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

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Material Witness

A while ago a got myself a cloth ring from Illicit clothing in Auckland. It was basically black elastic with a skull embroidered on it. I got at the same time as I got a tattoo there so it was kind of cool. I then left it in a bathroom and lost it.

This is one of the setbacks of cloth rings compared to metal ones: you have to take them off when you wash your hands. (I know washing your hands doesn’t really go with the “skull ring attitude” but I’m a hygiene-first kind of person).

So I got a new cloth ring, this time with a lightning bolt on it. I have been diligent with this one and haven’t lost it yet. However, I have encountered the second main problem associated with cloth rings: they stretch. This means I now wear my ring on my thumb because it has started to fall off my middle finger.

Finally today I noticed something else about the ring. While I remember to remove it before washing my hands, there are other times when the ring doesn’t fair so well. Like when I eat Burger Fuel burgers or fruit or any other handheld food item. The ring soaks up any food, drink or anything that lands on it. This means that it now stinks.

From this analysis I would suggest to anyone thinking of getting a cloth ring (exactly 0.00001% of you) to not get one unless you are a very tidy eater or someone who doesn’t mind the smell.

Update: After writing this I spilt coffee grinds all of the damn thing! Oh, well I like the smell of coffee.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Christchurch man doesn’t get the point

The following is story from Stuff that I think clearly illustrates a great point about idiots. I have moved the paragraphs around to make the story clearer. Read on…

DOC cops flak for felling old tree

The Department of Conservation is under attack for felling an old rimu.

Christchurch man Gary Smith said that last month he and his group found the felled tree near a recently constructed hut on Anchor Island in Dusky Sound, part of Fiordland National Park. "It was 3½ metres in diameter. It could have been 300 years old" said Mr Smith (occupation unknown).

Department spokesman Martin Rodd said the rimu was in poor condition. "An assessment of the tree found it to be rotting in places and it was considered to be a safety hazard."

The department had "agonised" over its decision to fell the tree. The tree was also on the best site for a hut that was needed to house staff taking care of 30 recently released kakapo.

But Mr Smith said: "I saw the stump…and it was in perfectly good health."

Thursday, July 20, 2006


I’m gonna go with the Microblog approach today

Topic 1: Basketball
I don’t really care too much about the NBA, but I do care about the Tall Blacks (the name of NZ’s men’s basketball team). The have levelled the series against the Australian Boomers two games apiece and have just pulled off their first win on Australian soil and won the series. The games they lost were pretty close, but the games they have won have been blow outs; this means that the Tall Blacks win on points aggregate. The last win was 79-71 (ok, not so much of a “blow out”) and the kiwis did well to keep Andrew Bogut (the only NBA player on either squad) out of the game. In fact out of the whole series. Kia kaha!

Topic 2: Charlie and the weirdos
A relatively short while after the death of the Kahui twins that shocked and angered the nation (well maybe not Michael Laws) comes a Christian group advocating beating your children for up to 15mins to “purge the demons”. They also have other nuggets of wisdom in their pamphlet including this one: If the child is angry after the smack, you have not smacked hard enough”.

It’s nice to see that everyone on earth seems to know that these people are idiots. Even people who write into Stuff know it. All we’re missing is a missive from Muriel Newman

At the same time as these idiots (who are fighting the repeal of Section 59) are putting out their pamphlet (was it written in shit?), President of Federated Farmers, Charlie Pederson, is making war with the environmentalists. Again no one is having a bar of it. Well done New Zealand; that is New Zealand minus Charlie and the weirdos who hit their kids for 15 mins at a time.

