Who has got the cure for the sit-at-home blues? Ask Dr Grabthar. Now with bigger, easier to read font!

Monday, April 24, 2006

[General] Only Cheating Themselves

Well it’s official; people are cheating at Virtual Super 14!

I know this because I had a look at the picks of one player (named “whatever1”) and he had picked the exact score for every game. So he had picked that the top of the table Crusaders would draw with the bottom of the table Force.

I do not believe that this is true. Sure, it could happen, but is so unlikely that I have to call “cheat”. For example on my “mates list” the best player got 28 points and only because he didn’t fancy the Reds or Blues. On Russell Brown’s much larger list the highest score is 29. So do not believe that “whatever1” was able to guess and get 50 points!

I am nowhere near the contenders for #1 (ironic considering my rugby podcast) but this is bad form.

In other news, I was interviewed a couple of weeks back on bFM’s Wednesday Wire regarding a seminar I spoke at regarding blogging and the public sector (also attended by Che, Tom and Geoff). You can download my brilliant dialogue with José here (right click, save target as…). It’s kind of nerve-racking talking live on the radio, especially when that radio station is one of the more popular in Auckland (hmm, maybe not) and is broadcast to the Auckland University quad speakers.

It is because of that seminar and the interview that I have decided to write the following:

The views expressed in this blog and any accompanying links do not necessarily reflect those of my employer. My employer does not accept any responsibility whatsoever for any loss or damage that may result from reliance on or the use of the information contained in this blog or any accompanying links.

Basically, this is all my own thoughts and not in any way the thoughts of my employer. There is no connection between the two.

I’m still not saying who my employer is though, just in case.

On a different note we went to see one of the Mana Wahine films at the City Gallery on Saturday. We saw Strange Fruit a documentary about the song of the same name made famous by Billie Holiday. We spoke afterwards how strange American history is and how it is quite a “recent” history. Strange Fruit is a bout lynching in the south and the documentary was able to find people who were alive when it was happening and could remember it.

It was interesting fare for a weekend afternoon.

Friday, April 21, 2006

[ANGER] First Do No Harm

This week the Minister of Fisheries, Jim Anderton, did something that truly disgusted me. He increased squid fishing quotas.

Not the number of squid that could be caught, but the number of sea lions that could be killed as a result of squid fishing. It is called a “kill quota” and is the number of sea lions that can be drowned in nets by the squid fishing industry.

The sea lions in question are not just any old sea lions but the New Zealand Sea Lion (also called Hookers’ Sea Lion or Rapoka) that is only found in New Zealand (naturally). Forest and Bird put out a media statement which includes the following numbers:

  1. The New Zealand sea lion (Phocarctos hookeri) is the only endemic NZ pinniped and is listed as a Vulnerable species on the 2004 IUCN (World Conservation Union) Red List of Species Threatened with Extinction.
  2. Over 2,000 NZ sea lions have been killed in the Auckland Islands squid fishery since 1980.
  3. Each year for the past eleven years the Minister of Fisheries has set a ‘kill quota’ for the number of NZ sea lions the squid fishing industry is allowed to drown in its fishing nets. The first kill quota set in 1994 was 16 protected New Zealand sea lions. In 2003 the quota was set at 62, however the fishing industry took legal action to permit increased sea lion killing. As a result, the final number of protected New Zealand sea lions killed in 2003 was 144.
  4. This year’s squid catch is likely to have already been well above the average for the past 18 years. The median catch for the fishery between 1987 and 2004 was just under 11,000 tonnes, which is equivalent to 33% of the long-term average total allowable catch for the same period. It is predicted that this year’s catch to the end of March would be 57% (around 18,000 tonnes) of the total allowable catch when the sea lion ‘kill quota’ limit of 97 was reached. This means that this year’s catch will be one of the ‘best’ on record.
  5. Jigging involves the use of small continuous-loop hooked lines which do not pose the same risk to non-target species as trawl nets.

