}

Monday, August 20, 2018

Time lapse

We all lose track of time every now and then, whether because we’re busy or because we’re having fun. When we’re “lost in the moment” doing something we enjoy, that’s a good thing. When we’re just busy, it can be startling, though not necessarily bad. But what happens when for unknown reasons time just disappears? Today I found out.

I had a periodontist appointment at Noon today, one I was especially dreading after the debacle of the check up the end of July. I wasn’t dreading it just because of cost, though that’s a thing, but, instead, that this is a never-ending story.

Still, I was looking for ways to make something more positive out of it, so I thought about making trips to a couple stores on the North Shore, and I thought that if I left the house by 9:30am or so I’d have plenty of time (I like to allow an hour and half to get to the North Shore in case traffic is extra congested because of the never-to-end (or so it seems) road construction, an accident/breakdown, etc.).

However, last night I decided I wouldn’t do that, and instead I’d just go to my appointment and then stop at a nearby grocery store before hopping on the motorway and going home. I re-calculated and thought originally that I’d leave at 10am, realised that was too early, but instead of going to 10:30 as I should have, my mind didn’t fully register any time at all. And that’s where it gets really odd.

This morning I had in my head that I should leave by 11:30am, and for some reason it never occurred to me that would only allow me 30 minutes to get to my appointment (the fastest I’ve ever made the trip is 55 minutes). So, I carried on with my morning, had my breakfast at 10:30, did an extensive teeth cleaning (as I always do before an appointment), showered, dressed—and by then it was coming up on 11:30.

I took care of a few last minute chores, and got ready to leave. I headed out the door, saw it was 11:37, and thought to my self, “that’s not too bad”, and then for no apparent reason, reality suddenly hit me. With a sort of “wait, what?!” kind of thought, I pulled the sleeve on my jacket back so I could see my watch face at saw “…1:38”, which was enough to register: I’d given myself 15 minutes to drive an hour’s travel time.

I was in shock, but immediately rang the office to cancel the appointment and to apologise profusely. After that, I took my embarrassment and disbelief and sat down to try to figure out what the hell had happened. I still have no idea.

My first thought is that maybe I just had too much going on in my head. My mother-in-law is coming on Wednesday to stay with us and I want to get a couple projects done before then, and, of course, to make the house as nearly perfect as possible. So, that’s been on my mind, as have a couple “big ticket” house-related expenses we have coming up, and, of course, the dental dramas. If all that wasn’t enough, I’ve been trying to figure out what to do to observe my birthday next year, since it’s a rather significant one. Oh, and, of course, all sorts of projects around the house I (still) need to finish.

So, I had a lot on my mind. Could that be all it was? Was it just that I had too many circuits busy to have any capacity even to plan my travel time properly?

Amid the initial shock of having so totally screwed up my timing, I thought that maybe this was memory related, or, worse, a sign of a serious memory problem. There was a brief panic as I considered that possibility.

I have no certain explanation for what happened, though I think the “circuits busy” explanation is at least as good as any other, maybe better. In the future, I know that I’ll double and triple check my travel time so there’s no repeat of this mortifying experience. Just another thing to add to my list of things to do.

Nuclear scrambled eggs

Last month I blogged about an unexpected power outage, and mentioned in passing that I “made myself some scrambled eggs in the microwave”, the relevance of which was that the power went out shortly afterward. It turned out, that small point wasn’t as beside the point as I thought, and I realised it’s a good idea to share my modern magic.

In a comment to that post, Roger Green said:
You make scrambled eggs in a microwave? I have NEVER done that – wouldn't know how to – and I've been making them for at least 5.5 decades.
Today is your lucky day, Roger! (and anyone else who hasn’t done it). This is how I make scrambled eggs in the microwave.

You will need:
  • Eggs (eggs in New Zealand are almost always brown)
  • Something to shake them up in
  • A microwave safe bowl
  • A fork (not pictured above)
The important thing to note is that time matters: Too much microwaving and your eggs will be rubbery; too little, and they’ll be partly raw. Stirring is also important.

Take your eggs and crack them into something you can shake them up in (I used an old jam container with a tight-fitting lid). Add some water (not milk), put the lid on tightly, and shake vigorously to mix thoroughly. Pour into a microwave safe bowl and place in the microwave.

The amount of time you’ll need will depend on the power of your microwave, the number of eggs, even if they’re from the fridge or at room temperature. For this example, I’m using a 1000 watt microwave and two refrigerated eggs, and the high power setting. Some people microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each go.

