Sunday, August 26, 2007

Huey Art

I know it has been a long time since the last post, and many have no doubt thought that I have fallen off the side of the earth. Alas, fortunately not!
Having started a new job this year, moved house, and a few trips away, have all somewhat modified my lifestyle significantly. This of course has affected my blogging. Each time I look at my blog(s), a desire to post something sweeps over me. Unfortunately, this is followed soon after by a mental block, and motivation fades. At last here I am again...

I thought I might share a recent art project. I have never really considered myself as anything of an artist, until in March on trip to Dubai, I was inspired while having lunch at a Chinese Restaurant.
On the wall was some art work of chinese lettering or characters, and I thought I could do something similar but different of course. This was the result.

It is made with two sheets of 12mm MDF (medium density fibreboard) of approximately 1000mm x 600mm (3.3' x 2'). The rear sheet is painted matt black, and the front spaced out from the rear sheet by 12mm using dowels and painted in sunset colours. The back sheet is also slightly larger to give it the appearance of a black 3-D frame around it. The idea is of a Bell UH-1H 'Huey' Iroquois helicopter coming out of the sun, but sort of back-to-front.

I am very proud of the result, and it now hangs as the feature picture on my lounge room wall. Some friends who have seen it, initially thought it was just a painting until I told them to look a bit more closely at it. The look of realisation and surprise is magic.

I have been thinking about the idea of creating a second one and seeing what I could sell it for, but am not sure if I could sell it for enough to cover my time and effort. Other emotions such as modesty and fear of rejection have also stood as a barrier so far. It is one thing to create something for ones own benefit and joy. It is another to create something to sell for profit.

I welcome your comments and feedback.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Summer Holiday

This year for my summer holiday, my wife, son and I drove up to the top of the Coromandel Peninsula where my wife's uncle owns a farm. From there, we spent the week scuba diving off Little Bay, walking around the farm, and relaxing in the sun.

When we went away I chose not to take my laptop, so I could not spent anytime in front of the computer (I often do spent too much time!). We also never turned the television on, so we instead spent the evenings sitting around having a few drinks, talking and telling tall stories.

Although in my last post I talked about the top five party spots to spend New Years eve at, I'm afraid I wasn't near any of them. Instead New Years eve was a barbecue and a few quiet drinks with family and friends. A peaceful but enjoyable way to start 2007 in New Zealand.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Giving at Christmas Time

The news is always flooded with the bad things people do. It is nice that once in a while you read about a good thing. An act of kindness, selflessness, and giving. Unfortunately, it does not happen often enough.

My father has just sent me an email about the wreaths that are laid at Arlington Cemetery each year by Merrill Worcester, owner of the Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine. For the last fifteen years Worcester has laid over five thousand wreaths at the cemetery for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Not only has donated the wreaths, he also pays for the trucking expense too. A selfless act for those who can never repay him, What a wonderful man!

Rest easy, sleep well my brothers.

Know the line has held, your job is done.

Rest easy, sleep well.

Others have taken up where you fell, the line has held.

Peace, peace, and farewell...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas in New Zealand

I know it has been a while since I have last posted, but I have just finished a very intensive six month course for work. It has been extremely busy and stressful over the last few weeks of it. Unfortunately, my blogging was the first to suffer.

However, I am now finished that, and hope to be back blogging full swing. To get the ball rolling I thought I would re-post an article that I have just written for Topics From 192 Countries. It is called Christmas in New Zealand.

With only 6 days until Christmas, I thought I might write about how Christmas is celebrated in New Zealand, as I'm sure it may vary between the 192 countries.

Christmas is widely celebrated in New Zealand, unfortunately more commercially than religiously. Three months before Christmas, some of the big department stores were selling Christmas paraphernalia already. To them it's all about the money! I am not very religious myself, but I think it is still important to remember why we celebrate Christmas: The birth of Christ, and how he impacted on the world. We can't all make such a big impact, but we can all make an effort to make peace with one-another. Whether that is striving for peace in the bloggersphere like Mimi Lenox does, or just ringing a friend you haven't spoken to in a long time, just to say "hi!". That is why we give presents - as peace offerings.

