Monday, June 24, 2013

Whakatane Museum/Library & Exhibition Centre

A couple of weeks ago I went in to town with The Mother, and whilst she was finishing up some volunteer stuff, I whiled away about an hour in the Whakatane museum/art gallery/exhibition centre.
Now, a bit of contention surrounds this beautiful 'new' building.  The Library had to move out of the old building because the council wanted the space for more offices (cough).  So - they converted the old Briscoes building in a combo Library/Museum space.

But.  The people designing the space cared only about the museum side, knew nothing about libraries, and as a result many, many books have had to be thrown out because there is simply not enough room for the library there, and there is nothing else to be done.

Now, if you know me - you know I believe books are not something to be trifled with.  I do not approve.  However, with a completely broke council and the bad decisions already made, I see nothing that can be done except accept it.  Do the best with what you have, and fight for the things that are important to you - like retaining a local library at all.

Don't even get me started on the ridiculousness of having only one two-lane bridge across the river, because they ran out of money to build the planned second one.  You build an industrial estate, residential suburb and shopping centre on the other side and then act surprised at the traffic bottleneck?!  Gah.

A bit of local politics and background for you there, what a treat.  (I see the traffic faux pas every morning that I drive into the SPCA.  It's stupid).

The museum itself is lovely.  Very heavy leaning towards specifically local lore and history, which was very cool (ie not trying to be a mini Te Papa, and cover NZ as a whole).  A lot of local war history, trade and manufacturing.  Local sports heroes and 'celebrities', things like that.

There was one particular statuette which caught my interest, his name is 'Waitangi', from the 1980's-ish and is by Sir Sidney Moko Mead.  The caption struck me as a slightly tongue-in-cheek critique on national reaction stereotypes:

"people react to [him] in different ways.  Some welcome him as an old friend and admire what he stands for.  Some are not too sure because they have heard many negative statements about him.  Others do not want to even look at [him] - preferring he disappears never to be seen again."

You can see he holds the treaty scroll and a quill.

Societal critiques in the form of art are lovely things to behold.

The rooms are poorly ventilated/air conditioned and it was a bit stifley, and I didn't like the art series on show in the back room; a series of near-identical Tiki photographs: the first one is cool, but a whole room full is very repetitive, half way round I stopped giving even a cursory look at the name labels.

The final exhibition room held, wonder of wonders, a patchwork quilt exhibition - as inspired by Kaffe Fassett.  Some of the pieces were most definitely not quilted by hand, which was nice - a quilter after my own heart.  Fassett is an American artist (living in London) and is basically all about the colour - most often psychedelic colour - I bet he loved the late 60's.  Google image search 'Fassett knitwear', I dare you (can I make a Bain joke?!).  He was the first living textile artist to show at the V&A in London, which is pretty cool.

The Fassett inspired quilts:
And some detail on my favourite:
I wonder how often the exhibits change? (ok, they run for between 1 to 3 months, I looked it up).

Friday, June 21, 2013

Whakatane Quilt Exhibition

I'm not even kidding, back on the 17th May.  It was crazy.  Granted, I think I was at least 20 years younger than every other person who attended...  I asked at the front desk (some of Mum's friends from Quilting Club) if I could take photos, and was told to go nuts; of course everybody inside seemed to assume I had a secret nefarious purpose.

Old(er) people are strange sometimes.

Part of the fun was an 'audience favourite' category of judging, which was determined by everyone coming through writing the number of their fav quilt down on a wee bit of paper and popping it in a box at the end.
I shall hold you in suspense and not reveal my fav until last.  Oh the power.

For the rest, lets divide them up into categories.

Category the first: A Shit-tonne of Work

Category the second: cool

Ok, so I had a lot that I really liked.  The ones I didn't, obviously didn't get photographed.  Funny that.

Category the third: Oh, you witty quilters, you

Category the forth: WINNER!
Called 'Morris and Michelle', and made by the amazing Mary Transom.

Just - wow.  Beautiful.

