Monday, January 30, 2012

Photo Ops Gone Begging

I had hoped at my weekend away up country would have provided many and varied photo opportunities for me to practice my craft...  I spent the first couple of overcast days spotting places I could stop when the light was advantageous; the forecast for this morning was good.
Staying right by the sea as I was, on my list was the plan to fulfill one of the tasks on my 50 list and capture a sunrise. I also planned to stop at the marina to shoot some of the boats' morning reflections, as the water was beautifully still. There were other spots along my coastal drive that also had potential.
So the idea this morning was to get up early and fulfill some of those goals. Unfortunately I did something I rarely do - turned off my alarm and fell back to sleep...
So the weather stuffed me of the first couple of days, and today it as my fatigue. These are pretty much rushed snapshots that I took this morning and had a little tootoo with in Aperture3.

Pride Personified

Proud of this handsome man.
Two CCs means he is alfway to his Champion title now, and collected a Reserve of Group and two Intermediate of Groups along the way.
The horrible trip to Whangarei was certainly worth it.
But we are all very happy to be back home now!

365 Week 4

Theme for the week... "S".

L to R ... Sleeping, S.E.X., steps, sandwich, sushi, Stirling, sashes!

Full sized images can be viewed... here.

Friday, January 27, 2012

On Tripping

Apologies in advance if this post it a little 'diary' in format... It's been that kind of day.
I am away on a mini adventure this weekend. I classify it as such as I am in new territory - it may be just up the road a bit, but I have never been here before. Well not as an adult anyway.
I have been planning this trip to Whangarei for a wee while. Ordinarily I would never go away the weekend before school starts, but seeing as things are a little bit different for me this year, I thought what the hey, and entered Stirling in 5 shows that are on up here this long weekend.
It might not seem like a big deal, but logistically is kind of is. Hugo and Reilly need to be cared for - and Reilly is still on medication, and I needed to find somewhere up here that was dog friendly to stay. Remember, the authentic camping experience is not really my buzz...
So I found this place, the Blue Heron Holiday Park, 20 mins out if Whangarei. But getting here today was not quite the trip I had envisioned... one where I would leave early, soak up the scenery on the way, maybe stopping to take some photos...
Firstly, I dropped my two big boys at Aunty Mignon's, planning to head north from there, but then I realised I had not alarmed my house. Living where I do that's not wise for a long weekend. So off I went home again to turn it on. It was already on.
As I left (again) it was raining... you know how cars just morph out of the road when it rains, clogging the motorways? Add to that the other smart farts, who like me, decided they would get away early for the long weekend, and you get the picture. A.Very. Slow. Trip.
The front that was to move up the country today, I travelled amidst all the way, requiring intense concentration needed on the driving front. As far a a road trip goes, this was not one of the fun ones...
But almost as soon as I arrived in my little slice of paradise, the weather started to clear. I can't really fault my little cabin - a stone's throw from the sea double bed for me and Stirling haha, kitchen, little outdoor area to enjoy on the next two fine evenings, toilet and shower very accessible, carpark immediately outside, free wifi, and  TV - the latter of which I had not expected. The only things I am missing are a wine glass - hence the tumbler lol, a mirror and ... some human company. Tripping would be so much more fun with a person to share it all with as well...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Enjoying Summer (At Last)

 Yes, I am playing silly buggers with these photos - poor dogs - not much better than dressing them up in teeny tiny human clothes, is it? I must say none of them were particularly impressed with me, hence having to hold Reilly's chin up to get his one done!

It's paying homage to actually having seen the sun for a few days on end now. The boys and I enjoyed a proper walk in Botanic Gardens this afternoon - long time since this has happened, what with 2 weeks inside on a block course, and Reilly with a bung eye.

I was prepared to manage three mad dogs considering this hiatus. However I was surprised and pleased to have three relatively compliant dogs on short leashes for a change. I am not sure what has initiated this change in behaviour - perhaps having me home for longer? Equally I am not at all sure that it will last. Next time we might just be back into being pulled any-which-way in the direction of an attractive smell...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

365 Week 3 - Yellow!

It was actually harder than I thought to find something yellow worth capturing each day this week. Some are a bit naff I'm afraid. My favouite yellow find was the sculpture I passed each weekday at uni - Export Butter by Donn Ratana.
All images can be seen on my Flickr page. A bit bigger than you can see them here :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thinking Hurts!