Topic 3: An iPod Shuffle (i.e. “filler”)
Song – Band - Album

  • Lucky – Fly My Pretties – Live at Bats
  • Boll Weevil – The Presidents of the USA – The Presidents of the USA
  • We don’t know where we’re going – Gomez – Split the Difference
  • Step Aside – Sleater Kinney – One Beat
  • Breathe in the Summertime – The Kleptones – Yoshimi Battles the Hip Hop Robots
  • Carmella – Beth Orton – Daybreaker
  • Nato’s Theme – Fly My Pretties – The Return of…
  • Guided by Wire – Neko Case – Furnace Room Lullaby
  • You – REM – Monster (hey, that almost makes a sentence)
  • Reverse Resistance – King Kapisi – Savage Thoughts
  • Where do we go? – Talib Kweli – Quality
  • The Lesson - The Roots - Home Grown!
  • Buy Her Candy - Sleater Kinney - Dig Me Out

Topic 4: Mistakes
I’m surprised nobody picked up on my deliberate grammatical error in the title of yesterday’s post.

Topic 5: George Bush
Well the other day he was having a public/private conversation with Tony Blair. “Yo Blair, where you going?” we heard him say. We watched him eat with his mouth open. Then there was this other incident at the G8 (from Public Address):

Bush walked into the room for an important summit and gave the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, an uninvited neck massage, by which she was surprised and apparently not pleased. I'm sorry, but that's just weird. Photos and video via AmericaBlog.
Yesterday he continued his slurred attempt at diplomacy by saying Syria should back off. I’m sure the bombed Lebanese were grateful.

Now he’s vetoed stem cell research. "It crosses a moral boundary," Bush said. I let you wonder about what shape George’s boundary line is in. But either way, does anyone else think that ‘W’ Bush is back drinking? He seemed pretty soused at the G8. He’s under a lot of pressure at the moment, and what ex-alcoholic wouldn’t reach for the bottle when his approval ratings are going through the floor?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Your Terrible Muriel

Hermitage has not been good for former ACT MP Muriel Newman. She sent this latest missive from her compound in the slums of Remuera:
One of the main reasons for high rates of abuse among Maori was welfare dependency, she said.

"At the heart of the child-abuse problem is a dependency culture that Maori have
embraced. It excuses and rewards irresponsible and depraved behaviour and treats
children as a revenue stream – the more babies you have, the more money you
receive, and the bigger the house you get to live in," she said.
This was
taken from her weekly newsletter (a document, I imagine, hand written on grimy
paper and accompanied by pictures she has drawn in crayon of the apocalypse).
She also stated in this newsletter that “New Zealanders did not want to
acknowledge issues behind one of the nation's biggest problems”.
I believe that this is an untruth (from an ACT MP? Never!) I think that every talk-back station in the country has been hassling the “Maaaaris on the bloody dole!”

The question is: Is this actually the issue behind the one of the nation’s biggest problems? The answer is: sort of.

Benefit dependence and long term benefit use including multi-generational receipt is a real problem. But not just for Maori. And whether it is a direct contributor to child-abuse is an interesting area of research.

Don’t look for a solution here. That would be crazy! Like Muriel level crazy!

I will say this though. The quote above about “irresponsible and depraved behaviour” and “children as a revenue stream” to get a bigger house to live in, may just be the nuttiest thing I have ever heard. To quote Ricky Gervais: “I’ll ask you again, was the newsletter written in shit?”

Speaking of shit, you’ll never guess what President Bush was heard saying to Prime Minister Blair at the G8 Summit. He said that Hizbollah needed to “stop doing this shit”. By shit he means firing rockets at Israel. Although he did say that Syria needed to cut it out as well.

Others have being saying similar things about the attack on Lebanon (which I think we can all agree was not a great idea) but George may not have heard them. It seems he doesn’t like long speeches.
Bush also said that when he next spoke to G8 leaders, he would keep it brief.
"I'm not going to talk too long like the rest of them. Some of these guys talk
too long. Gotta go home. Got something to do tonight," he said.
Wow, look out Laura, Dubya’s comin’ home!

Monday, July 17, 2006


So a while ago I said how I needed to get some more music from certain bands, well I did. Kings of Leon, Sleater Kinney, The Roots, and Princess Superstar. A brilliant bit of shopping.

I can’t play you the music but you can watch a video of Sleater Kinney on Letterman, enjoy.

Friday, July 14, 2006

A footballer by any other name...

Frank and Wayne. These are not names that inspire. Nor are they names that seem to fit with the phrase “the beautiful game”.