Anyway, because New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, it is summer down here at Christmas time. Our school year is aligned with Christmas, in that each year finishes before Christmas and starts in the new calendar year. Most working people also take summer holidays over the Christmas period and travel to see family for Christmas day and then on to either a beach or lake somewhere to celebrate the coming of the new year.

A BIG roast lunch with turkey, vegetables and all the trimmings on Christmas day is traditional here, but is losing popularity by the year. It is traditional because a great majority of New Zealanders are descended from British origin where it is winter, cold and miserable over there at this time of year. In cold weather, a nice big roast meal is great, but not in the heat of summer as we have here.

I am slowly convincing my family to drop the big roast meal and instead have the new kiwi traditional meal of a barbecue lunch and salads. Eaten outside on the outdoor furniture in the backyard, in the sun, rather than crammed around the dining room table locked inside, while it is a beautiful sun-shining day outside.

No matter how you choose to celebrate Christmas this year (if you do!), I wish you all peace and prosperity. Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Cultural Trends

A New Zealander's view of the recent US Elections...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dona Nobis Pacem

...which loosely translates to 'Grant us Peace'.

Today is Mimi Lenox's Blogblast for Peace day. Today is the day we forget our troubles, put down our guns, open our doors and make peace.

Today, I challenge you to smile at someone you don't know and just 'Hi'. It is not a big thing to ask, and won't cost you a cent. If you are really brave you could make up a sign like the guy in the video in my previous post below and walk around offering people 'free hugs'.

I once read a very inspiring book called Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom. It is a true story about two men, one called Morrie who is dying of a degenerative muscle disease, and the other called Mitch. Mitch realizes that he does not have much time to spend with his good friend Morrie, and makes the effort to make this little time as precious as possible. Anyway, in the book Morrie tells about rather than waiting until after he dies, he decides to hold his funeral beforehand, so he is here to listen to all those things people come along to funerals to say when it is too late.

I'm not suggesting you hold an early funeral, but why not telling someone how they really mean to you, before it is too late! After they are dead, you will never have a chance again, and you will regret it for the rest of your life.

So go on, make that peace!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Free Hugs

I've just been watching a documentary on TV about YouTube, and it featured the new music video phenomena called Free Hugs, that was put together by an Australian band called Sick Puppies. Funny video, and a great song. Check it out - and have a free (blog) hug from me...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Cyanide and Happiness Halloween

Sunday, October 29, 2006

New Zealand’s National Flower

Over at Topics from 192 Countries, the latest topic is national flowers. I have just finished writing this post for it, and decided to reproduce it here:

After reading Elspeth’s post the other day about national flowers, I was intrigued to find out what New Zealand’s national flower was, as I must admit I did not know. I went off and researched it and was surprised to find that New Zealand doesn’t have an official national flower, but it does recognise three unofficial national flowers as the Silver Fern, the red Pohutukawa flower, and the yellow Kowhai. As the Silver Fern does not produce a flower as such, the red Pohutukawa flower from our native Pohutukawa tree is probably the closest to a national flower. These trees are protected by law, and there are rules about only moving them until they are a certain age, and then after which you are not allowed to ‘kill’ them. These trees are evergreen, and the beautiful red flowers appear from late December (the southern-hemisphere summer).

The Silver Fern is better known as a national symbol for New Zealand. The Silver Fern is also native to New Zealand, and is characterised by its fern leaves being green on the upper surface and silver on its lower surface. The Silver Fern is often seen on New Zealand military uniforms and gravestones, but more commonly on the uniforms of New Zealand’s national sports teams (which are predominately black with white trim). New Zealand’s national netball team is known as The Silver Ferns. A lot of patriotic New Zealanders often get themselves tattooed with a silver fern to mark them as a Kiwi.

