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This week: two funerals. The first was for a home economics teacher who lives in South Dunedin. Her parents are members of my parish. She had leukemia. It went into remission for a while and when it returned she decided against further chemotherapy. Essentially she chose to step through, to Aslan’s country. Her death came suddenly as she had only gone to the hospice for the final stage at the weekend. The church at which her funeral was held was packed. At her request it was No Flowers, Bring A Plate of Favorite Food. Believe me I haven’t seen catering like that in a while. The tables should have been groaning under the weight!

The second funeral was for a retired minister of religion. He was one of the founders of the department of religious studies at the university. A delightful man with an impish smile, he could listen to anyone and genuinely say at the end That’s Very Interesting, and mean it. He also loved jazz and introduced students to the work of Sadao Watanabe. Now he has gone into the eternal moment of an unfolding future. He shall be missed.

A Dunedin photoshop went into receivership today. Photos from the Knox College collection had to be retrieved from them very quickly. Too late in the day and it would have become difficult as they would have been considered assets of the business.

I have noticed a number of people saying that getting back into their gym training after the holidays is a gutbuster. Better to start gently and work back into it. I was alright over the holiday season as I kept up my practice during that period. I’m still trying to catch up with my week away in Wellington. That put me back.

Albie, mi alashiya, shantih, shantih, shantih


Remember Albie who has passed beyond the veil, and entered into his rest.
May Michael, prince of angels, come to meet him and lead him home.

That’s why I hate the French


A letter to the Conlang list by Christophe inspired me to go looking for the lyrics by Rowan Atkinson. The funny thing is I think I’ve only heard it once and when I sing the refrain it is in a charicatured French accent.

We offered kindly to donate them Calais.
And all they gave us back was the bidet.
And now they won’t let us go on holiday.
That’s why I hate the French, mmm,
That’s why I hate the French.

They all wear berets and they’re all called Jacques,
They even steal from us the words they lack.
Le Weekend, Le Camping and cul de sac.
That’s why I hate the French, oh,
That’s why I hate the French.

They claim their films are the best we’ve ever had.
Well I suppose Emmannuelle wasn’t bad.
Charles Aznavour is always so depressed.
Wouldn’t you be if, qui qui, meant yes?
Sacha Distel has raindrops falling on his head.
I wonder if Jean Paul Satre knows he is dead.
What I resent is that they’re so good in bed.
That’s why I hate French, oh,
That’s why I hate the French.

They bake their bread in such a naughty shape.
They brag about their wine and worship the grape.
They criticise our food but then they eat crepe.
That’s why I hate the French, oh,
That’s why I hate the French.

And now they started coming here in droves.
French cigarettes, French letters and French clothes.
I’m sick and tired of eating all this brie.
and I’ll be buggered if I go to gay Paris.
They’re pretty cocky ’bout their games in the dark.
They think with girls they light a special spark.
But look what the bastards did to Joan of Arc.
That’s why I hate the French, oh,
That’s why I hate the French, mmm,
That’s why I hate the French.

Images from Urville

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I saw this on a documentary once. It was about the brain in all its permutations. A young autistic Frenchman has been creating his own imaginary city in images, and according to his website, in lego, since his childhood. The images are rather detailed.

Hat-tip: Something Rotten

Be patient with me…

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…I’ve taken out an account on Flickr.


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First off a week in Wellington proved to be a refreshing extra-long break with which to start the new year.

I saw the colossal squid at Te Papa museum. It is the only one on display in the world. Quite fascinating. Did you know that the hooks in a squid’s tentacle can swivel. It’s worth seeing if you are in Wellington. All that squid rings and no chips!

I enjoyed going to the jousting tournament in the Hutt Valley. Watching the foot combat brought back nostalgic memories of when there was a metal weapons group in Dunedin. Mass combats until everybody fell down. Ah, happy memories! The jousting was fun, watching men and women on horseback striking each other with lances tipped with balsa wood. I think I will go agin in 2011. Wellington is better off for the range of mediaeval re-enactment groups operating there. If I had the guarantee of a job I would move there straightaway. Sadly there are no openings for archivists with my modest qualifications and appalling interviewing skills.

I crossed the strait with the ghost who walks and we visited our cousins. We were only there for a couple of hours as we wanted to get back there same day. Perhaps I will make plans to see them again as they are my favorite whanau.

I stocked up on my last two months of comics — which caused surgery on my wallet without an anaesthetic, ouch! — and lost my glasses for most of the week. We found them in the last place on the day I left. I wasn’t worried about finding them again as it has been more than two years since I upgraded them and I know they should be replaced.

Would you believe the air hostess on my flight home took sick just as the plane was talking off. The flight was delayed for about 45 minutes. I had bought a four volume translation of The Journey to the West so I used to the time to get started on that.

Best show I watched while I was away was a couple of episodes of a mini-series where the last survivors of a zombie plague in Britain are the members of the Big Brother house. Blood! Guts! Undead! Vacuous idiocy! I have enough dark humour to find it funny. Shaun the Sheep came a close second.

Home again; and back to work. My cat was on hand to greet me when I returned.

hobbit-spotting: New Year

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New Year was nice. I got into the Octagon about half past nine. The Oxo-Cubans were playing on a sound stage which they had put up in the lower Octagon. Last year they had moved it toward the centre facing the lower Octagon allowing people to surround it. Presumably someone was unhappy with that arrangement so they returned to the older format. I think I may have recognised one of the musicians as being the Saxman. I did not get close enough to confirm this.

No matter where I stood in the crowd above the steps it seemed that I was caught in the thoroughfare of people. Maybe if I’m by myself next year I will take to the dance area in front of the stage. At least there I can bounce back. When I got down there after midnight there were a lot of people my age (40something) who are not ashamed to boogie! Go feet!

Fireworks at midnight, great fun and marvelous show. I had my camera with me and I got carried away. It was an unused film and when I stopped the dial read 34. As I choose to use black and white film I hope that they turn out okay.

Since then I’ve been bumming around at home and not moving much. Today was the first day that I got out as I knew the gym would be open and I took advantage of it. On Tuesday I’m away to Wellington for a week. The Phantom invited me to visit him so we can go to the mediaeval tournament in the Hutt Valley. As I will be there a couple of days early there may be an opportunity to visit my cousins in Nelson across the strait.

If I don’t write anything beforehand then ‘see you on the other side’; and Happy New Year: We Survived Another One!