Christiano Ronaldo. Now there’s a name that makes you think of inspired football played with flair and brilliance. And he certainly is acrobatic.

I believe that England’s path to glory (and now they have four years to plan) is to collect a group of players with AMAZING names. Names so astounding, that they literally scare the crap out of their opposition.

And it wouldn’t take a search of the English ranks; (currently the craziest English name is Rio) all they need to do is steal players from other countries.

Might I suggest Netherlands forward Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink? Or perhaps Ivory Coast striker Aruna Dindane? Or the American Brian Wolff?

With players like these England (or indeed any team) could never lose. Then again one Brazilian striker scored at a rate of one goal every three minutes. His name? Fred.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Ali vs George

Thank you Russell. Thank you thank you thank you.

Here is the video replay I’ve waited for ever since I saw it last Saturday. It’s All Black lock, Ali Williams, dumping Australian captain George Gregan on his arse during Saturday’s test match. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Good Morning!

It is SO early that I wrote "Good Maronming" at first attempt.

It is also a mere 36 (or so) hours before Craftwerk.

I'm going along as moral support for my partner. Her stuff (bags, belts, brooches, etc) is awesome and I suggest you buy something from her. Also check out Mary's Cherub Hearts, Mike's Photos and Martha's Clothes for Kids.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Haka, Tu Meke!

Before American Football games, the whole team (roughly 50 guys) all huddle together around the team’s spiritual leader. This player leads the team in chants and gets the team psyched up and ready to go out and SMASH THE OTHER GUYS INTO THE GROUND!!!

Before All Black matches the team gathers around a spiritual leader who leads the team in a chant. A challenge called a haka. This is a sign of respect to the team’s opposition. But more than that it gets the team psyched up and ready to go out and SMASH THE OTHER GUYS INTO THE GROUND!!!

There is nothing in the rules that says the other team has to stand and watch. In fact teams in the past have walked away, kicked a ball around or just huddled together and not looked. Other teams have responded to the challenge such as linking arms and walking towards the haka. Irish captain Brian O’Driscoll famously picked some grass and threw it in the air, which he was advised to do by a kaumatua (then O’Driscoll was unfortunately smashed into the ground). Displays like this are not necessary but are extremely respectful to the All Blacks.

There is also no rule that says other teams can’t have their own team psyche-up session. This could be getting in a huddle, doing their own challenge (like the other pacific nations do) or singing a national song. The Australians sing Waltzing Matilda after the All Blacks do the haka; New Zealand has never complained about this, only wondered how that particular song could pump-up a team.

The haka is also an intimidation tactic. However, its effect is debatable. Here is what Australian Hooker Jeremy Paul said about Saturday’s haka.

"It's great. . . it's unique and something that's good for the game," Paul admitted there was far more to worry about than the final gesture in the haka.

"I'm more scared of (All Blacks flanker) Jerry Collins' forearm than I am of that."

Then we come to the idiots…
“The throat slitting motion at the end of the haka is a death threat. If I see it again I will step down [as vice-president and treasurer of the Featherston Rugby Club] and file a report with the police for threatening to kill”
This person is actually serious, at least serious enough to tell the story to the paper yesterday. I can’t understand how people can think this. As has been pointed out in the comments here at The Hammer, the gesture is meant to drawn across the chest not the throat and symbolises the drawing of breath into the lungs before battle (although it has to be said that when it was first performed the gesture was said to be representing “the cutting edge of sport”). Personally I put most of it down to theatrics, especially Piri Weepu.

To the detractors: get over it. I have had a flurry of hits to the blog over the weekend as people from, literally, all over the rugby watching world searched the internet for “Kapa O Pango video”. People want to see it. Sport may be honourable and great but it is also supposed to be exciting and spectacular (for the most part). The haka helps that a good way.

Oh you want to Saturday’s one?

(just take note: it contains Australian commentary)


In other sports-related topics…

America (and possibly Canada) is the last bastion of the word soccer. The entire rest of the world uses the term “football”, soccer being derived merely from the word “association”. America will never change its ways as long as American Football exists so I don’t think anyone minds too much.

