Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What you really don't want to find...., when you turn up to work on possibly the bleakest day of the year, many many policeman preventing you from entering your street, let alone your building.

'Hmmmm, dead hooker in the carpark, I presume?' I nearly say to the officer of the law who was guarding the street. Thankfully, I didn't point out just how much of a blessing it is that I didn't harbour a desire to join the policeforce when I grew up.

Instead I asked, 'What's happening?'

'We've found something that's not very nice.'

'A dead something?'

Blank stare.

'When can I get into my building?'

'You can't. Or that one, or that one or that one.' He said just a little too smugly.

It was a little exciting before the first coffee, after the 16th the novelty was wearing a little thin. Especially when it transpired that the 'not very nice thing' was, apparently, a bomb in a carpark building. When I heard that, I knew what a colossal waste of time this was going to be.

That's because we don't do bombs in New Zealand. If it had been Baghdad, or any western city with a population of over three million, hell yeah, I would have been scampering away as fast as my little legs could carry me.

But a car park building in New Zealand? How thoroughly unambitious.

The bomb squad dogs were called in, (how does that work? If Rover blows up, it was a bomb?), and eventually the bomb robot blew up a large tin that used to instant hold instant coffee which had been wired into a power socket in a car park building.

And nearly three hours later, I finally got to go to work.

Now I am wondering who I can invoice for those three hours?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Susan Jelly-Lips de la Renta. That's his name.

I wasn't going to blog about about this cause I thought it was just going to make us out to be a bunch of hillbillies down here, but then I realised that maybe the people I am about to talk about are just purely ahead of their time. These people have actually started a fashion wave so tsunami-like that rock and film stars are now just having babies so they can keep up with the fashion.

(Sometimes I am so full of shit, it stuns me.)

Today class, we're talking about names.

Nicole and Keith have now got Sunday Roast, I mean Rose. Chris and Gwyneth looked to the fruit bowl and the bible for inspiration with Apple and Moses, and I think Paula and Sir Bob were possibly inspired by some quality Class A's when they came up with Fifi Trixibelle and then chased it up with Peaches Honeyblossom Michelle Charlotte Angel Vanessa (which is okay if you're a fairy, but won't get you taken too seriously in the boardroom).

I think Paula is going to have to put her hand up as being responsible for the names as, of course, we can't forget Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily. (I don't know, maybe Paula was angling for Madonna to write a children's fairytale starring her children?)

Anyway those kids can take solace - at least they didn't get called Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii.

Last week a family court judge in New Zealand was so disturbed by that name that he ordered her to be placed temporarily under court guardianship so a suitable name could be chosen. (I am wondering if any of the Geldof-Yates offspring would have wished for a similar fate?)

What interests me though, is the names that were not allowed to be registered with the Births Deaths and Marriages outfit (I am assuming these are all names people attempted to register) - Fish and Chips, Mower, Yeah Detroit, Stallion, Twisty Poi, Keenan Got Lucy and Sex Fruit.

I am supposing these people can't claim that they're family names. I did have a friend at school whose middle name was Glendinning Glory. Apparently it was an old family name - we delighted in her name and called her Firstname Goitre Glands Lastname.

Apparently the names that did slip through the registration process were Spiral Cicada, Kaos, Hitler and Cinderella Beauty Blossom (poor child most probably lives in perpetual fear of turning into a pumpkin.)

And I am pretty sure I am not lying when I say there are some twins out there that go by Benson and Hedges.

I am pleased I ended up with Kate. 'Are you Katherine?' I get asked alot.

'No, my mother knew I wouldn't be able to spell it until I was about fourteen, so she decided she would keep it simple.'

I have a friend whose middle names are Charles and Frederick, and his first name is four syllables. When his wife first discovered his full name her reaction was, 'What? Did his parents think he was going to be king?'

Anyway, even though Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii has now been officially booted out of the Ridiculous Name Club, her parents' initial choice makes me feel vaguely better about naming my first cat (aged about six) Chippies Murphy Hokey-Pokey Flickey-Tail Patches Tiger Jane Lastname.