The amount of time these women spend on their quilting is just...insane.  I have to admit to a lack of patience, I like the patchwork side of things, but give me a mechanised, automated quilting machine any day.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

On Repeat

Urgh.  Good.  Stuck.  In.  Brain.


In other news - I'm going to Wellington tomorrow!  Visiting The Married Ones and The Island One and doing a whole lot of fun stuff.

And then - next Wednesday I'm going up to Auckland (from Welly) to visit with whanau (briefly) and The Bustling Metropolis One, and - her bustling metropolis.  Heh.

Whoop!  Love!

Everyone's a Critic: Star Trek Into Darkness

The Baby Cousin came down with his First XV rugby team Queens Birthday Saturday, for a match against the local Trident Highschool equivilent.
It was...mostly just cute.  TBC couldn't play due to a knee injury, which sucked, and the team lost - I'm sure as a direct result.


Anyway, the rest of his family followed down for the rest of the weekend, and The Baby Baby Cousin and I went to see Star Trek Into Darkness.

I liked it.  In full disclosure - I have never seen any of the original Star Trek, but saw the (holyshitwasitreally)2009 movie for kicks and liked that.

I loved the opening, the acting was brill, the premise was good and I liked the final resolution.  Definitely fits into my 'always going to like it' movie genre.

Mostly though, Benedict Cumberbatch is my homeboy and was amazing.  So good.  Good for that alone, but also - a little bit of 'Mmmmm, Spock!' going on.


The only reason I'm not giving it a 5 is because of my own lack of knowledge of the Trek universe; I'm sure most of the important stuff just passed me by.

4.5 out of 5 (where: 1=actively burning it, 2=waste of time, 3=don't regret having seen it, but... 4=good movie, recommended, 5=blewmymindwhyhaven'tyouseenityetI'vegottoseeitagaintalktoyoulater).

Monday, June 17, 2013

Everyone's a Critic: Tea Total's Earl Grey Rose Tea

God but I love tea - it's no secret.

Business obligations call for the Mother and the Father to trip over towards Tauranga with a certain regularity, and upon occasion - I will accompany them.  (Yes yes, I am still staying with the parentals.  Every home needs a Daughter with a Doctorate.  Career soon, perhaps?).

In Gate Pa there is a shop called Gourmet Trader, and they stock a nice selection of Tea Total teas (amongst other very exciting/foreign ingredients for the cook or baker).  So - I have been sampling.

Lets start from the bottom.
Bengal Chai.  I like Chai, but this was a bit of an experiment.  It is very peppery.  In fact, if you make 4 tea cups-worth, by the second cup you can taste naught but pepper.

Disappointing.  I don't regret trying it (like with most nasty fruit "teas"), but I'll most likely never buy it again. 1.5 out of 5.
Earl Grey Special.  This tea is a complete delight to look at, dry.  Citrus pieces and Jasmin flowers - beautiful.  The flavour is nice, though it's a tea you want to drink with no other flavours clouding your palate, to really let everything grab you.  Unfortunately I don't find it as rich and...soothing, as I would like my pot of Earl Grey to be.

So - 3 out of 5.  Might be one to buy every now and again for a change.
Earl Grey Rose.  The rose flavour in this one is strong, which despite expectations is not always the case in a rose tea.  A little bit stronger than the Special, and a bit...warmer.

This one's a keeper.  4 out of 5, not an all time fav, but one to keep stocked in the cupboard.

Next up I want to try the Governor Grey (I quite like Lady Grey every now and again) and the Imperial.  A couple of pots to get through first.  And then maybe some of the other Chais and diving into the magnitude of Black teas.   Oh the hardship.  Every writer needs a pot of tea at their elbow.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I WENT TO HOBBITON!!! (The Matamata movie set version)


Alas, yet not the real Hobbiton in Middle Earth.  Be prepared, I might brutally tear back the veil over the rough unvarnished truth at some point following, but - you have been warned.  Read forth not, if you possess a delicate constitution (with regards movie reality) and prefer to remain in ignorance of the cruel tricks PJack has played on you.

But firstly - I'M AT BAG END!