The New Zealand Football Association and its new Football Championship might be a little annoyed though at every media agency in the country referring to the sport as “Soccer”.

How hard is it? Mike McRoberts on TV3 couldn’t even pronounce “Zidane” correctly.

Speaking of which, Zinedine Zidane has been named the player of the tournament for the FIFA World Cup. Despite head-butting Materazzi. Various lip readers have come up with suggestions as to what Materazzi could have said.
An Italian lip-reader told the BBC that Materazzi said: "I wish an ugly death to
you and all your family." Zidane is thought to have just received news that his
mother is in ailing health. According to the lip-reader, Materazzi then said:
"Go f*** yourself."

A Brazilian television channel, Globo, quoted
lip-readers as saying the Italian defender called Zidane's sister a "whore".
This, however, only makes sense if Zidane spoke decent Italian.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Dropkicks Return

Here is a brand spanking new podcast for you.

The Dropkicks – Week 18 (Trinations) (right click, save target as…)

Sadly due to a technical hitch (Mike leaving for Sydney) we are without music for this week. It's also late, but what else is new?

But what we do have is the Dropkicks take on the Football World Cup, sports news, Dick of the Month, Athlete of the Week, and a little pre-Trinations* rugby commentary (in our usual style).

Enjoy and then tell your friends how awesome we are.

*At least it would have been if I was faster.

Playing Footise

I got an email on Friday. The subject line said “Watching the footy?”

I replied that I was intending to go down to Scopa on Cuba St for both the 3rd place game and the final. The email returned with the subject line changed: footy = rugby.

Isn’t amazing how your vocabulary, forged over many years, can be changed over a single month? Football might not be such a misnomer for rugby anymore. The recent style of play by the All Blacks includes kicking more often than they used to, even two years ago, often to the dismay of the supporters.

So we went around to Che’s for the rugby, but I’ll talk about that later. First the socc…just kidding, football.

I made good on my intent and went to the Italian café Scopa for the Germany/Portugal game on Sunday morning. All was well (coffee and food both excellent) and the place even had a few Germans in it (including a cute-without-being-annoying 3yr old one). Somehow Scopa attracts Europeans; the place was full of French and Spaniards during that game. But it wouldn’t be football with hooligans.

About half way through the first period a group of three guys came in. All very drunk, two of them talking loudly in basic French. They sat next to us and one of the “Frenchmen” shook my hand to say hello. They were fairly loud and a little annoying as they kept cheering the French (who weren’t playing) using the same phrases over and over (France will win the World Cup, Vive le France, Vive les François etc etc), which made me believe they weren’t actually French themselves.

However, the only kiwi in the group was getting angrier and angrier and swearing a lot, which in a small place at 7am is very out of place. Then the threats began. The kiwi guy started spouting about how the other guy “wasn’t respecting him” and how “outside this restaurant you said you were going to kill me” and then, “I will f***ing paralyse you, you f***ing c***!” At this point the guy from Scopa stepped in and ushered them out, to be honest it came about 30mins too late.

It was one of those weird situations where it wasn’t my place so I couldn’t ask them to leave myself and I felt weird (and slightly threatened) to ask them to keep quiet.

The kiwi guy and the quiet one left and the other guy, who was actually just jovial and not threatening, sat quietly for a while before slipping out.

It was quite a contrast to the game which was full of stunning football and some marvellous acting.

I like Portugal. They were very nice to us when we went over in 2000 (that was the year Figo lost World Player of the Year to Zidane which was broadcast live around the country while we were there). But the way they were playing was terrible. They play a style similar to Italy and Argentina which, it has to be said, involves a LOT of diving!

Christiano Ronaldo is a brilliant player but his dives were as amazing as a Hong Kong kung-fu film. It didn’t help his cause any that (again) whenever he had the ball the stadium was filled with boos.

This game however belonged to the Germans. Their goals were superb and their play was exciting. The Portuguese’s only goal was pretty bloody good too. But Germany is the third best team in 2006, winning 3-1. PS. for some amazing football videos may I suggest Nike Football.