Kevin Hackwell, Advocacy Manager for Forest and Bird said “Jigging offers a safer alternative and is used successfully in the Falkland Islands. It would also result in better quality squid being brought to market because trawling does more damage to the squid caught.”

The sea lions that are usually killed are pregnant females who are catching food for their current pups. This means with one death three generations are killed.

So where did Hon. Jim Anderton get his numbers that lead to his decision to increase the Kill Quota 55% from 97 dead sea lions to 150 dead sea lions? Well the Fisheries website contains no news regarding the Minister’s decision. [Note: it was a ministerial decision not a ministry policy]. So it must have DoC’s numbers, right? Well they have no releases on it either.

HOWEVER, they do have The Marine Mammal Action Plan (pdf). In the section of the plan that relates to NZ Sea Lions the Department of Conservation says it will:

“Continue to seek and establish effective prevention and mitigation methods that reduce fishing-related mortality, and ensure that most recent data is incorporated into all models used to calculate incidental mortality limits”

Forest and Bird claim that the Minister is using an outdated model that has not recent current trends and needs to be updated; this is in clear opposition to the Department of Conservation’s plan. It seems that Anderton was told by the squid industry that it was a big squid season and that he should increase the quota so that they could catch more squid and make more money.

Anderton you used to be cool, man. What happened to you?

So over the next month or so here is what YOU do. That’s right YOU.

  • No more squid. Have a squid-less diet. How hard is that? How often do you eat squid anyway? I say go cold turkey. Actually that would be a good idea. Wild turkey if it’s possible, because turkeys are a pest here.
  • Email Hon. Jim Anderton (just click the link) and tell him what you think. Make a good argument and keep certain words to a minimum.

Go do it!

[Genreal] Shuffling one off

Quick iPod Shuffle:Odessa: Oak Park Avenue

  1. Odessa – In Time My Luck Will Change (Oak Park Avenue)
  2. Motocade – Happiness is Lonely (Motocade)
  3. The White Stripes – My Doorbell (Get Behind Me Satan)
  4. Ben Harper and the Blind Boys of Alabama – Wicked Man (There Will be a Light)
  5. Irene Cara – What a Feeling (Flashdance soundtrack) GODAMMIT!!!!
  6. Roots Manuva – Awfully Deep (Awfully Deep)
  7. Kanye West feat Common – My Way Home (Late Registration)
  8. Long Beach Dub Allstars feat. The Black Eyed Peas – Sunny Hours
  9. The 5,6,7,8’s – I was a Teenaged Cave Woman (Bomb the Rocks)
  10. Neko Case – Blacklisted (Blacklisted)

[General] The Tumble-ing Tumble-weeds

Not a whole lot has been posted here recently, why’s that? Well go check out Wellingtonista. See?

I’ve also been a-voting at the Webby Awards. You been there yet? It is the perfect place to find the best of the web and get a new set of bookmarks. I’m about half way through the list of nominees at the moment.

Then Jed came round the other night to drop off some home-grown bok choi, home-made relish (both which tasted awesome) and a CD containing some brilliant music. It included The KleptonesNight at the Hip-Hopera and Yoshimi Battles the Hip-Hop Robots and many others. My current favourite though is MC Hawking’s, A Brief History of Rhyme. Yes, a rapping Stephen Hawking.

It’s unknown who MC Hawking really is but whoever it is they know how to rap and about science. “Unstable like the isotope the resolves the fate of the theoretical cat in the hypothetical crate” and “I explode like a bomb. No one is spared. My power is my mass times the speed of light squared.” But seriously the song The Dozens had me in tears, it’s so damn funny.

Finally, for this post, go and see this CRAZY video at Noizyland. I have watched it like a dozens times now. I’m fairly sure it isn’t a fake, but can’t be completely sure.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Thursday, April 13, 2006

[General] Let's hear it for Mike!

Give me an M!
Give me an I!
Give me a K!
Give me an E!


Good on ya son. It's so cool when your friends are successful.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

[General] Water, water, everywhere

First off, Che has written a nice summary of the panel discussion we were a part of recently. Go read it when you leave here.

