Friday, June 30, 2006

Rangi and Papa

This is a carving I found at Dunedin Museum of Rangi (the sky - the father) and Papa (the earth - the mother), ultra-important characters in Maori mythology. Or theology, depending what you want to call it. The Maori are the indigenous people of my country, in case you haven't heard of them. This is their story, or at least one version of it, taken from this site.

Ranginui and Papatuanuku prevented light from reaching the world because of their close embrace, and their offspring lived in a world of darkness and ignorance between the bodies of their parents. And they plotted against their parents in order to let light into the world.

It is said that some of the sons decided that their situation could be remedied only if they separated their parents, so that Ranginui would be pushed up to become the sky and Papatuanuku remain as their Earth. They set about their task. Tane it was who finally rendered them apart by resting his shoulders upon Papatuanuku and thrusting his legs upwards and pushing Ranginui to the sky. By this deed Tane, of many names, came also to be known as Tane-te-toko-o-te-rangi (Tane the prop of the heavens).

By this separation of Rangi and Papa the world of light, of existence, the third state of creation, came into being.

I think it's a great story, and a beautiful carving/sculpture. I don't remember the exact story so I hope I don't offend anyone, but I remember hearing in one part of the country that when it is misty, it is Papa (or perhaps Rangi??) crying for her husband. I like that a lot. Yes, I don't believe them as such, but I think Maori legends are so beautiful.


My youngest nephew and the cat, Mufasa. It's doubtful whether the cat enjoys Finlay's snuggles as much as Finlay does but I thought they made a very cute pair!
My sister and Finlay at my eldest niece's netball game.
Fin, at the netball again.
The University of Otago, the oldest university in NZ, has a beautiful section of older architecture. This is the most famous part of it - the Clock Tower.

Well, I have just spent a lovely five days in Dunedin (the fourth biggest city in NZ, in the south - slightly colder than Christchurch and the habitat of my sister and her husband and three children). I had the wisdom to avoid school holidays, which meant that during the day I was free to go and do whatever I wanted, and then when I got home I had enough energy to tolerate being ambushed by energetic children! It actually was very nice. I met up with a good German friend of mine who is studying at the University of Otago, I spent some time with Viv, my sister, at the uni where she works and watched a few movies with her in the evenings when the kids had gone to bed (Spanglish and Walk the Line), I spent a little bit too much money shopping, I visited the museum, I explored in general.

I loved the movie Walk the Line. (I also loved the other one!) It was such cool music. So I went and bought a Johnny Cash CD yesterday... sigh, his family must be raking in the royalties after this movie came out!

Photos: I apologise that it turns out that most of the only okay photos are of my youngest nephew Finlay. (He's just so cute, although he growls at you and sulks if he hears you saying that!) I did take some of the other two but the photos just didn't turn out so well!

Saturday, June 24, 2006


My street, the day it snowed. This was by late afternoon and a lot had been washed or melted away but I liked how the snow sat on the fences.

Today I have only one thing to say:

Why oh why does it take the average male about five to ten years longer than the average female to grow up?

Friday, June 23, 2006


I had my history exam yesterday afternoon and now: I am free for about three weeks! It's so wonderful just doing whatever I want for a few days. Scary thing: I am now halfway through my degree. Eek.

So I went out with a couple of friends yesterday evening to celebrate. We went and had dinner at the Dux (great vegetarian/seafood restaurant) and then went to see A Midsummer Night's Dream - all slightly ironic because it's almost exactly midwinter. I've never seen the play properly before but I loved studying it so I really enjoyed myself. It was pretty well done, especially the Mechanicals, who were hilarious - especially Flute as Thisbe.

Then this morning I went swimming - something I haven't done for ages, and it felt so good. I'm going to go several times a week, I've decided, while my get-fit craze continues (hopefully forever). This afternoon I'm meeting someone for coffee, this evening I'm going to a welcome-back-from-Canada party, and on Monday I'm going down to Dunedin for five days to see my sister and her kids and a few friends.

SUDDENLY I HAVE A LIFE apart from study!

Photos: the weather's been absolutely horrific - cold, rain, even snow again yesterday, so I'm not quite sure how we managed to get several beautiful sunsets in the not-so-distant past. Both taken out my bedroom window; I'm not sure why I always take sunset photos out there but it just happens. :)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

i won something!!!!!!

