“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Movies and dog law

Hooray for the Telecom International Film Festival! I'm actually enjoying this YUCK weather, because it gives me an excuse to go escape into a movie theater. The festival started on July 13, and I saw The Signal that night. What a great twist on the zombie genre! I also saw Sherrybaby, which was well done, and reminded me of Trees Lounge, which is also about a loser addict. The other movies I've got tickets for are:

There are a few others I will probably add. Yep, the majority of my picks are horror or thriller. Even The Planet might be classified as horror, as I expect it's approch to be cynical about the future. We shall see.

We've rented a few DVDs from the local rental shop, but scratches on them have caused malfunction in the playback. Most notably, I missed the end of Saw II because of the poor quality of the DVD. So rather than rent there anymore, we have subscribed to DVD Unlimited. They are the NZ version of Netflix, which allows you to pick your movies online and then mails it to you with a pre-paid return envelope. DVD unlimited is more expensive than Netflix, has a smaller selection, and pathetic search functionality. Just browse their new releases, and you get such blockbusters as Humko Deewana Kar Gaye (2006) and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006). Hey, where's Pick of Destiny?! It is, after all, the greatest motion picture of all time!
Regardless, I did find Zombie Holocaust (mistaken for Cannibal Holocaust). This is one of the worst movies ever made! The only redeeming value is the nudity of the female lead- a tall blonde Aryan ice queen. There is not even a whisper of sex in the film, but plenty of fake organ-eating. Cannibal Holocaust is apparently banned in New Zealand. The removal of scenes of real animal cruelty allowed its release in Australia and the US, but we still can’t see it here.
Speaking of animal cruelty, to which I am opposed, the New Zealand government will, as a rule, euthanize your dog if it bites a person or another dog, even if that person or dog is trespassing on your property. If your house was being robbed, and the dog bit the robber, your dog would be destroyed. I met a woman at a party on Saturday (hosted by my dear friends Adam and Roberta) who is writing a thesis on Animal Law, who informed us of this depressing fact. (She's next to me in the photo of us playing Black Sabbath in the game Guitar Hero) Apparently there have been a few high profile dog mauling deaths that resulted in this severe penalty. Here's what the Dog Control Act of 1996 says about naughty dogs:

Dogs rushing at persons, animals, or vehicles

(1)This section applies to a dog in a public place that—

(a)rushes at, or startles, any person or animal in a manner that causes—

(i)any person to be killed, injured, or endangered; or

(ii)any property to be damaged or endangered; or

(b)rushes at any vehicle in a manner that causes, or is likely to cause, an accident.

(2)If this section applies,—

(a)the owner of the dog commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $3,000 in addition to any liability that he or she may incur for any damage caused by the dog; and

(b)the court may make an order for the destruction of the dog.

(3)A dog control officer or dog ranger who has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence has been committed under subsection (2)(a) may, at any time before a decision of the court under that subsection, seize or take custody of the dog and may enter any land or premises (except a dwellinghouse) to do so.]
Pretty harsh, I think. Makes me think twice about getting another dog. But, look at the adorable Rottweiler puppies, bred by Rita Grenyer. I want one!! These two are two weeks old and taken.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