...ergo it looks as though it is going to be a 'painful' year lol!
Two weeks of 'Research Methods' learning is behind me. Not that I know all I need to know yet, in fact I am now aware of how much learning (and thinking) I need to do before I can even begin my Masters' thesis.
Unlike my previous full semester, online papers, which eke out the content over a four month period, interspersed with assignments, all dissemination of 'knowledge' from the experts has been done, and now it is up to us - me - to add to, deepen and process that knowledge in order to complete the assignment requirements over the coming weeks.
More importantly however, is the thinking I need to do as I synthesize and clarify all I have been exposed to as it is all critical to the development of a) my Research Question, b) my Research Proposal and c) my planned methodology. All of these things need to be thought out before I can process, develop and submit my thesis application.
I am not a fast thinker, I am a reflective thinker. No, actually I am an over-thinker. So I think I need to get my thinking sorted out smartly or I am going to be in a lot of pain!
A timetable for the next month is going to be a priority for me to develop over the weekend to ensure I plan out what I am going to think about and how long I can spend cogitating one thing before I have to move on to the next - OUCH!

The photos today I took with my phone as I walked to my final class this morning. Thirty - YES 30 - years ago this was home for a year. T Coll Hall of Residence. D Block. D44 to be precise. Don't remember a lot of thinking going on back then!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Little Pirate Dog(s)

It may look as though he's giving you a wink, but really, his eye is still very sore and sensitive to the light. Reilly is (hopefully) recovering from a corneal ulcer, which has seen him a very miserable little dog for the past three days. Within the past afternoon he does seem to have brightened, so maybe the antibiotics are kicking in.
Worst case scenario he could have lost an eye. Add that to his missing teeth, some extracted and some just 'lost', and a real pirate I would have had.

PS Looks like Hugo's aspiring to join him. Not with the ulcer, but with the missing teeth... His front tooth is uber wiggly and it's not as if another will grow in it's place once it falls out... Boo.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

No. 1 Fan

Some people are nutty about their sports teams. Warriors fans certainly are generally a proud and sometimes obsessed lot, and a guy that is doing the same uni paper as me is a prime example. I think that he has worn some kind of Warriors clothing every day on the course (it's been nearly two weeks) and this is the car he drives. Today I had my phone in my hand as I returned to my car, and seeing as we were parked in close proximity, decided I would snap a shot to show another ardent Warriors fan I know, my friend Kate.
Well, it seems that I was snapped too, as the car's owner also returned at that moment. A small, not typically 'manly' car, he told me that it was originally his sister's car. That explained the Warriors soft toys in the back. He had bought the car from her after she had suggesting selling it, following a stroke which left her unable to drive. She, he said, was the biggest Warriors fan of all. She even had a car seat in the back with a Warriors doll-baby strapped in it! Number One Fan indeed. The Mad Butcher would be proud.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

One of my Favourite Subjects

And I am not talking school in this context!

Miss Isabella enjoyed telling me about her garden today.

Including pointing out what a Silly Billy I was to mistake the cucumber plant for a pumpkin.

I think this is a super photo of her, though I am picking her Mum would prefer she was wearing a different headband...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Skating in the Rain

The last of the only shots I really like, that I took last Sunday at the Three Little Wishes course.

365 Week 2 - Lines

Week 2 of my 2012 iPhone-ography 365. I am finding it so much easier to do via my phone, not having to carry by DSLR with me everywhere.

This week I looked out for lines, trying to not be too literal about this. The link to the 'full sized' images on Flickr can be found here.

Uploading to Flickr is also meaning I am underway with another of my 50 List challenges - Make better use of my Flickr (or other photo sharing) account.

Friday, January 13, 2012

What do you mean, it's raining? #2

A second photo taken on a rainy Sunday in Auckland's CBD. This wee girl was such a delight to watch, much liker her brother.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What do you mean its raining?