No wonder she ran away.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


From: New Zealand
To: Australia

Dear Australia,

We've given you Robbie Deans, so looking forward to the arrival of those muskets and blankets we discussed.


New Zealand

Saturday, July 26, 2008

You must.....

...stop what you are doing right now.

Go find yourself a newspaper.

Turn to the movie section.

Find when Dark Knight is screening.

Go and see it.

(Maybe check that there are tickets available, otherwise you may end up at Mamma Mia, in which case I would imagine you will want to kill me.Slowly. And that would be fair.)

It does not matter if you have no one to go and see it with you.

It does not matter if you already have plans, it's only two and a half hours long- you'll still make part of the wedding.

And just to put this into perspective, I have never really been a great fan of the franchise -until now. Batman has the BEST toys (despite being a bit creepy and from behind I reckon he looks like a pussy cat), the chase scenes are spectacular and Heath Ledger does mental like I have never seen before. If I wanted to be a screaming psychotic nutjob when I grew up, the Joker would be my hero.


Nuff said.

Off you pop.

You can thank me later.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The moon is a balloon

I have just seen the film, In the Shadow of the Moon. ( I actually had just written Dark Side of the Moon, blame that on growing up with Pink Floyd being on high rotate in our household).

For those of you who have not too much idea of what I am talking about, it is a doco that brings together the last surviving Apollo astronauts as they share their memories and feelings about their missions to the moon. It is supported by lots of never-seen-before archive footage, has an incredible music score and it is just such a fascinating watch.

Even for me, cause it's not like any of the astronauts fell in love with an alien. (It did look like they went off roading, though).

It was directed by David Sington and Richie Cunningham (one of the most sucessful gingas in the film industry, aside from Garfield) even lends his name to it. It's kind of strange as the film opens with 'Ron Howard Presents', however we never see or hear him. Apparently he was brought on board to throw a bit more weight behind the promotional machine.

But really, how much promotional horsepower are you really going to need when you have a story that is being told by ten astronauts? Stories don't come better than that. Competitve story conversationalists are really quite screwed if they enter the ring with an astronaut.

'I had lunch with the Senior Assistant Vice-President's Budget Advisor on whether or not we are going to sell Hawaii to the Chinese, last week.'

'Oh really? I haven't been to China, however I did see it when I was re-entering the earth's atmosphere recently.'

Years ago I interviewed an astronaut and I had this incredible reality check just after I started the interview when it dawned on me that this guy had actually been to the moon.

And come back.

In one piece. (That's most probably the more pertinent part to the story).

Not having any shame I blerted, 'Oh my god, I've just worked out that you've actually seen the earth from outer space.'

'Oh, and there was me thinking you were talking to me because you wanted my recipe for pumpkin pie.'

So he didn't say that, but he should have.

He was, from memory, a really nice guy and he was very patient as I asked exactly the same questions every other journalist who had interviewed him in the last thirty or so years, had asked.

And the same type of realisation happened to me when I was watching In the Shadow of the Moon. I am in totally awe of what those guys managed to achieve.

Even if I was given a brain transplant and suddenly became capable of handling the task of heading to the moon with the other rocket scientists, I am confident that I would be far too chickenshit to ever have the courage to climb into a burning, flying tin can and hurled into outer space.

I know this because I remember as a child saying to my Fruitcake mother, 'Can we please never go to the moon for a holiday or live under the sea?'

She couldn't promise that we most definitely wouldn't, but did say that there were no plans in the immediate future.

And then this film makes you think about all sorts of other things, it untangles you from your life and makes you consider (well made me consider) HOW ON EARTH ARE WE HERE ? How come we are this little oasis of life in the middle of this giant solar system?

I mean, what is with that?

Did Earth win the Solar System Lottery or something?

'And Life shall go to Planet Earth! You'll most probably enjoy it for the next 4.5 billion years -or so - after that you tend to eat your own.'

Monday, July 21, 2008

From the Niece Files

I got an email from my brother-in-law, headed up 'In the car this afternoon.'

The four-year-old: I got a new husband.

