Archive for October, 2009

A nice day for a date

Saturday, October 31st, 2009
Da Vinci bridge

The Bridge Builders

Today, our youngest and I decided to grab a little one-on-one time together as we haven’t had a ‘date’ for a long time.  Leaving the rest of the family to boring clothes shopping, we headed downtown to see the Da Vinci Machines exhibition.  While a little smaller and a little more pricey/commercial than I was expecting, we spent an hour or so wandering round looking at and discussing the themed replica exhibits.  These ranged from the well-known like the air screw, flying machine and tank to smaller explorations of engineering principles like the wormscrew, column-lifting machine and autolock mechanism.

We both won a bookmark (a.k.a. exhibition advert) by managing to replicating one of Da Vinci’s arched bridge designs from a pile of notched logs.  Da Vinci created these designs for the Duke of Milan, Ludovico ‘Il Moro’ to facilitate rapid troop movements across rivers while carrying out surprise attacks.  It took us four attempts to get the structure stable enough to bear our weight and one wonders how easy it would have been to build these bridges without access to both sides of the river or under a hail of arrows or flaming shot!

A little peckish from our bridge-building efforts, we crossed the street and wandered into the small, friendly and pleasingly un-commercial Auckland City Farmer’s Market.  There we tried out various things to eat including the delicious pita bread cooked on site by the lovely folk at Abu-Melamed Bakery, poppy seed and Parmesan bagels from the bubbly peeps at the Bagel Love stall and great spicy hot dogs with smoky capsicum sauce from two ladies at an unnamed stall.  Sharing a sunny table, we talked to a nice couple who came from Hawaii and Sydney (long distance love?) and took a photo for them – in return, they gave us both a big juicy strawberry!  We shared a fruit smoothie while we walked over to the Maritime Museum where one of us got our face painted before we walked up and down Queen Street looking in bookshops and chatting.  An ice cream in the sun topped off our trip and we slowly headed home for a cup of tea with big grins on our faces.

R.I.P. GeoCities

Monday, October 26th, 2009


I discovered that Yahoo’s GeoCities is being shut down today – and with it a few of my fledgling attempts at blogs.  I clicked over there to find that only the index page of my first serious attempt remains, with broken links to my hand drawn graphics and 404 pages for the rest.


Back in the day, I used to blog a lot about food which I still do occasionally (see blog roll top right).  I was also a bit of a PDA geek and wrote a fair amount about Palms, Psions and iPaqs, which led me to writing a few pieces for the much-missed Happy Palm website, where I met my good friends Chuck, Jason and Roger.  I’m not an overly nostalgic person but I’ll miss those first stumbling steps and over-use of all those things we used to think essential in a web site like scrolling marqees and flashing text – a look captured brilliantly by the marvellous xkcd today.  I’ll close with the footer from my old site.



Sunday, October 25th, 2009

A while back, we spent a fun evening working as models for the lovely photographer/artist Jennifer Mason.  She came to our house with her partner and had us pose in a tableau-like manner for a variety of pretend situations.  One of these resulted in the shot below – the everyday story of a proud Dad snapping the favoured daughter with her medals while the bored/jealous sisters look on.

Proud © Jennifer Mason

This morning, we received a message from Jennifer:

Good news, I entered ‘Proud’ in the Waiheke Art Award.  Last night it opened.  And I won the Zini Douglas Merit Award, The Elizabeth Grierson Merit Award and I sold the work within 1/2 an hour of the show opening.

It is peculiar to think that a picture of us has been purchased by someone and may very well end up hanging in their house for other to look at.

Living Biblically

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

Compared to the US and the UK, books are pretty expensive in New Zealand.  This is due in part, I’m sure, to the fact that we’re a flipping long way from anywhere and, according to a lady in my favourite bookshop, the closure of the last book warehouse in NZ.  Apparently, all NZ booksellers now stock from vast book-caves somewhere in the Aussie outback.

For these reasons, I am grateful that, despite being preoccupied with moving his family of four from autumnal UK to the NZ spring, my good friend Dave, of funkypancake fame, did me a great favour by sneaking a copy of A.J. Jacobs – The Year of Living Biblically into his luggage.

I’m a couple of chapters in and it’s a great read so far.  This is mainly because – though the book is both wry and funny – Jacobs hasn’t gone for the easy/cheap laughs but instead has really tried to explore what it means to live to the letter of the Scriptures in the 21st century.


Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

My Californian friend Chuck is the web guy and events guy behind the new web ministry/mission/resource MyBakersfieldChurch.

MyBakersfieldChurch is here to enhance local churches, not take away from them – as a group of local Christians and Friends we felt a desire put on our hearts to really work to create a resource that would benefit all of Bakersfield – not just singling out Pastors and Members – but opening up the possibilities to new comers to the faith, as well as quite simply the area.  The goal of the web site is quite simple – to bring people back to Church, we are not looking to become an Online Church, but rather a stepping stone of bringing believers and non-believers into a local congregation that fits their needs.

Chuck has been working on the site and tweeting the odd progress report for some time and tweeted the launch a few hours back.  Well done to Chuck and his buddies for taking a fresh approach!

Free isn't always good

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Free isn’t always good. During a bible class about a month back, our pastor handed out some complimentary Bible tabs. Ever the skinflint, I scooped up a set and spent hours carefully applying them to my favourite church/daily devotions NLT Bible – and almost immediately regretted it.

Tabs obscuring tabs, tabs tearing pages (of Lamentations appropriately enough), tabs generally making life more difficult – all of which are pretty much the antithesis of their stated purpose. Early Saturday morning, with a fortifying coffee in one hand and the kitchen scissors in the other, I removed them and got the Bible I’d missed.

Lesson learned.

Promise Keepers 09 in Auckland!

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Four hours until Promise Keepers 09 in Auckland! Picture from last year’s worship session.

Third Day: Call My Name

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

16: Moments

Friday, October 2nd, 2009