I would have returned to Scopa today to watch the final; however, there were circumstances beyond my control. Someone had to go to Sydney for business and couldn’t edit a certain podcast, so I had to do it. Which I didn’t mind, but it meant I had to stay up until late and couldn’t be bothered getting up at 4am to get into town by 5am to get a seat.

So I watched it under a blanket on the couch at home. Ate home-made scrambled eggs and drank Karajoz coffee (thanks to the recent Great Blend). I missed the first 10mins of the match as I was trying to upload the previously mentioned podcast (rightclick, save target as...) and then I had to wake up Amy at 6.20am. These small times away from the TV meant I managed to miss the only two goals scored in the match.

The Italians ruled the first half, the French controlled the second. Italy were lucky not to concede another penalty when Maloude went down in the box (tee hee) but that just made up for the one he did get that was clearly not a foul. Then, when the French were on a roll, Zinedine Zidane head butted Marco Materazzi in the chest and was sent off.

[UPDATE: The King of Hate stopped by and mentioned that he had photos and a video of the incident on his blog. Cheers]

We may never know why he did it, but Materazzi must have said something pretty bad to piss off Zizou that badly. But here is the real question: did Zidane’s red card actually affect the outcome of the game?

I do not believe that it did. After he left the pitch the French were still attacking and indeed almost scored on one occasion. The game came down to a penalty shootout (as you probably all know) and Trezeguet missed his shot giving Italy the win.

Trezeguet was brought on to replace Henry (who was limping) well before Zidane was sent off. Who knows what impact Zidane would have made in those last few minutes but he sure as heck wouldn’t be taking the kick for Trezeguet and so France still would’ve lost the penalty shootout and Italy would still be world champs.

As a side note: France and England are the only teams to have won the World Cup only once. All other winners of the cup have won it at least twice.

Away from Football now and on to the real man’s game: Footy. So manly is rugby that you can just piss right on to the field.

A lot is being made of what Jerry Collins did (urinate on the field before the start of the game if you didn’t know already), but not much is being made of WHERE he did it. Like where did he do it?! If I was a player I would hope he went to the sideline because no body wants to be at the bottom of a ruck right where Jerry relieved himself. Also he clearly didn’t wash his hands.

Bathroom stops are a funny area for professional athletes. Paula Radcliffe stopped for a quick emergency toilet break on her way to winning the London Marathon and really if you have to go in the middle of an event, where do you go? There was great article on this subject in the NFL a year or so ago. It contained the memorable line “it’s hard enough to tackle a 200lb running back, it’s even harder when he is wearing urine soaked trousers.”


To go one step further, Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck has a great story about a game he played in which his Centre (the guy who snaps the ball to the QB) had severe intestinal trouble. Basically the guy filled his trousers just as Matt walked up to stand behind him. With no time available, Matt just called the play and threw the ball away as fast as he could. The Centre waddled off.

Friday, July 07, 2006

What's with that?

When we wanted to send people into space to see the view we just combined a bunch of metal, plastic and circuits together, and hey presto! we were in space, supporting the lives of 7 people in the most hostile environment within man’s reach. When we wanted a hot pie from frozen in minutes we just combined a bunch of metal, plastic, and circuits, and hey presto! a minute later we was chowing down on a tasty, nutritious gravy bucket.

We are constantly pushing the boundaries of technology and physics. We can transport several tonnes of freight and humans across thousands of miles of ocean to bring millions of people together simply by combining a bunch of metal, plastic, and circuits.

But poor old North Korea can’t transport several tonnes of nuclear material in the form of a bomb, across several thousand miles of ocean to tear millions of people apart.

What’s with that?

What the hell are they 'testing'? Heck, with no money and just a bit of paper, I can build a dart that flies across the room and drops my latest report on my boss's desk, all in one. Its all a bit fishy to me.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Spice Girl [User Created Content #1]

I received my first response to my user created content idea.

Wanda…no, wait Martha wrote me a short post summing up England’s heart-breaking loss to Portugal in the World Cup Quarterfinals. Martha is one of the (exclusive) Wellingtonista crew. She’s in our Lower Hutt Posse.