The six-year-old: Why?

The four-year-old: Cos. It's my wedding day.

The six-year-old: What's wrong with your other husband?

The four-year-old: He's dead.

I am going to start getting suspicous when she's up to husband number six.

Boys, be very afraid.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The rumblings cried, 'you've eaten too much Kentucky Fried....for dinnnnnnnnnnnner!'

Oh I have been trying to make this work, but it won't, instead you'll have to go here to check this out.

Okay so let's think about what went on in the creative at the ad agency.

'How bout this for an idea? The Colonel is going to love it. Two fat kids in the back of a car, right? And they're really hungry, right?'

So, effectively the message is, if you eat lots of Kentucky Fried you'll turn into a fat cartoon character and live in a world of dancing animals?

Initially, I scoffed at the concept in all my 2008-haughtiness but when I thought about the idea, I thought- how bad can that be?

Cause I reckon those bopping animals are cool, especially at the very end.

Bring on the KFC.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Last week my phone rang, 'Just thought you'd like to know that it's 32 degrees here, I've just selected which fish is about to lose its life and become my lunch and I'm having a beer.'

'You're a bastard, Dad.'

'Heh heh. Back on Sunday, talk to you then, bye!'

My father was in Bangkok *working*.

Okay, that sentence looks slightly sifty. He was actually working, arms dealers need conferences, didn't you know?

When he got back he was telling me that on the last day he went on a canal trip and then went and checked out the Grand Palace - where he bumped into two friends of his.

Of course he did.

So in a country that is about fifteen hours in a plane away from New Zealand, in a city with a population of around nine million, my father managed to bump into people he knew? Okay it was at a major tourist attraction, so that would bring chances down somewhat, but hell, that's quite a coincidence.

Or is it?

I was pondering this and when I trawled through my memory archive I discovered a few other wee coincidental pearlers lurking in dusty corners of my brain.

When we went to Malaysia I announced to the crew that the competition for the trip was to see who bumped into someone they knew.

The boys rolled their eyes a sighed a collective, 'Yeah right, Kate.'

Then, on the last day of the trip we were all shopping in a big mall and I looked up and said, 'Gidday Mary, hi Philly!' My team were speechless as I smugly introduced them all to one of my oldest friend's mother and her friend, who were stopping off on trip back from the Uk.

Guess who was little Miss Gloaty for the rest of that trip?

Another from the coincidence archive was when I was in Tokyo I was working with an Australian guy who when he met me said, 'I'd never really known any New Zealanders until last year when I was working in Breckenridge and I got to know a New Zealander really well....oh shit what was his name?'

Blank stare from me.

'Shit, what was his name?' (Is what he thought he said, what actually came out of his mouth was was 'Sheet, what was hees nayme?')

Another blank stare. ( I didn't think it was necessary to point out that -at that time- there were practically four million people living in New Zealand, so trying to guess would have been possibly just a little bit silly.)

'Shit. His father organised the Commonwealth Games.'

'Mike SonoffatherwhoorganisedtheCommonwealth Games,he's a friend of mine - I went to varsity with him.'

'Bloody hell, your country is small.'

When we considered that a New Zealander and an Australian discovered, when they were working in Tokyo, that they had a mutual friend who he had met in Colorado, we thought that was reasonably uncanny.

I'm on a roll now.

When my brother Sunshine and Mrs Sunshine were in Africa, they were hitching from Harare to Victoria and got a ride on the back of a ute. When they pulled into a service station they guy noticed Mrs Sunshine's NZ flag on her pack.

'You guys from New Zealand ? You don't happen to know a bird called Nicki W?'

'Umm, yes' said Mrs Sunshine, 'I used to flat with her.'

'Riiiight, I think you better come home with me.'

Nicki W had been staying with his neighbour for about three months.

This is Africa, people. It's a big place.

One more.

Years ago my sister won a national competition and went to the States, where she was staying along with about forty others from about twenty different countries. (Almost sounds like she was in a beauty competition, doesn't it?') She was in Texas where she was billeted along with a woman from Italy. They were looking at the photo albums of their hosts, from a trip they had made to Italy. And Big Sister's Italian friend found a photo of herself in there.