Well there's certainly been a lot of rain in NZ this 'summer!"
This little dude (and his sister) did not mind one bit. It was a delight watching them both on Sunday, playing in the water spouts outside the Atrium along from Britomart.
The adult with them - possibly Grandma - was to be applauded. They were gonna get wet anyway, so she just let them go for it.

I love the fact that he is having so much fun, while the couple in the background are huddled under an umbrella...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Some things change, some stay the same

First day back on Campus at Waikato University today. It is 30 years since I first enrolled. Things have certainly evolved.
The picture on my ID card sure looks different. When I get home I might just dig out the old ones for comparison and a laugh...
I still remembered my ID number off pat after all those years.
The car-park that it was recommended we park in did not exist in '82.
The main library is apparently BRAND new - I would never have recognised it, least of all as the place my then flatmate entered wearing my Ali Baba basket as a disguise to commemorate our last week. Other pics I must dig out maybe.
Sushi was not sold on campus. I am glad it is now. Mine was delicimo.
The entry to the Education space has changed.
But the corridors are vaguely familiar.

And the smell is exactly the same.

University of Waikato Library

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Out on the Street

Just grabbed a small self indulgent moment amongst the nervous readying for the start of my academic year... a little play with a photo from today.
I attended an Intermediate course with Three Little Wishes today - great tutors, quality programme; highly recommended. Even if the day was not the best weather wise, we had a lovely little group (lovely and small, and lovely people) and I definitely had fun gaining new knowledge and skills.
Our day began in Albert Park, before we meandered down Queen St to Britomart (no trains today, repairs!) and then on to Atrium on Elliott as the Viaduct would not have been much fun in the rain.
I took this on Queen Street. I have always been fascinated by Street Photography, but not owning the longest of lenses, I feel a bit self conscious out there snapping people as they go about their daily business, in case I get snapped.

I guess this shot is a reflection of that. But I hope to get out 'on the street' more and give it more of a go - need to keep getting braver to keep getting better!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

365 Week 1 - Mornings

First week of my iPhone-ography 365 challenge complete...

Actually, because it is a leap year it will be a 366, won't it?

Week 1's theme is Mornings, and full images can be found via this link to my flickr account.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Cute KIds

Some favourite shots from yesterday that I am keeping on my blog for posterity...


Thursday, January 5, 2012

The 'Other Side'...

Finally made it to Rachel's new house for bubbles today - and the boys came too.
The Other Side of the fence has been a tempting but previously unreachable out-of-bounds area for my boys for eons. A land of great mystery and allure.
The ground alongside my side of the fence to The Other Side bears a well worn path. Previous neighbours had a pekingese that used to hoarsely bark at them continuously through the fence. While we seldom barked back, we would follow him along, back and forth from time to time. Pesky birds on trees on the Other Side always seem that much more out of reach, and the fence is scarred with scratch marks which illustrate their attempts to get them.
So was the grass greener on The Other Side? Well all three certainly had a lot of fun exploring Rachel's back yard, which is lovely and large, with plenty of running space. This little video was taken about an hour after we arrived, so most of the frantic exploring had been done. And Reilly loved Rachel, despite growling at her through the fence once before!
We all hope to climb the fence to The Other Side again one day soon!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

We're Underway!

Four days into the new year, and I have begun to chip away at some of the things I hope to achieve on my 50 List. Yes, yes these things are always started with a hiss and a roar, and I am under no illusions that I will complete everything.
As mentioned a few days ago, one thing I am determined to do however, is rekindle my love for reading (There could be an unintended pun there, once I get my iPad...). And this morning I finished my first novel for two years. My lengthy hiatus has left me a bit behind the eight ball in terms of only now reading the very popular 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo'. With the release of the movie not very far away, I had to read this as my first read of recent times, as I have an unwritten rule that I must read the book first if I am going to see a movie based on the book. I like to make my own pictures of characters, scenes and events before I am shown someone else's interpretation. 
I loved this book. I am now looking forward to seeing how Stieg Larsson's work will be portrayed on the big screen, though I hope I won't be disappointed. I can appreciate a script writer and film maker making interpretive changes, but I don't enjoy it when the plot is inextricably changed (Like My Sister's Keeper - grrr). 