Martha also organises the regular Stitch and Bitch sessions in Petone.

She writes:

Hey Hadyn,

I've put heaps of thought into this, so you'd better love it.
And I do. Especially the use of the word “Dude” which I use with alarming regularity in real life.

Here it is:

Then like this sporty guy who is married to a Spice Girl, totally like quit! Dude. It was awesome. And kind of sad. But mainly awesome.

Want to put up a post on the Hammer? Send your post and any pics to grabtharsblog[at]gmail[dot]com (you know what to do with the square brackets).

User Created Content

Kia ora everyone

As Dom pointed out, I’ve just started a new job and as such my blogging will be few and far between until I can figure out whether they mind or not. Compounding this issue is the rather annoying fact that my computer is broken. Again. After I just paid money to have it fixed for the same problem!

How annoying was it? I damn near took an axe to the stupid grey box.

Anyway I thought I’d try a little community experiment.

If you read my blog you must have a basic idea of how I write and what I write about. So if you send me a blog post (that isn’t spam) written in my style (whatever the hell that is) I’ll put it up with a little blurb about who you are etc links to your blog/website etc.

So rant about sport, wax lyrical about world events, call people f*ckt*rds, or just take the piss. I want content.

Send your post and any pics to grabtharsblog[at]gmail[dot]com (you know what to do with the square brackets).

Monday, July 03, 2006

God is a goalkeeper

Hadyn is busy with a new job and stuff, so I’ve decided to step in for my bi-yearly post and fill the chasm in his absence.

Well the only thing I’ve been paying attention to lately is the world cup. Shockingly early mornings that turn into rather later arrivals at work and laughable productivity have led many to question the public broadcast of such a tournament.

Due to the sun, the size of the earth, rotation, etc, we antipodeans have been forced to watch the much anticipated football matches in the, now official, “ungodly hours”. Its been tough, for with even God abandoning these hours, its very cold, and uninviting. If they play football in heaven, they certainly don’t play it at two o’clock in the bloody morning. Yet most mornings this month has seen me huddling round an electric heater which appears to have been based around the idea that a 2 watt light bulb gives off sufficient warmth to heat an entire room. Alas no. Still I have a blanket, thermals, hot water bottle, another blanket, slippers, socks, a scarf, mittens and woolly hat. So there I am, 2:00am on a Wednesday morning. “Come world cup, come world elite players, I have toiled hard and waited long. Play for me!” I announce. The thumping of my flatmate’s fist on the wall puts an end to any more announcements. I am bathed in the ghostly glow of the television set. Some pommie bugger talks to himself (but to all the English speaking world at the same time, amazing) for 90 minutes. In those 5400 seconds, I experience the full spectrum of my emotions. Anger (he dived or “simulated”), intense anger (the bastard gets up and keeps playing as if nothing has happened), joy (the cameraman has picked out a particularly comely South American lass), frustration (the cameraman has turned back to the game), mirth (the portly Spain coach is banished to his bench), mouth open awe (Maxi Rodriguez’ score against Mexico), impressed clapping (Spain’s thrashing of Ukraine), shocking boredom (Switzerland vs Ukraine), anger (diving bastard has returned), and sadness (a penalty shootout – surely the worst way to decide the result of a football match). I stumble back to bed, spent, at about 4am-430am to get up again for the 7am match. The same emotional rollercoaster is repeated. At 9:00am or sometimes later I begin my wander down to work. On the way I swap knowing glances with others who emerge to face the near midmorning sun. We share a now common appearance. Pasty white faces, sunken eyes, poor grooming, but with a fire, burning inside us. For we have witnessed something special. A game as beautiful and simple as its name. The world cup comes but once every four years. Health, wellbeing, employment. These can all take a back seat.

I, for one, shall never question the public broadcast of the world cup, and indeed will forever celebrate it. I reckon if I survive this final week and a half then I will probably live till about 80 years of age. I can squeeze in another 13.7 world cups. Which means I’ll probably die at about this time during World cup 2054 in Iraq. What a way to go.

The dropkicks are back this week or early next. Watch out for us and our world cup special. Boomzing!