An illustration from my copy of Persuasion, by Jane Austen (my favourite book ever) - where Captain Wentworth talks to Mrs Musgrove about poor Richard, with Anne on the right.
Billy Blunt and Milly-Molly-Mandy in the three-legged race. (Milly-Molly-Mandy was one of my favourite books series when I was little... I used to copy everything she did!)
A sample of my handwriting. :)

That's right - I won something! And it's worth having! (For the record: I NEVER win things. At least, in the past. Perhaps now is a good time to start playing Lotto... then again, perhaps not.)

It's called a DocuPen and is a portable scanner! So exciting. It's literally the size of a pen and you run it over a page and plug it in later to the USB port on your computer. It was a competition through Canta, the student magazine at uni, and I had to email them saying why I deserved to win it... and I'd just written down seventy pages of notes for my history essay... so.... I won it!

It's only black and white so it doesn't scan photos or stuff like that at all well, but it's pretty good with text, or with drawings in black and white... as shown in samples above! I think it will actually be pretty useful too, when I take notes and things in future.

Totally made my week.

Monday, June 12, 2006


The photos I was trying to post a few days ago. From the rooftop carpark of a mall.
My bedroom window this morning.

It is June, and it is snowing. This shouldn't be happening until September. Just before you start getting mental pictures of cute little red-breasted robins and Yuletide puddings and red sledges with bells and reindeer and roaring fires and roasted marshmallows and snowmen with carrots as noses... in Christchurch, the only snow we get is shlushy and wet and gross and ugly. It's quite nice for about two hours, and then the novelty wears off. And it doesn't take nice pictures unless you're not in the city, because there's only about half an inch of it.

Apparently this May was the coldest in ten years.

But it's made for good skiing in the mountains. I've only ever been skiing once but I really want to go again this winter. The mountains are only about two hours away, depending on where you go, but my family has never really been a skiing family, so... But this is my six-months-late New Years Resolution: I will go skiing this winter.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

the bird in the commerce building

I hope you can see this; he was about to hop under the table.

High up, sitting neatly above people's heads while they drank their coffee... I was waiting for someone to get bird droppings on them - but unfortunately no.

This little bird was in Cafe 101 in my university's commerce building the other day; I think she and her mate live inside now, having once come through the sliding doors and never quite figuring out how to get out. They seem quite happy!

Friday, June 09, 2006

the da vinci code

Well - today I handed in my last two assignments of the semester; I have one exam in about two weeks but suddenly I feel free! My friend Katie and I thus went shopping, and we also saw The Da Vinci Code for the first time.

My review: I read the book a few weeks ago and thought it was one of the biggest let-downs I have ever had to suffer. Obviously, being a Christian, I was very skeptical of the content already, but I figured it had to be really well-written and very exciting to make up for the dodgy history, so I was looking forward to reading it.

What a disappointment I underwent. The only thing that keeps the reader interested is the suspense. It is merely a page-turner and once you find out what happens - no more interest. The characters are either one-dimensional (Langdon) or totally amazingly annoyingly cliched (Silas); the writing style is just... I don't know how to describe it - a total lack of mastery of English prose. Maybe not total, but it is noticeably juvenile in its style. I just found it very annoying, the whole way through, that a book like this, which lacks the skill that really makes a book great, should be so popular and so widely-sold. It's depressing, from the point of view of someone whose dream is to be an author, but not to sell out to sensationalist audiences by writing crap.

So I did not expect much of the movie. To my surprise, I enjoyed it better than the book. In a movie format, a page-turner works much better. I thought the acting was generally pretty good, although Tom Hanks disappointed me a little, as I usually expect such a high standard from him. It was the kind of acting that we've seen him do very much in the past; just a little bit been-there-before. Tom, if you're reading, I think you're wonderful, and you're one of my favourite actors ever - I would love to ride off into the sunset with you You've Got Mail-style if I were not only nineteen - but please, please, go back to roles like your ones in The Ladykillers or Road to Perdition! (Well, not like them as such, I'm meaning more unlike them, as in just as original and surprising and amazing and three-dimensional.)