Alongside my pledge to read more, was the writing of a list of books loved, which I have begun. Many of these I have read more than once. Given time between reads, I conveniently forget enough of the plot to enable me to enjoy reading it all over again!
In no particular order and stretching over a number of years here's the start... 

The Thorn Birds - Colleen McCullough
The World According to Garp - John Irving
Kane and Abel - Jeffrey Archer
Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt
The Bone People - Keri Hulme
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Bronze Horseman - Paulina Simmons
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
The Power of One - Bryce Courtney
The Clan of the Cave Bear - Jean M. Auel
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
Crosstitch - Diana Gabaldon
Bridget Jonses's Diary - Helen Feilding
The Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett
My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult
The Poisonwood Bible - Barbars Kingsolver
and now
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson

I have enjoyed other titles by the same authors, but have, at this stage, recorded only those which started me off on that author. And the list is only a start. I would love it if some readers would comment with their own favourites - it may be that I can add them to my own list!
To meet my reading challenge in full, I must read a novel per month. This I will have to balance with all my academic reading, which I also began today - four articles about ethics and issues in regards to educational research. So I have decided that 'bed' will be for pleasure reading only - no work stuff, and no TV or iPhone games before sleep! 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Eyes Have It

I promise this is not going to become a movie review blog, but I have a new release to share today!
My fellow dog-loving friend Kate and I went to see Red Dog today, at my favourite cinema, the Lido. It was a lovely film, which grew some great characters, least of the all the title character, Australian Kelpie - Red Dog. Partly based on a true story of the Pilbara Wanderer, it was bound to bring an emotional reaction from me in any case; thank goodness for the tissues.
The unspoken loyalty between dogs and their 'masters' (or the 'canine masters' and their humans), is often communicated via a look. The Red Dog 'gazes' captured and used to tell the story are what sold it for me.

Bit like my own boys.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Charming Chocolat

An unintentional second piece very familiar to yesterday's... partly because I had told myself I did not have to blog daily this year yet I am having withdrawal symptoms, and partly because if I wrote about yesterday's old movie friend, how could I not write about today's?
In a sea of emptiness that is summer TV, Vibe is coming through like a lifebuoy to rescue me from drowning in television boredom these holidays. As well as Four Weddings, Glee marathons provided background company throughout the weekend as I pottered about.
And tonight, another eternal favourite movie - Chocolat - appeared. I love the whimsy of the story, the characters, and especially Juliette Binoche's portrayal of Vianne. Not a movie I can necessarily quote from, but it is all so wonderfully familiar that even after many, many views I have to watch it till the South wind blows Johnny Depp back at the end...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Perennial Favourite

A rainy New Year's Eve Day yesterday saw me planted in front of the TV, channel surfing. I don't often watch movies at home, despite having SKY movies, but there are some old favourites that, regardless of how often they are on, how old they are and how cheesy they now seem, I just have to watch.
Four Weddings and a Funeral is one such movie for me, and there it was on Vibe. The first of Hugh Grant's 'foppish' roles (I must admit to semi-watching Notting Hill straight afterwards, and it seemed like the same character had transitioned from Four Weddings straight into this movie), and before his indiscretion with Ms Divine Brown...

But I digress. The movie itself is pretty shallow, but full of classic scenes which are so familiar and make me giggle every time... like the What's bonking? scene... (RIP Scarlett - actress Charlotte Coleman died in the early 2000s of an asthma attack - she was my favourite!)
Similary there are others that make me cringe  (cringiest line at 1:01 on this clip!) every time I hear them.
There is also that one incredibly poignant moment which makes you forget you are actually watching a comedy. (Love the spelling mistake in this clip's title!)

Also this movie, like many movies and much music, reminds me of a 'time' in life. The end of an era really. It's release, and that of the theme song which is also an eternal favourite, coincided with the departure of two very good friends for their OEs that year. I stayed behind. A little older than them both (past the magic 28)  and without any UK citizenship claims, I probably put it in the too hard basket, still very much attached to my comfort zone. I think my active social life started to wane from that time on! Could have had something to do with turning 30 about that time as well... I think that not travelling at time in my life may be one thing I truly regret. Oh well, there's always the future!