And now, Cletus from Canterbury:

This has gone too far! The Gub’na’ment is takin’ mah water! Ah’ve been dairy farmin’ down here in Canterb’ry fer, well, at least half a generation!

And ah had t’ work hard at it too! We h’d t’ convert th’ land inta this. Afore’n it were brown grass only good fer sheep! Look it ‘er now, green as far as the eye can see. Con-sarn-it!

Th’ Gub’na’ment cain’t do this! This is our right!

Thanks Cletus, for that lovely tirade. We should probably clarify for our readers as to what’s going on. The Government (capital G) is looking to regulate water usage especially in areas where water is in high demand and short supply. This means Canterbury.

Recently (quite recently) a number of resourceful farmers started converting their sheep farms to highly lucrative dairy farms. They did so by pumping water out of local rivers and lakes to spray over their farms, creating the lush green fields that make the Waikato a very good area for dairy farming.

The area of land being irrigated in New Zealand has doubled every decade since the 1960s and irrigation takes up 77 percent of all allocated water. That is quite a lot of water to spray onto the ground.

The National Business Review said this (quite unsurprisingly):

"Water is the lifeblood of farm operations. Farmers already have strong incentives to use this critical resource efficiently and cleanly. We would oppose any new policies on water that would negatively impact the productivity and viability of the 80,000 farming businesses that underpin this country's wealth and well-being…,"

I’m not quite sure what those “strong incentives” are. If they are “land preservation” you can just go fuck off ignore this, farmers don’t ever seem to care what happens to the land. They happily use pesticides, deforest land, create greenhouse gasses (yeah that is poetic justice) and release un-tested rabbit diseases.

For some reason, every time a farmer is on TV he is suddenly a “man of the earth”. He is one with the land and knows all about it. I call “Bullshit”.

Interestingly TV3 news interviewed a Canterbury farmer last night. He turned on his massive irrigation system that started to pump 1000’s of litres of water onto the ground. He then turned to the camera and said, with a straight face, how he had spent lots of money on the system and that the water was his “right”.

Would he have converted his farm to dairy and spent all that money on his irrigation system if he knew that the water would be restricted? And since when has water been a right in Canterbury, a place that is known for severe droughts? It’s not a right, it’s a privilege.

Speaking of which, expect more severe droughts more often. How ironic.

Rodney hide said (and Nick Smith agreed): "Government wants to centralise control over fresh water, putting privately owned, secure, tradable water rights out of the question."

I believe that is a good thing. I’m kind of tired of having other people own things. For goodness sake companies can own parts of the goddamn human genome!

The funny thing about this issue is its farmers versus fishermen and hunters. Fish and Game New Zealand are doing quite well for the environment recently considering their hatred of Didymo. They kill pigs, deer rabbits and possums and are for water and stream conservation. What a top bunch of blokes. And real “men of the earth” too.

This is separate issue but: who is closer to being a “man of the earth”?

  1. A farmer
  2. A hunter/fisherman
  3. An eco-protester

Finally a bit of sport.

The Super 14 could go to Monday and Thursday night games. This will mean that Sky TV (who basically owns the tournament) can broadcast more live games.

Monday Night Football!!!

Now normally I hate the fact that Sky TV holds the SANZAR rugby nations by the balls and that every time SANZAR want to do anything they have to come crawling to Sky and beg for its sanction. But this is OK. More viewers mean more money and more interest generated in the sport, which is good for the future.

The problem with Monday and Thursday games is that any team travelling from South Africa to Australia and New Zealand is travelling the wrong direction (time zone-wise). So the schedule will have to be strictly calculated.

For example teams that are travelling from the republic (be they starting a tour or coming back from one) could maybe have a Monday night game to give them an extra day to recover. It would also have an impact on where the byes could be.

It will be interesting to see if people will change their viewing habits. Monday is not a big pub night.

Friday, April 07, 2006

[Sport] Respect

Just a quick Friday sports related rant (that was supposed to go up yesterday).

