Ok, Christmas is over, and has been for several days. I got to the Church of Christ Christmas lunch. The church open plan was filled with tables. When everyone arrived they filled the hall. The newspaper estimated the numbers as 250 people. I helped by cleaning leftovers as plates were returned for washing. It was a good exercise and something I would want to do in future years.

I saw mum for a couple of days. She came up to Dunedin on Christmas evening. We did a bit of wandering while she was here. One day we went out to Purakanui, my ancestral settling place on Otago harbour and ended up in Aramoana. I wish I had my camera with me because there were some interesting cribs out there, the kind of thing of which I like getting pictures. We got to Purakanui in the end, but didn’t find our family who live there.

The other place where I should have had my camera was our visit to the Chinese garden. For those readers who are not familiar with this venture Dunedin’s Chinese garden was built by workmen from China in 2008 and opened earlier in the same year. I believe it is promoted as the biggest authentic Chinese garden outside of mainland China. Even if it is built next to a railway line and gets the wind from Dunedin’s industrial area by the harbour. Fortunately Dunedin has no offensively smelly industries. The plants in the garden are established now and some of the rawness of the new garden is passing. It’s a great place to take older children: paths and water and rocks to climb, just let them run! I like the city scape looking out from inside the garden.

Also took mum to the Rita Angus exhibition at the Art Gallery (which is free). Still recommended.

The weather has been consistently getting to 30C/87F during the daytime since Christmas. I have retaliated by two new pairs of long shorts. Normally I prefer to wear full-length trousers. We shall see how much the universe can withstand exposure to my legs.

Link for the day

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David Haywood of Public Address has written a Christmas story to read for children on Christmas Eve. It is nearly as good as last year's story. Mary’s Christmas Gorilla still makes me smile when I read it.

If you have read about Albert Otter then one reader on the discussion page provided an Official Portrait.

Ghost of Kitmas Past

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l’Enfant de Jeu‘s photos of kittens experimenting with places to sleep has reminded me yet again of the first night that I brought Fremen home. I think I have written about it before. That night she managed to disappear twice. She was supposed to be closed in my bedroom. I went through the house looking for her and even outside the house. Then I went through my desk and found her in one of the drawers. I guess she investigated the back of the drawers in my desk until she found a space she could get through and curl up in.

The second time I treated it as less urgent. I leisurely wandered around the room looking for her. When I called her name her head popped up out of my clothes basket. She didn’t do it again so I never found out if she climbed in.

From the three cats I have staffed I have learned that only stupid cats get lost. I cite the example of Tessa, but then she was a paranoid psychopath before I got her, and a longhair to boot.

Link for today: Cool Maps has a map of North America from the Atlas of True Names.

Mind Map (December)

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A Portal to another MindMap! A Portal to another MindMap! A Portal to another MindMap! A Portal to another MindMap! A Portal to another MindMap!


Curious, some of the people who have been important in my life this year are on the periphery of this map.

Update: Now that colours and relationships have filled in I see the emerging pattern. To the left is a large urban tribe with the members who are visible to me. I know that it is much larger than that. To the right is another group related to each other with Southern Dave and Cajetan65 at the centre. Above me are three friends who come out of Ill Bethisad. Finally are three friends who are independent of the others, two of which are inactive. Interesting.


After falling behind a week while I did my newsletter I have caught up with reading my feeds. I did a count this evening, I have 95 feeds that I check regularly. They sit in Akregator on my computer until an accident or clearing a feed wipes them away. I should post links of what sits in there.

Merry Eczemas

Eczemas (pronounced X-mas) the annual festival for celebrating skin disease #scratch scatch#



Christmas is less than a week away and I haven’t made any plans for it. I intend to spend the day with my cat. She is the only one I have bought anything so far. There was a bag of cat toys at the supermarket and I didn’t resist. I think I have convinced my mother not to visit me on Christmas day, a two hour trip from Invercargill. She will visit on Boxing day and perhaps then I can continue my tradition of buying calendars for the aunts.

