Excuse me, I say, trying to interrupt, can I just ask my question: what would you say to the business guru? "Well, first I want you to answer my question, then I'll answer yours."

I'm tempted to say that Eminem and Lil Wayne don't have such impressionable fans, but I don't think that's actually true. "Because it's a sexist world out there and we apply different values to women?" I offer.

"So make sure you put that in your article. Cos we're getting this on tape."
Nicki Minaj: 'I have bigger balls than the boys' | Music | The Guardian

This morning I have been reading this article and listening to Nicki Minaj. I like her style of rapping and her lyrics are pretty damn funny.  So far my favourites are Come on a Cone and I am your Leader.

The Avengers

Yesterday was Avengers Day! We saw the trailer for it when we went to watch Phantom Menace in February.  I'm loving all these comic book movies. I would have loved it when I was a kid, but it's better now I'm an 'adult' and I can go when I want to! Hehe.

Here's (another) photo of Tawhai and his movie buddy Maioha posing in front of their favourite super heroes:


and one of Tawhai with the Wrath of the Titans movie poster

We really enjoyed the movie. I'm still buzzing about it. Explodey things and stuff. Iron Man.
Probably one of the best 3D movies I've seen yet.

After the movie we had a kai and discovered the equivalent of Mos Eisley in Gisborne. Rockin'! 
Then we went home and the boys played Avengers (cos you gotta act the film out after seeing it, amirite?). 
Then it was time for tea and we took Maioha home. Where the boys played some more.

It was a wonderful day, just what the doctor ordered.

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It was ace! After I finished muppeting around and cleaning the house in the morning, cuddling the cats goodbye and packing the car, we would have left at midday.
The drive went exceptionally well, the Waioeka wasn't as bad as I thought it would be after watching the videos of the hillside tumbling down! The Gisborne area has had it rough for the last month or so, with all the flipping rain and the ensuing landslides.
Here's a photo in the Gorge as we were stopped at the lights:

Huge slip

We took the Edgecumbe Road between Whakatane and Matata this time; lots of straights and very flat. But you come out at the right moment, and you still get to drive past the cliffs with all the pohutukawa growing on them. 

We arrived in Auckland by 7.45pm, so, counting in all the toilet and food stops (Matamata McD's is a bit shit btw), that's some good driving.  I felt like utter crap though, I'd come down with this awful virus that I had been in denial about for the previous week. 
We hung out with the whanau for a little while, I drank so much hot water!  And I finally went to bed at 1am.

The next day we headed out to Manukau city, looking for toys.  I got totally sucked into buying this nail kit (???!!!) by a guy from Israel. Never go to Israel, Mel. You'll buy everything, you sucker! Bloody good nails though, amirite?!
Tawhai got a new Batman lego set (everything is Batman right now) and we went to the supermarket.
Friday night was a relatively quiet one, no plans to go out as the big day was Saturday. I cooked a lovely dinner for us ladies while the boys played their PS3. We watched the dvd of my nephews performing in their kapa haka group at Polyfest last month. 

It was mean as! I loved it, and as you can imagine, gushed all over the place. 
"Look Jhey-jhey! Dere's you! Look Rekky! Dere's you! OH LOOK DERE DEY ARE TOGEDDER SQUEAL!"

And you thought I only squealed about rock n roll bands.
Shows how much you know about me.

Here's my lovely nephew Derek, with his nephew James:


I love that big smile he kept flashing me!! 
Tawhai did a haka for us too.  One day, I'll be squealing at him up on that kapa haka stage <3
It's what Aunties and Mums do.

Later on we posed in front of the webcam for some family photos. A photo of taking photos! 


Saturday loomed and we left early to make our way to Takapuna, and the Bruce Mason Centre. We arrived with plenty of time to spare, so we went to try out Nandor's Chicken.


Ain't he cute? As I posted in the caption for this photo, Coke should sponsor my boy. He loves the stuff.

Then it was BEN 10 SHOWTIME! After raiding the merch stall (I make the stuff AND BUY IT TOO!), we were in our seats.
The anticipation and wonderment:


and then there's my favourite photo from the whole trip:


Tawhai loved the show. He clapped and cheered and said 'OOoooh look Mum!' heaps of times. After we came out he said 'the story was kinda lame, but the characters were really cool'. I'm glad he loved it. We saw the ads for the show last December and I bought the tickets before Xmas. And we have been planning and saving for the trip ever since. So many times we go on trips and it's because someone else has something on that we feel obliged to go to. Well, this trip was all about my boy and what he likes to do. 
If I'd have seen the tickets/notifications for How to Train Your Dragon in time we could have afforded to go to that too, but you know, there will be other shows.  And we will go.