Nuke the egg mixture for about a minute (unless you're using the 30 second burst method), then remove from the microwave and stir with a fork:

The eggs after one minute in the microwave.
Put the stirred mixture back in the microwave. I nuke for about 50 seconds more, though you can adjust this up or down to fit your tastes, etc. (as above). It looks really puffy when you open the microwave door, and then settles down rapidly:

Stir/chop-up the eggs with a fork. If you’re by yourself, eat out of the bowl. If not, or you're particularly civilised, then put on a plate.

Fluffy eggs at the end (left) collapse when you take them out of the microwave (right).
There are two main advantages to making eggs in a microwave. First, it’s fast. My two eggs take less time start to finish than it usually takes to toast bread. Second, it uses no added fat, unlike conventional scrambled eggs made on a stovetop. But, like I said, timing is important to avoid the eggs becoming rubbery, and that will take trial and, yes, error.

The eggs can be doctored: I often add some dried mixed herbs before I nuke the egg mixture, and even some grated cheese (all of which can also be added afterward). Usually, though, I add nothing except some (low sodium) salt and pepper. However, I’d advise against adding raw vegetables (like onion, green onion) because they may not be cooked through. Best to nuke them separately and add them to your egg mixture. Tomato is probably okay to add before nuking, though.

Scrambled eggs are only one thing I make in the microwave, but they’re what I make the most often. Easy, fast, no added fat—what more could I ask?

The plated scrambled eggs, with no garnish or anything. I like them firmer, which is why time matters.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Weekend Diversion: Fonts of knowledge


Last week I was too busy with work to put together a Weekend Diversion post. So this week I thought it would be appropriate to share things from my work world: This is all about fonts.

The video above from Vox tells us “Why the Wingdings font exists”. It’s always interesting to learn the origins of a font, and that font is often looked down on. However, I’ve often found it useful to adapt for graphics, including some I’ve used on this blog (Sh! That’s our secret!).

However, the video above was originally for a post I began on March 14, 2016, though it was just the links. I have no idea why I never finished it, or even what I intended to say about it. Better late than never, right? Actually, this is a bit like last month’s “Internet wading: Lost and found”, where I also shared things I’d somehow missed sharing.

A few months after the video above, Vox published a video “Where the ‘comic book font’ came from”:


I bet Roger Green has already seen this video, but I didn’t until I checked out the Wingdings video, and it was listed on YouTube at the right side of my screen. I found this interesting all in itself because I’m always interested in the evolution of publishing and of fonts.

But another thing I found interesting about it is how the font we know today originated as hand-written (by “letterers”), something I knew, as well as that the modern computer fonts are intended to mimic handwritten lettering. When I was much younger, I used to hand letter stuff all the time, often coming up with hard to read decorative lettering that I never actually used for anything other than my own amusement. Years later, I occasionally used hand lettering to make greeting cards for people, but only for fun. I have no formal training in lettering, or art, for that matter, and I never made any attempt to get “good” at hand lettering. But I really admire people who did and have.

Finally—since I always share at least three videos—a video I ran across recently. It’s from a series of videos called “Beginning Graphic Design” and is on typography. It discusses all the basic concepts I used on every project, and may even hint at why I like typography so much:


That’s it for this tiptoe through typography, but it’s not the first time I’ve talked about type. In fact, it was in a Weekend Diversion post back in 2014: “Weekend Diversion: The History of Typography”. That post talks even more about the background to the topic of typography and fonts.

Maybe I’ll make a Weekend Diversion post in advance for the next time I’m busy with work. Here’s another secret: I’ve done that in the past. That’s kind of remarkable, really, because I’m not really the—ahem!—type who manages to do that most of the time.

Five years of NZ marriage equality


Five years ago today, on 19 August 2013, New Zealand's marriage equality law took effect, and same gender couples were legally allowed to marry. It was an important day for New Zealand. The video above was posted on Facebook by Rainbow Labour in celebration of the day.

As always happens, New Zealand has moved on. I’m sure we have some religious extremists who fantasise about repealing the law and ending marriage equality, but it will never happen. New Zealand has a long history of fighting tooth and nail over an issue, but once it’s decided, the entire country moves on. It’s always been that way, and even our adversaries in that battle—apart from the most lunatic of the extremists—are well aware of that fact. I mention that because it’s by no means certain marriage equality is safe in my native land; in fact, it’s very vulnerable.

So, congratulations New Zealand—and happy anniversary!