As you do.

Enough from me, I am now opening the floor, anyone else had weird coincidences? Or is it just that my family are never destined to win the lottery, but bump into random people we know in really obscure places all over the world?

Monday, July 14, 2008

I'm sorry, but the short waving lunatic is me.

Glasses. I have glasses because things in the distance are generally blurry - unless of course I am wearing my glasses and then they are crystal clear. I have had glasses for over ten years now. I think I am up to my third pair and the ones I currently wear I bought in Austria. Unfortunately I am one of those people who walks into the optometrists and I seem to have this uncanny knack of being drawn to the most expensive pair of frames in the joint. Every. Single.Time. I then will proceed to convince myself that I'm getting good value if I'm aiming for a dollar a day's wear out of them.

Sigh. I reckon my brain could justify slaughtering a bear if I decided I wanted pink snuggy bear skinned insoles. ('First we dye the bear, then we kill the bear and, besides, what bear wouldn't want to be immortalised as insoles?')

Even though I will spend small fortunes on frames, I still live in a state of delusion that my eyesight is fine, and it is not until I put my glasses on that I realise just how much more clearly I would see the world if I were to wear them at all times. (So if you ever see a girl who, after she puts on glasses excitedly claiming, 'Wow, would you look at that!' Please be nice to me, because I am not very smart.)

There is, however, I believe a case to be argued that you don't necessarily want to see everything that is going on around you. But that's only a little case. In the last two days there have been two reasons as to why I should have glasses firmly planted on my face at all times.

Case #1

Last night I was chopping up pumpkin and I was removing pumpkin intestines from my chopping board to my rubbish bin. As I dropped the intestines into the tin, some pumpkin seeds missed and hit the floor. I bent over and scooped up one, two, three pumpkin seeds and put them in the bin. I then stood up and looked down, saw one on my sock and thought, 'Oops, missed one,' and bent down to pick it up and put it in the bin.

Except when I bent down I saw that it wasn't a pumpkin seed at all.

It was my toe poking out through a hole in my sock.

I'm not sure whether to put this down to poor eyesight, or to just being an idiot.

And then reason number two blazed into my life this morning, in all its glory

For the last few months a shiny new BMW four wheel drive has been parking outside our office about twice a week. And every time I see it I think, 'Oh that's Blah Blah-de-Blah, must go and say hi.'

Now Blah Blah-de-Blah is the son of great friends of my parents. He is the same age as me and I've known him practically all my life. I don't know him particularly well, but well enough to always say hi and each of us download what our parents and siblings are doing whenever we see each other - which is about once a year.

I have been wanting to speak to him about a work matter for a couple of weeks and I said in the office that next time anyone spotted his car to point it out, and I would go and have a yarn.

So this morning Blah Blah-de-Blah parked outside the office. I was standing against the heater with my back against the wall looking straight out of the office to the street. And I said, 'Great, there's Blah Blah-de-Blah!' And I gave him a great big enthusiastic happy wave.

And he gave me a great big wave and a huge smile back.

Which was great.

Except for one thing.

It wasn't him.

I had just waved at a complete stranger.

He was the same size, had the same shape, the same haircut, even the same mannerisms.

Just not quite the same face.

I think, 'You fucking idiot!' Was the collective chorus from the others in the office, and they then delighted in the fact that I proceeded to climb underneath the desk and curl up into
tiny wee ball to marinate in my shame.

Oh, they laughed at me. How they laughed at me. And then they laughed at me some more.

'But how could you think it was him for all these weeks?'

'Because it looked like him!' I squeaked from my ball.

'Is that his car?'

'I don't know, but it's the kind of car he would drive.'

'So are you sure it wasn't him?'


'Was it, or wasn't it him?'

'It wasn't him.I don't think.'

It was a long morning.

Eventually I did crawl out from under my desk.

Unfortunately my dignity is still there.

I will see if I can find it tomorrow.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Career prospects? Monumentally screwed.