Tripped over the North Island to visit with The Veterinary One, finally met her gorgeous animals, saw her beautiful new house, and - oh yeah - WENT TO HOBBITON.
TVO does agility training/comps with her dogs, which is very cool to watch the practising for.  (Luka (bottom left) was totally my fav, a Japanese Spitz and very jealous of all the attention the baby (Zeke, bottom right, Boarder Collie) gets at the mo.).

TVO and I were tight way back in the day and went to the ROTK prem in...2003.  Speaking of decades, our grad class is reunion'ing in December, or so I hear through various grapevines (apparently since I quit facebook 3 years ago, I died - and no one noticed until now).  Marriage and babies for the majority, much?!  I'm wondering if I should take my thesis in a pram...
Random segue.  Anyway - Hobbiton was great.  Even with it not being the best time of year for flowers and so on, but the Waikato has recovered from the drought quite nicely and there were still an awful lot of people doing the tour (one leaves every 30 mins, takes ~2 hours).  $75 a pop, but I think worth it - it's not something you would do more than once, I think.

Our guide was called Freddie, and they are most insistent that you not wander off.  Fair enough, considering the thing is worth something like 70 mil, and the possibility remains that they might return for re-shoots.  Night-time security is intense, apparently.  Freddie played the theme on a pipe:
And got the job by applying to work on the farm (one assumes as a farm hand) and having his application put in the wrong pile.

We had some epic fun being...yeah, pretty naughty.
There is only 1 hole that you can stand within:
And now - for the veil-tearing-away:
Bag end has enough of the inside panelling done to let someone through the door, but that's it.  And you are certainly not allowed close to it, to see further.
I'm going to upload my good pics to Flickr, including an in-depth visual study of the fake moss/lichen ageing of the wood/bricks etc etc.  Fascinating.  So there's something to look forward to.  Heh.

In final note - it was a completely beautiful morning, which clouded over just for our tour and then fined up on our way home.  Typical.  That said, it was pretty much torrential rain all Sunday, so can't complain too much.

I'll leave you with a plethora of evidence of TVO's photo bombing habit.

Much fun.  If you're a LOTR lover, and you get the chance - do it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Six Days Off

Being a full month since last post.

Swings and roundabouts, eh?  Of course, the shorter stuff has continued in the interim.

Completely ignoring all that - I've finally gotten around to photo editing some old stuff, some new stuff, mostly all random stuff; and have loaded 'em all up on Flickr.

For example, Trouble when he was only just Trouble, but very much trouble.

The beginning
Awwww.  I mean, come on - awwwww.

Dunedin on a good day, back in the day:
Old Winter Door

And then some stuff from this year, like The Baby, Baby Cousin having a go at 'extracting' The Ickle Brother's honey, by hand.  Much cheesecloth was used and fun had.  Don't even ask what shapes the muslin+wax lumps got formed into.
Everyone gets a go
They came down again for Queen's Birthday and the little bugger has gotten even taller.  I am doomed to be the shortest in the family forever (he's only thirteen).

Dad's got a swan plant in the back corner of the vege garden, and the caterpillar-and-corrugated-iron colours tickle something in my brain:
Home with a view

Silly boy was hit by a car.  Out of all the cats I have ever had, I think he was my favourite.  He was so much more like a dog, than even our dogs.  Mum and Dad got another kitten, opposite as possible - female (only the second female pet this family has had, ever), and brindle/Tabby/weird coloured.  She spent a couple of weeks being skeletal and not eating/drinking/causing the vet to tell us she would die, and then- suddenly decided to live.  She's eating like a (very tiny) horse and just cracked 1kg.  We can't decide between 'Holly' or 'Hermione' (you can guess which is my pick) so she gets called 'Little Girl' and I have a feeling it might stick.

Trouble spent the first week acting like a closet Mother Hen, but perhaps he could tell she was ill, because he is certainly not so gentle with her now.
Mother Hen

The Little Girl is, of course, still top in the pecking order.
Mammal Pile

There's more fun stuff (read 'eclectic assortment and crazy angles') in my photostream.  I think I like the Flickr redesign too.  Is such a thing ever heard on the internet?!