Previously:
“Equality arrives” – My post from 19 August 2013
“How the day went” – My post about the day
“What that day meant for me” – My personal reflection on the day
“Husband and husband” – The day we were married

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Another date meme

The meme above was all over social media this past week. It’s cute and clever enough—and irrelevant for this part of the world. Unusually, however, I was able to come up with some ways to adapt it for our reality—and, make it better, too.

Most of the special dates like this that the USA gets all excited about don’t work here because our date format is Day-Month-Year (as opposed to the USA’s Monday-Day-Year). The format used in New Zealand is common to the majority of the world’s countries, and the USA’s, well, it isn’t. However, the USA has always dominated the Internet and the media, so it’s pet memes are widely spread.

However, in this case I think this definitely works to our advantage. Instead of the someone awkward—and frankly inelegant—number sequences of 08/18/18 8:18, we have two far better alternatives.

First option: 18-08-18 at 18:08:18 (6:08:18 pm). That’s the one I personally like. Or, we could have 18-08-18 at 08:18:08 (8:18:08 am). Two chances in one day to have a date meme—top THAT USA!

Seriously, I’ve said many times that I like number sequences, and these are no different—and I really do like the versions for our part of the world much better than the USA’s. Naturally, I didn’t actually observe either.

I think I was awake at 8:18:08 am this morning, but I may not have gotten up then (I don’t pay any attention to that on weekends). At 6:08:18 pm I was watching the TV news. At neither time was I thinking about memes.

But since tomorrow is the 18th in the USA, it’s still important to get to say that—for once—we got the better date meme. Next time, maybe I’ll be able to make my own meme, too.

Advertising NZ diversity

New Zealand’s banking sector has been making great strides in promoting diversity in their business, and one of the areas that’s most visible is in their television advertising. In fact, TV advertising in general is more inclusive in New Zealand than many other countries, and that, too, is especially true in bank ads.

The ads that banks run are typical of much of the advertising on New Zealand television: The ads depict people of many different backgrounds, including different cultures, different races, mixed races, and LGBT+ people. This is a relatively recent change, and very subtle.

I’ve only seen TV ads in New Zealand for the couple decades I’ve lived here, so I don’t know what was on before that. And, when I first arrived, many of the ads were originally for the UK, USA, or Australia. The ads made for New Zealand have reflected both Māori and European people, with Pasfika people featuring, too. But it’s recent years we’ve seen immigrants included, and LGBT+ people, too. Again, banks are leading the way.

Consider an ad from last year, “Bank of New Zealanders” from the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ), New Zealand’s second-largest bank by assets:



The ad shows varieties of different New Zealanders, and at 24 seconds we see woman look at her phone and then run out of a lecture hall. What that’s about becomes clear at 43 seconds. The first time I saw the ad was literally a, “Wait, what?!” moment because, to be honest, I don’t usually pay that much attention to ads until I see something that I personally connect with.

Last month, ASB, New Zealand’s fourth largest bank by assets, began running a very unusual series of ads, especially the 60 second version:



The 30-second version is a little less odd:



There's one scene that stood out for me, and those people were in one of several 15-second versions of the ad:



I haven’t seen that particular 15-second version, and I also don’t know whether it’s been broadcast on TV or not. In fact, the only 15-second version I remember seeing is a severely cut down version of the first three—and it doesn’t include the couple that caught my attention [WATCH].

These ads aren’t particularly unique, but they are ads that are on television right now (apart, maybe, from the 15-second one I’ve included in this post). Also, all NZ's biggest banks have included diversity in their advertising; they’re just not running ads that include LGBT+ people at the moment.

The important thing about this is that the ads in this post are representative of how diversity is shown in TV ads in New Zealand, regardless of industry. At the same time, though, what makes these ads particularly notable is that they’re from banks, which traditionally are slow-to-change businesses. If banks can adapt to the diversity of modern New Zealand, it’s no surprise that other industries do, too.

New Zealand is not perfect by any stretch: We still have people who complain about diversity, or just particular groups. As a society, we have a long way to go. But the fact that diversity is being shown in even bank ads shows how far we’ve come in embracing our modern New Zealand. And that’s definitely worth advertising.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Aretha

Today the “Queen of Soul”, Aretha Franklin, died. One of those rare people who are can be talked about using only one name, Aretha was loved by generations of fans. She will be missed, but she also left a huge legacy.

I thought about what to say, since I usually comment on the death of someone well known, but I don’t have any relevant personal stories. Also, I wasn’t exactly a fan, even though I liked a lot of her songs. When I was a kid, living in a middle class white Republican bubble, I even kind of disliked her because I perceived her as being a Democrat. I grew up and everything changed, and my appreciation for her grew, too. I learned what an important symbol and inspiration she had been for so many [Related: “In Franklin’s anthems, women heard an empowering message” By Jocelyn Noveck, AP]. That in itself matters a lot.