In this week’s Wellingtonian (a free local newspaper) sports columnist Phil Murray complains that local Hurricanes fans booed visiting player Dan Carter. He says:

I can understand a player being booed if he has engaged in an act of thuggery, or if he has waged a war of words against the home team in the media…

…But to boo a player just because he belongs to the other team is disrespectful and silly.

Whaaaaa? What is the point of home field advantage then?

Murray goes on to say that Dan Carter is a respected and skilful player and that no New Zealander would boo him when he was wearing an All Black jersey. This is absolutely true. But when he is wearing the Canterbury jersey he is the enemy of any fan outside of Canterbury.

As he lines up to kick you don’t sit in silent awe hoping that his kick will make it over because he is an awesome player. You make a hell of a lot of noise to put him off. In order to point out that you are yelling in a non-encouraging fashion you tend to use the word “boo”.

After the points are scored, be they through the boot or a try, it is polite to applaud the effort of a skilled player. But up until that point you are baying for the blood of the opposition. To paraphrase Hunter S Thompson, you’re trying to rip the lungs out of the junkie bastard.

Phil Murray may be “junkie bastard” himself considering this line:

The hurricanes faithful should have been happy to have been given the opportunity to admire Carter’s talents firsthand

What the hell kind of drugs are you on Murray? Are you a Canterbury supporter? When the All Blacks lose to Australia do think “man wasn’t I lucky to see the talented Australian players”?

In summing up: Booooooooo!

Ps. Disrespect for players and fans is a major issue and fans who go beyond booing are ***ktards.

[Sport] Brushback Mountain

Dom and I have been feeding each other funny sports stuff all morning. Finally I am going to post one of them.

Here is the Brushback.com Mock Draft. It contains such gems as:



D'Brickashaw Ferguson

The Packers have a few options here. They can go after Haloti Ngata, the defensive tackle from Oregon, or D’Brickashaw Ferguson, the highly touted offensive lineman. They might want to look into getting somebody with a halfway normal name, though. Those guys sound like they just stepped off a spaceship. D’Brickashaw? Wtf?




Laurence Maroney

The Panthers have a lot of needs, just like all of us. It’s part of being human.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

[General] This is My iLife

Wow, I found a new meme!

Though Jemsweb (Jem’s Web?) caught it from Hers(trionics) and Wanda. I now pass it on to you.

Set iPods to shuffle (which I have done in the past) but then use the song titles to answers the following questions:

How does the world see you?

You Gotta Know (Supergroove)

You really, really do…

Will I have a happy life?

Bad Boy for Life (P Diddy and the Family)

I think this is a “yes”

What do my friends really think of me?

Del Fuego

I’m on fire

Do people secretly lust after me?

Streets of New York (Alicia Keys)

They love me out on the East Coast

How can I make myself happy?

P.Y.T. [Pretty Young Thing] (Michael Jackson)

Um…no comment

What should I do with my life?

My My Metrocard (Le Tigre)

Shopping or lesbianism?

Will I ever have children?

The Knightrider theme

Must be a “no” because KITT wasn’t a family sedan.

What is some good advice for me?

Kids with Guns (Gorillaz)

Hmmmm, I see.

How will I be remembered?

Let Me Blow Your Mind (Eve, feat. Gwen Stefani)


What is my signature dancing song?

I Owe (Mase)

Sure why not, its got a decent beat

What do I think my current theme song is?

Baby be mine (Michael Jackson)

What the hell is going on here!

What does everyone else think my current theme song is?

Roadrunner (The’s)

Well that’s a relief

(ps. this is one of my favourite album covers [left], the artist is Rockin' Jellybean, these links might not be safe for work)

What song will play at my funeral?

The Power of Equality (The Red Hot Chili Peppers)

Hey bada bada Hey bada Hey bada bada Hey bada Hey bada bada bada SWING!

What type of women do you like?

Let the Funk be Free (Supergroove)


What is my day going to be like?

Wet!Wet!Wet! (Princess Superstar)


Ps. Jed has shuffled himself as well.