Audrey Tautou I thought was wonderful, as always - I've only seen her in Amelie before but I was not surprised to see her as charismatic as always. Jean Reno - well, I have a secret crush on Jean Reno and think he can do no wrong so I was always going to approve of him. Paul Bettany is someone who is impressing me more and more lately with his versatility; his Silas was a much more interesting character than I ever expected he could be. Ian McKellen of course was technically great, as usual; I especially enjoyed him yelling at Robert Langdon as he got taken off by the police, and his slight sleaziness. All the same, Ian McKellen is the sort of actor I can get sick of - he seems slightly predictable. Eg, I've always loved Judi Dench, but in the latest Pride and Prejudice I felt it was just more of the same from her in the role of Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

I didn't think Langdon's speech at the end was selling out to Christians, as some people have accused the movie-makers of doing. The book itself includes positive aspects of Christianity, and I quote (roughly): 'no one can deny the immense good the Church does in the modern world in charities' (or something like that!), for example. I thought it was nice to see that despite this sensationalist tale (and sensationalists usually seem to me to go over the edge of reason, a la Sir Leigh Teabing), the people telling it were prepared to acknowledge they don't have a monopoly on truth. It makes me a lot more inclined to take what they say seriously, and research it for myself to make my own opinions on the matter. (Although, yes, the people telling the story don't necessarily believe it.)

Photos: something weird is going on where the computer will upload photos onto other posts but not onto this one. So I will put these particular photos up another time.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

the end is in sight

Tomorrow: Linguistics test. Friday: History essay and creative writing due.

Aaand then - I am free!!!!

We-ell, free until the 22nd when I sit my history exam but the point is, this horrible fortnight of constant study is going to be FINISHED! In under two days! And when the test is over tomorrow - no more Syntactic Theory EVER!

I am going to have to celebrate somehow. I will spend all free time over the next two days devising a way to do it really well.

Photos: I took them before music last night. The Music Centre is right next to the Catholic Cathedral in my city; a rather nice location really.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

car rally

Lucinda at the airport. The new Air New Zealand uniforms!
Jason and Pita washing my father's dishes.
Bill and Sati at Bill's organ.
Kirstie reading Pride and Prejudice.
Jason with the blue and orange wall.

We had a photo rally at youth group last night. It was pretty fun! I made up the clues for most of the teams, which were almost as fun writing as it was doing the actual car rally. The above photos were taken on my camera but by another team; luckily, they ended up with better photos than my team so I get to use them, heh heh. These are the clues:

- On a swing
- With a McDonald's worker... if possible wearing their hat
- Bill E---- playing his organ
- At Logoland in Riccarton Mall
- At the Princess Margaret Hospital entrance, looking ill
- Playing table tennis with Roger L-----
- With an innocent passerby and their dog
- With a poster of The Breakup, looking like Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston
- Washing David S------'s dishes
- With a Coke vending machine... somewhere
- At the Church Corner graveyard, looking ghostly
- At the entrance to Halswell Quarry
- With a blue and orange wall - hint: the mall
- With an airport official
- Reading Pride and Prejudice in Borders

I had fun putting my own little personal touch in there... hence the Pride and Prejudice cameo and washing my father's dishes. :) Some other groups did some cool stuff too - ie a sheet with which to look ghostly at the graveyard.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

russian joke

In the car on the way back from Hanmer. The only photo in which I managed to capture the lovely afternoon light, which is the only reason why I am including it on here!
'Bridge' painted on the road on my Sunday morning walk - part of a 'one' 'lane' 'bridge' warning.
Outside the house we rented for the weekend.

I've been researching for another Soviet history essay, this time on why the reforms of Gorbachev led to the fall of the Soviet Union. I found this joke in one of the books - even if you have no idea who each leader is, it's still pretty funny, I think.

The five major figures of Soviet history were on a train together when it suddenly halted in a remote region where the tracks had abruptly stopped. What to do? Lenin was the first to speak, and in his revolutionary enthusiasm he issued a call for a voluntary day of work for local folk to extend the tracks. Stalin objected and ordered the leaders of the railroad ministry shot and the train engineer exiled to Siberia. The always exuberant and impulsively reformist Khrushchev had yet another idea: tear up the tracks behind the train and lay them in front and thus proceed to their destination. Brezhnev's contribution was to order the shades drawn while all the travellers rocked back and forth, pretending to move ahead. Finally it was Gorbachev's turn. The architect of glasnost had the windows thrown wide open and asked everyone to stick their heads out of the train and shout loudly, "There are no tracks! There are no tracks!" :)

Photos above: of our small group trip to Hanmer Springs a few weekends ago.