All of the people who loved her and her music would be far better than me in commenting on Aretha’s death. Like President Obama, for example, who said this on his Facebook Page:
America has no royalty. But we do have a chance to earn something more enduring. Born in Memphis and raised in Detroit, Aretha Franklin grew up performing gospel songs in her father’s congregation. For more than six decades since, every time she sang, we were all graced with a glimpse of the divine. Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human. And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance.

Aretha may have passed on to a better place, but the gift of her music remains to inspire us all. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace. Michelle and I send our prayers and warmest sympathies to her family and all those moved by her song.
I’m sorry that Aretha has died, and even though we all knew it was imminent, it’s no less sad. But she left us with a huge legacy, so many great songs. That’s such a great thing, something we can return to anytime we want. That’s the thing about beloved performers. They may leave us bodily, but their work will always be with is, and because of that, so are they.

Farewell, Aretha. You earned that Respect.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Animal day


Today was an animal day. Well, most days are, actually, because they often do things that are endearing, interesting, funny—on just filled with life. Any or all of those are good.

Last week, I ordered our groceries online, but this week I shopped in person, and at a branch I don’t normally go to. But it was necessary because the furbabies needed food, too, and there’s only one place I can get that.

I buy their food at a pet store chain, and they have locations in both Pukekohe, where I usually go (and prefer to go), and also in Takanini. However, Bella’s specialty food is only sold from a vet, and only the Takanini store has a vet. So, I had to go to Takanini.

It’s actually a very annoying thing: The food Bella eats is designed for her kidney condition, but there’s no drugs or restricted substances or anything like that in it, so there’s no reason it can’t be sold literally anywhere pet food is sold. By restricting sales to a vet, it creates artificial scarcity, which keeps the price artificially high—very high, in fact. I could order the dog food online, but not the cat food—that vet thing again.

So, I had no choice but to go to Takanini. I’ve written before about the area and why I don’t like it as much as Pukekohe. In fact, there are only two stores in Takanini that aren’t in Pukekohe (a Bunnings Warehouse and the pet store with the vet), so I rarely need to go to Takanini.

I got home slightly before school let out, unpacked the car and put the groceries away, and gave Leo his new (synthetic) bone I’d also bought. He absolutely loves chewing the old one we have, one I originally bought for Jake many, many years ago. I bought the new one because every once in awhile Sunny chews on it, and Leo doesn’t like that. Another reason is that we bought the old bone when Jake had nearly chewed up his original one. I think we waited too long, and Jake never really “took” to the new bone. I thought maybe having two on the go at once might make both those things better. Maybe.

I even played with the dogs this afternoon, so when Nigel got home late afternoon, they—Leo and Sunny in particular—were still riled up. Leo had Sunny chase him around the yard at breakneck speed, which Nigel enjoyed watching. It’s nice to see them play together like that.

All four furbabies get along well, actually, although Bella can sometimes get a bit grumpy these days. She really is getting older.

And that was my animal day: Most of what I did was because I needed to go to a store I don’t normally go to, and that was for Bella in particular. It turned out to be a good day. The furbabies always make it a good day, actually.

Love, New Zealand Film – and more


The video above is an ad promoting what some of the money spent on New Zealand’s Lottery goes to. The video above is about the films that have received NZ Lottery money, but there’s more—a lot more—to the story.

There are several ads that promote different things that NZ Lottery money funds. All of the profits—the money left over after expenses and, of course, paying out prizes—goes back to fund things for the benefit of New Zealand. Film and television production is one of those things (and, full disclosure: I haven’t seen all the films in the ad, and I don’t even know what some of them are).

A related video series called “Good On You” talked in more detail about things Lotto helps fund, though they weren’t ads as such. For example, the latest one, about funding for various projects that help Kiwi communities:



Last year the TV ad that was running was about funding for community sport, and that ad used a different approach than the ad about film funding:



When the ad about New Zealand film first started airing, I meant to share it, and then forgot—probably because it stopped playing frequently on television. It recently began airing again, and when I went to the Lotto New Zealand YouTube Channel to get the video, I saw the others, and, well, one thing leads to another, doesn’t it?

There are people who don’t approve of Lotto because it’s a form of gambling. It’s not about moral objections (though we have a tiny minority who do object on those grounds), but, rather, because some people can develop gambling problems. Lotteries promote what I’ve heard called “unreasonable expectations” because most people won’t win the big prize. While most of us would think that fact was obvious, there are some who worry a lot about those who don’t understand the long odds.