After the show we drove over to Beach Haven and visited Mum for a few hours. Tawhai ran inside first, and hearing Mum squeal with delight at seeing her mokopuna was so worth it. They were just making some fresh hot bread, so we had some of that and a cuppa, while watching (wait for it) Batman, The Dark Knight. 
I fell asleep. I can never stay awake during the Bale Batmans! Tawhai told his grandmother all about the show. And Batman.

Soon enough it was time to head back to the South, and we waved good bye to Mum and set out for the bridge. Tawhai loves going over the Auckland Harbour Bridge and looking over the city.  You know Auckland, you really are quite the pretty city. 
And huge! You could spend days driving around in her, and you know what? We've done that! Haha.

When Tawhai arrived back at Rewa Hard, he told everyone all about the show! And Batman.  Derek cooked me some late night snacks and Shey made me a yummy coffee! Baby James smiled and gurgled at Tawhai's drawings. We watched some movies and I slithered off to bed, in preparation for the Big Drive the next day.  Tawhai sat up with his Aunty Dee, and then came to bed.

A sunny Sunday morning in Auckland greeted me as I got up and promptly walked into the closed door. Urgh. More sleeps needed perhaps? Haha. We were ready to go by midday again and bid farewell to our wonderful family in Manurewa.

The drive home was good. Pies seemed to be the order of the day. I have a thing for Butter Chicken pies at the moment. The perfect blend of New Zealand and Indian culture? I'm beginning to think so.  I don't know where to get any in Gisborne, and it's probably just as well, because I will start looking like a Butter Chicken pie! 

In Tauranga we stopped at the Batman mural. Because if you hadn't figured it out already, someone really likes Batman.


Can you see his Batman expression? 

I was hoping to make it to Opotiki well before dark, as I was worried about being able to get through the Waioeka Gorge in time.  Turns out I needn't have worried, they had the place lit up like a brightly lit up thing!


We arrived in Gisborne just after 7pm. Picked up some roast dinner and headed home. All the fur babies (except Lemmy) were there waiting for us. Yay!! We all had dinner, then I had a shower, and Tawhai had a shower. The cats can give themselves showers.  Then we went to bed and watched Lord of the Rings Two Towers. 

An excellent drive, finished off by an excellent night at home.  Thank you, universe! Thank you to my lovely family in Auckland, my neighbour here for looking after the cats, and of course my son for being the totally awesome travel buddy!

Even when life has a way of dumping shit on your head, you can still feel very blessed and loved by the people around you.


APOD: 2012 April 6 - Venus and the Sisters

Venus and the Sisters

This is a beautiful picture of Kōpū and Matariki sourced from APOD: 2012 April 6 - Venus and the Sisters.

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Things I have done lately.

There's been a lot going on over the past couple of weeks.

Last week, Tawhai and I went to Waipiro Bay. This was for a school trip. We spent three days at Iritekura marae, which is more or less right on the beach. We learnt a lot about the ancestress Iritekura, visited two other marae, played games, ate, walked around Waipiro Bay and participated in other activities.

It was so good! Getting away from it all and staying on a marae is sometimes just the thing to make everything tickety-boo.

Wow. I can't believe I just wrote that. It's such an anomaly, I'll leave it in.

Anyway, you can check out my fotos on phacebook here.
Some of my favourites are:

When we got back I realised that CD2 of Ginger Wildheart's new triple album 555% was about to be released. I pledged for this aaaages ago. I've been quite excited to hear the final releases! And the whole 'getting-up-early-to-be-part-of-an-online-listening-party' is a real buzz.  You can read about the project here.

There's been a bit of excitement at home this week. On Tuesday a film crew from JAM TV arrived and interviewed me in the shed. I'm very good at coming out with dorky answers, as well as laughing at my own jokes. Like a good chucklehead.
I'm not sure when the finished product will be aired, but I do know it is part of a programme that covers the entire East Coast. So how much I actually feature in the final edit will be interesting to see. And hopefully, not cringe-worthy. Like my grammar.

Here's a couple of photos I took.

Life rolls on, and school holidays have arrived. The storms have decimated several roads out of the district, so wishing everyone happy and safe travels.
I'm off to hover around my son.