I was going to give this topic a miss because it's been everywhere, but it just won't get out of my head so, I'm sorry but, you're stuck with it.

If you want the whole story go to (Still haven't worked through the link technology yet.)

Basically, in a nutshell a high profile television and radio sports presenter has admitted to kicking a former girlfriend so hard that she broke her back in four places, injured her head and was left in a wheelchair. She spent months away from her job as general manager of marketing at Vodafone, had a breakdown and later was forced to quit work. It's been reported that he then paid her $100,000 in return for her silence.

Now, this story broke on Monday. On Monday night, there he was back on our screens reporting the sports news and the radio network that employs him was quoted as saying that nothing would change as far as his employment was concerned. Both organisations were quoted as saying they don't comment on personal matters.

Initially it appeared to be an 'if we ignore it, it will go away' strategy.

However the the Women's Refuge and the National Collective of Independent Women's Refuges were having none of it, calling for him to admit what he had done, admit that it was wrong and to make steps to put it right (which didn't include lump sum payments).

On Tuesday it was reported that he would be off air for the week.

On Wednesday he held a press conference, expressing remorse and admitting he 'lashed out in anger, something I will regret to the end of my days. I have lived with that night in my conscience ever since, and I will always do so. I make no excuses for what I did.'

It's a good apology and who ever wrote it for him did it well, but what I really cannot fathom about this case (aside from the brutally obvious) is that both TVNZ and Radio Sport initially avoided dealing with this issue by saying it was a personal issue?


It's been reported that one of your highest profile presenters has seriously assaulted a woman and you're saying it's got nothing to do with you because it's a personal issue?

Call me crazy, but isn't that like saying it's okay?

Do you guys know how much money is spent with your organisations in ad campaigns preventing domestic violence?

Are we to take from this that Jo Average should refrain from domestic violence, but it's okay for your presenters?

And by saying sorry does it make it okay now?

When you consider this assault happened two years ago it does beg the question, is he sorry for what he did, or is he sorry because he got found out ?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I'm confused.

I was watching the late news on TVNZ last night and two things struck me as odd.

One, the newsreader said, 'Sydney is bracing for a visit by the Pope.'

Is the Pope a cyclone ?

And then the next story's intro was 'And cracks are appearing in the Anglican church...'

Ke? Which one? And does this mean Anglicans are now on the hunt for a good plasterer?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Self fulfilling prophecies.

During the winter I am very clean - because I tend to have a lot of baths.

I figure, aside from crawling into the oven or ironing myself, it's the quickest way of warming up without inflicting lasting personal damage.

Last night was particularly cold, and I felt like I had been shivering all day, so when I got home I started to run the bath. As I walked out of my bathroom the thought occurred to me that I hadn't overflowed a bath since I was a child.

And just like a goldfish, I immediately forgot that thought and headed to my computer.

A period of time later it occurred to me that I should check my bath.

You know what's coming next, don't you?

'Fuck! Fuck ! Fuck! Fuck!'

(I remain convinced the neighbours must think I have Tourettes. If they ever put their ear up to the wall, they would only ever hear 'You fucking moron', or 'you fucking idiot' or a steam of 'fucks'.)

My brain process that followed went something like this.

Bath overflowing.
Must stop water.
Turn taps off.
Must stop water streaming over side.
Must pull plug out.
Will get wet arm.
Must take jersey off.
Take jersey off, wrench plug out.
Must stop water from heading out door to carpet.
Carpet is expensive.
Towels! Need towels!
There is one in front of you.
Little voice, momentary hesitation, 'But it's clean.'

You get the picture.

Sometimes I think it would be a lot safer for all concerned (me and my house) if, when I was cold, I just went for a brisk walk to warm up from the inside out.

I did this the other night. It was freezing, a blustery howling gale and I thought the key to heating up would be a bracing sixty minute walk. (Some days I just merely lack logic, others I deeply lack logic).

Anyway, I rugged up and headed out. It was so cold that for the first twenty minutes I contemplated turning around and dashing home. You know when you get so cold that your face hurts?