I asked the university chaplain if there was any voluntary missions on for Christmas day in the city. There is only the Church of Christ apparently. I would be tempted to offer my assistance. It depends if this scratchy throat infection that I have caught clears up. I’m bullying it with medication and lots of hot blackcurrent cordial.

I did not get to our last evening service for the year. It was a blue Christmas service and I don’t think it quite worked for me last year.

The university library closes on Tuesday at 4pm for Christmas so I don’t think I will get in there again until 2009 now. On Monday the Archivist will be away for the holidays and also on Tuesday will be the annual end of year shout for all the staff on the Knox College campus.

So that’s it really.

The Day the Earth Stood Still

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And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was was the likeness as the appearance of a man above on it

And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about it: from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.

As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about.


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The Presbyterian News is now nearly all posted out. I found I was ordering 1200 copies and sending out 1k so I reduced the numbers this time. Now I can relax again. I have gone back to working on my eclectic language. I left off writing a list of prepositions using the first chapter of H. Rick‘s Universal Word Lexicon as a paradigm. It’s proving to be an interesting exercise because Malay has contributed prefixes to some of the prepositions that mark place words as movement to or from a point, or at a point; and Russian has provided a whole lot of detail about prepositions and case. I have to harmonise them.

To quote Ph.D. comics (which I have already used on another forum this week: “We can’t give up now. It’s gotta be beautiful all the way down.”

Note to self: find time to get into the university library and delve into a book on the etymology of the instrumental case of Russian. I’ve sure I’ve read it somewhere. Unfortunately research at the moment is hindered because the library is not in semester time.

Tomorrow, if I juggle my timetable right I should get into town to collect my second film of photos. I finished it at the Santa parade. I’m hopeful.


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It was a poor weekend for Boston T. to visit Dunners for the cricket. Friday was too wet for any play, and it took the groundsmen two and a half hours to dry the pitch sufficiently for play to begin for the day. By which time he had retreated to the pubs. As a result I have seen more pub interiors this weekend than I had for several years previously. I’m not into the pub scene so the result has been educational. I now have an opinion.

Some comments:

  • Harleys Sports Bar, felt like a working club incongruously placed in Scarfie Land, Dunedin’s student quarter. Pleasant enough that since Boston T. left me with a loyalty card I plan to go back and enjoy one of their special deal roasts in the future.
  • The Captain Cook, the toilet was an alien-sector for urine-breathers. The musty smell in the main bar suggests that regulars are secretly using a corner of the room instead.
  • The Bog, Irish-themed bar that used to be the Albert Arms of happy memory. The beer is good. I had a Kilkenny draught which bartender brought over to me after it had settled. I have fond memories of dinners at the Albert so their catering is bit of a betrayal. Still I can’t resist a big plate of lamb’s shanks and potatoes!
  • The Robbie Burns, costliest of the bars we tried and dead miserable service. It had the smallest crowd we found for an early Friday night. We didn’t linger. I was disappointed as it is a bar I have seen friends frequent.
  • The Duke of Wellington, more beers from the West European Islands than I can shake a stick at! One of my favorites.
  • The Poolhouse, popular with pool-players, obviously. Good selection of tasty beers, no t.v. to watch the cricket.
  • The Fever Room, we didn’t go in, but we were certain the people outside were either cross-dressing or disco fans. We decided to be too provincial to venture in, it was beer we were questing for.
  • The Lawcourts, big burgers and big t.v. ‘Nuff said!
  • The Lemon Room, okay for streetside drinking, but I wouldn’t want to linger.
  • The Break, too close to the Octogan, and too far away to attract a big crowd.
  • The Victoria, dead, even the barboy was bored.
  • After all that beer I slept well.

    Doctor, I’m suffering from re-occuring bouts of house guests

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    This is the third week in a row that I’m expecting visitors. First there was the blokes on bikes, then there was the National Novel Writing Month survivor. Now this weekend a visiting cricket fan. Makes me wonder if I’ve caught something. Could it be contagious?

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