New Zealanders are colloquially known as Kiwis, after our national bird. The Kiwi is native to New Zealand and is a short and fat little bird, brown in colour, with stubby wings and a long beak (although probably not politically correct to call it short and fat anymore). Its stubby wings mean it is a flightless bird, an lives by hunting bugs and worms in the soil using its long beak. I’m not sure if Kiwis are able to climb Pohutukawa trees, but theoretically I guess they could achieve flight for small periods of time from these trees – Flight time being calculated as ‘height of the tree’ x ‘gravity’.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Topics from 192 Countries

Every once in a while someone comes up with an extraordinarily unique idea for a blog. Another one of these has just come to me, via email.

I received an email from Shinji in Japan on Wednesday, who asked if I would like to contribute to his project called Topics from 192 Countries. This blog is similar to A World of Bloggers in that Shinji is trying to get one blogger from each of 192 countries. The difference is that instead of a being a directory like mine, Shinji's idea is for each blogger to contribute and blog about their countries on the blog.

One concept that I like about Topics from 192 Countries, is that you can read the posts by countries. For example, if you click on the New Zealand link in the sidebar, a new page will open with all the posts about New Zealand. Fantastic!

I have accepted Shinji's offer and I now hold the honour of being the New Zealand contributor at Topics from 192 Countries. I have just posted an introductory post there, and hope to write plenty more about people, places, culture, facts and trivia there about life in New Zealand.

Ka pai Shinji!

('Ka pai' is Maori for 'well done')

Monday, October 23, 2006

Cyanide and Happiness

A friend sent me some of these cartoons from I thought I'd share this one with you as it appeals to my dry sense of humour...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Peace on Earth

Mimi emailed me the other day with a fabulous idea she come up with called Dona nobis pacem in the Blogosphere. After recent nuclear tests in North Korea, Another plane hitting a building in NYC, mayhem in Iraq and all the other problems around the world, Mimi's idea is to have a "World Peace" day on Nov 7 2006. She may not be able to achieve complete world peace (I wish she could), but she is making a start by trying to have a day of peace in the Bloggersphere.

Always wanting to be part of a great idea, I am jumping on board and am going to post "Dona Nobis Pacem" on Nov 7. If you would like to be part of Mimi's movement, please click the link above or go to Mimi's blog for more info.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Blogging Blues

I've got the blogging blues!

It has been an interesting last couple of weeks for me. I've been off work sick with 'the flu' for the last ten days. I was planning to get a medical clearance to fly agan today, but now I've gone and broken my little toe, which means I'm hobbling around and still can't fly for another few days yet. To top it off, all the drugs I have been taking for being sick and now the anti-biotics and anti-inflammatories for upset my stomach and I've been spending a lot of time hobbling down to the toilet (Sorry, you probably didn't care to know that:-()

I hate being sick (or injured). I just don't feel like doing anything, except lying on the couch, reading a book, or watching DVDs and TV. Hence, I haven't posted anything for almost two weeks. I haven't picked up my camera. I haven't been visiting all my blog friends to read what they have been up to. I've just been feeling sorry for myself.

I hate being grounded and not being able to fly. Flying is like an addiction. When ever I'm not up there, I want to be up there. Like Michael Angelo said:

"Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward. For there you have been, and there you long to return"

So, I'm sorry I haven't been as active as I'd like to be. Hopefully soon I'll be back to blogging full swing.

Mimi, I still love your idea about Dona nobis pacem, and I have been planning to write a full post about it since your email to me. Hopefully I'll get over my blues shortly and get onto it...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Stress Test

How stressed are you?

The following three images are all completely static. There is no trick involved. If you stare directly at any part of each of them, you will see they are not moving.

I can't explain exactly how, but if the image is moving it is because of how your eye is seeing it, and your brain is interpreting it.

Ideally, the pictures should not appear to be moving at all. If they are moving slowly you would be experiencing normal levels of stress. Young children and senior citizens should see them standing still. If you see them moving rapidly you may well be under considerable stress and I think it's time for you to take a holiday...

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