After I broke the twenty minute barrier I started to enjoy myself. On the way back I passed an older looking man and he grinned at me with an 'Aren't we idiots out walking in this weather?' look on his face.

And then overhead I could hear a helicopter, it was dark and he asked, 'Can you see the helicopter? I need to know if it's the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.'

It came out from behind a cloud and revealed itself as the Westpac Rescue chopper.

'It's coming in hell of a quickly,' he said and then looked at me, 'I'd better get home because I think I'm about to get a phone call.'

It was one of those moments that makes you realise that some people have really important jobs. He was off to go and make someone live, and I was going off to make myself dinner. And on that occasion, not overflow the bath.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Is that a young innocent brain I can mess with?

I was over at the household of four-boys-aged-five-and-under the other night during jungle hour. I always enjoy jungle hour in their house, it's really entertaining to join the food chain and the bath chain (and I always get to leave at the end of it). At one point three of the four were destroying the bathroom while their mother and I slowly cleared some of the debris from the toy box(which had appeared to have exploded) in the room they had just been chased from.

'Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmm! Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmm!' Was being bellowed from the bath.

Mother-of-four looks at me, rolls her eyes, and says quietly, 'Oh shut up ya bunch of neanderthals.' I just love how she views her children. I don't think I would even be able to coax a 'delightful neanderthals' out of her mouth, either. There are no pedestals for her children to sit on in that household, only stools. Which is a good thing, because if they were put on pedestals, it would be guaranteed they'd fall off and break their sweet little neanderthal necks.

A period of time later, as the other three were in various stages of being tucked up and read stories to, I was downstairs with the five-year-old helping him build a paper dart. I tend to skite a bit about my paper dart skills, (six weeks in hospital flat on my back, total bed rest, what else is a girl going to do, but learn how to turn her menus into finely tuned flying machines.)

However we were following some instructions to make this particular dart, they were written in English and Chinese. One instruction said, 'Fold corners to corners, ' (there were also little diagrams, so I didn't have to be completely psychic).

'Look at the Chinese.' Said the five-year-old.

'Fo-ole cor-nar to cor-nar.' I announced in my finest Chinese accent.

'Wow, do you know Chinese?' Asked the five-year-old.

'Uh-huh.' I said and continued to say out loud all the other instructions in what is, in fact, a truly awful Chinese accent.

The five-year-old thought I was terribly flash, informed his parents of my fabulous Chinese language skills, and I then took my smug bilingual self off home.

The next morning the phone rang, it was the five-year-old's mother. Apparently he had just been telling his younger brother about how I had been teaching him Chinese, and he wanted to demonstrate his skills to me.


'Oh wow Five-Year-Old! That's fantastic! Next time I come round I will teach you Indian.'

'Can you tell me some Indian, now?'

'Of course, goodmorninggoodmorninggoodmorning.' (You have to understand that I was woggling my head at the same time.)

'Now, say it back to me.'

'Good morning good morning good morning.'

I have to admit, it was quite a good pronunciation. 'Fantastic work! I will teach you more soon.'

'Okay, bye Katelastname.'

I chuckled away and put down the phone.

About five minutes later the phone rang again - it was the five-year-old's mother and she couldn't stop laughing, 'Five-Year-Old has just said that each day they have to say good morning in class, and that they are allowed to say it in a different language if they want. He had decided this morning he was going to say it Indian.'

'Oh fuck. We can't actively make him look like an imbecile.'

'No', she giggled, 'I have put him right on this one.'

As I put the phone down I remembered that this was the same brain who I told last year, that if he wanted something from his mother, he just needed to work on his delivery. If he wanted chips saying, 'Mum, you hot thing, can I have some chippies please?', was going to work much more in his favour than whining away 'Mum, I want some chips.'

I know that morsel of information managed to sink in because about a week later his mother rang me in complete stitches after she'd heard him just say to his father, 'Dad, you hot thing, can I have a ride on the digger?'

Very soon this child is going figure out that ninety-nine percent of what comes out of my mouth is complete rubbish, however until such time I shall exploit his young innocent brain to the best of my ability.

I reckon I've got about another month left.