New camera, 4-wheeler, undershirts, and scarf

Despite the fact that it's supposed to be summer in July, but instead it's raining pretty much daily, I am elated to have the most luxurious, handknit mohair scarf that I've ever seen. The scarf was made by a fellow American expat living in Hamilton, NZ (she has a really nice blog) who I've never met, but loves knitting and was taking requests for items. I am really getting into the lovely wool and natural fibers available here. I now have 2 new wool sweaters; one merino, one merino and angora, 3 scarves; one mohair and merino (the new one), one alpaca, one pure mohair, and 2 hats; one an angora blend and one mohair, and, a gift from my sister here, two fine spun merino wool undershirts. I've been thinking I should learn to knit, but it's one of those things I rejected as a girl as being too "girly". It was the 1970's and I had a t-shirt with the sparkly letters that said, "anything boys can do, girls can do better". I was in Girl Scouts and learned a lot of fun stuff, but knitting and embroidery were not liberating enough. Now, I realize how practical it is and the lovely texture and variety of yarns and knitting. Well it's never to late to learn something new, I say. The problem is finding the time or making the time. Typically this means sacrificing something. I don't mind doing this, in fact I quit the Thursday night poker games at the Lincoln Green pub to instead take a pilates class.
July is shaping up to be busy, with one of my favorite bands, Dinosaur Jr. playing on July 9. We saw them on our first visit to NZ in March of 2006. I was turned on to them back in Fargo, ND, in the late 80's by my sister's ex-boyfriend "Dooba", who worked at the only record store worth going to, Compact Disc and Tape Masters. Dinosaur Jr. broke up years ago, and last year was the reunion tour. Now they've got a new CD, Beyond, which gets great reviews, and is comming in a package from my eldest sister in Minnesota any day now. I ordered it from Amazon.com and sent it to her, to send to me, because the cost of that CD new here in Auckland is about $35. I think I paid $10 USD to Amazon for it. Granted, I'm still waiting for it, so no instant satisfaction, but that's worth the cost. She is also sending the iPod Nano 4GB which we bought on eBay. Again, there is a huge markup on these here. To buy one new in NZ is about $300, vs new in the US about $140.
The new camera also came from the US, and due to the cost, we had to pay the NZ government sales tax. Still, we saved money, because it cost more to buy it here in NZ. It is a Cannon PowerShot SD1000, 7.1megapixels, fast on/off and shutter speed, large display, and lightweight. It has an underwater setting, and I also got the underwater housing and a larger memory card. WOOHOO! Happy birthday to me! (Thanks Darin!) The photos in this blog are taken with this new camera. Also new is my sister's 4x4, which we drove around the paddock this afternoon. (to hell with housework, I need to play!) Sadly, her husband Eric popped his achille's tendon on Friday evening playing netball (one of those Kiwi sports), and is stuck in a cast for 8 weeks. He had to watch us play from the house up on the hill.
The camera also does video, and I've made a video of the pets eating the raw possum. Unfortunately the camera doesn't come with video editing software. We have Adobe Premier Pro but it is profoundly un-friendly. Any suggestions?
The pictures of the lemons are from our yard, and there are 3 eggs in the bowl. We are getting 3-4/day.
During a break between rainstorms, Darin, Fargo, and I drove a few minutes up Scenic Drive to the Waitakere Dam. This walk is about an hour roundtrip, downhill to the dam, all uphill back to the carpark. We chose this trail because it is paved. As the Waitakere regional park is quite hilly, the trails get slippery in the rainy season. The photo of Darin and Fargo in front of the Kauri tree is from the trail. The first "bush" photo in the blog was taken in Barb's backyard. There is an underground stream, and the thick jungle there is where we quickly got lost back in March 2006 (a 3 hour tour!).

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Weta in Winter

This is a weta who showed up on our front porch one day. It patiently waited for us to take its picture before we caught it in a towel. We took it to the chickens, and they ate it. Click here for more information about weta. I can't be sure what species this is, but look at the holes on the front legs- I think these are like ears. It is truely a "god of ugly things" (wetapunga, the Maori name).
So it's winter here. The past two weekends have been stormy, interrupting our plans to go scuba diving. The weather was pretty nice during the week, but crapped out on the weekend. I've been doing a lot of cooking and baking to help heat up the house. We've had some friends over to eat, too. Last weekend I spent a good 30 minutes spraying dilute bleach on the windows and frames to kill the mold growing as a result of condensation. We have an old house, and I've mentioned before how the wind seems to blow right through the windows. Homes with single-pane glass windows, unglazed, are common here, which is, to be blunt, bad design. The condensation moisture is very damaging to buildings. The cost in wasted energy is worse, because there's a limited supply of energy, and here we are, throwing it away. Our attempt to minimize this loss is to minimize our living space to the center of the house, around the woodburner.