There’s an old saying that one should never gamble more than they can afford to lose. Most us, though by no means all, can afford a little flutter on Lotto. For most of us who play, Lotto is just a bit of fun, a small investment in a fantasy of what we might do if we did win, even though we know we won’t. But, what if we DO!

And, because people do play Lotto, there’s money available to be distributed to communities and creative efforts all across New Zealand. And they’ve made some pretty great ads along the way, too.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Twitter’s twilight?

Twitter seems to be lurching from one public relations disaster to another, but growing tired of shooting itself in the foot, it now seems to be aiming squarely at its own head. The service may now be in terminal decline.

Twitter used to be my favourite social media service, something I frequently mentioned here on this blog. There used to be all sorts of interesting conversations, along with silliness and even useful information. It was, in other words, varied and even eclectic, but positive overall. Those days are over.

I don’t when Twitter started turning into the toxic sewer it’s become, but I really noticed it in the run up to the 2016 US elections when there were so many people being so horrible—or, so it seemed. It turned out that the toxicity was coming from Russian government trolls and bots trying to sow hatred and division to make it easier to elect the Russian government’s chosen candidate, the Republican nominee who ended up become president.

Even after we learned about the extent of the Russian interference, Twitter didn’t change. Like a well that’s been poisoned, it was very difficult, even impossible, to make Twitter safe again. It’s never recovered, and the anger, bitterness, and aggression, from the Right and the Left alike—has continued apace.

To be sure, Twitter had problems long before 2016, and people were horrible to other people before then, too. In 2014, for example, Green Party supporters in that year’s New Zealand elections were horrible to Labour Party supporters, who all too often returned the favour. And Twitter constantly resisted any and all efforts to get them to take responsibility for harassment and bullying carried out on their platform, and, more recently, their slowness to deal with hate speech.

But now their downfall may be coming because of something that is both surprising and not at the same time: Twitter’s staunch refusal to ban the insane conspiracy freak who was booted off of Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, and even Disqus (the commenting service I use for this blog). This is surprising because, to be blunt, that guy ain’t worth it. It’s not surprising, however, given Twitter’s laziness about dealing with hate speech and also harassment: The lunatic has been victimising the parents of the children murdered at Sandy Hook, but that’s apparently acceptable to Twitter.

The other reason that Twitter defends the lunatic is that they have been the constant target of rightwing activists who moan and complain, as the always do, and claim they’re “victims”, as they always do, because, as they always claim, they’re being “discriminated against” because they’re conservative. Yawn.

In response, particularly in the wake of the rightwing’s latest rage over imaginary demons, the fake “Twitter ban” controversy, Twitter is reportedly mounting a “charm offensive” to win over rightwing opinion leaders. They can’t woo rightwingers and ban the lunatic at the same time.

What is a good and decent person to do? Activist Shannon Coulter came up with a creative response: A mass blocking of all Fortune 500 corporations active on Twitter—in other words, reduce Twitter’s ad revenue:


The way it works is that Twitter users subscribe to Shannon’s list of accounts, all of which are blocked. Then, if Twitter bans the lunatic, all the account will be automatically unblocked. Simple. But I have a feeling this is the last stand before mainstream Twitter users start leaving the service.

The problem here is that if Twitter abruptly reverses itself and bans the lunatic, the Right will explode in fury, as they always do, and even those who despise the antics of the lunatic will nevertheless express outrage and declare that Twitter has “proven” their pet conspiracy theory, namely, that Twitter “hates” conservatives. Yawn.

On the other hand, if they don’t act, mainstream users—and especially anyone even slightly Left of Centre—will conclude that Twitter values rightwingers—even lunatic rightwingers—more than mainstream people. They’ll vote with their keyboarding fingers and leave the service.

So, no matter what they do, Twitter will lose users and the ad revenue those lost users represent. If they don’t ban the lunatic, they’ll be seen as having no integrity and/or courage. If they do, they’ll be accused of—well, lots of stuff, most of it unhinged, as always. This has the makings of a death spiral for Twitter.

Facebook, meanwhile, is facing its own share of harsh criticism. The main thing saving them is that they’re not AS bad as Twitter, but they’re also slow and reluctant about dealing with problems, so they could get themselves into similar problems—IF there is a replacement for Facebook. The lack of an alternative is probably the main thing that’s saving them at the moment.

For the first time since the social media age began, it’s possible to imagine it ending. People like the social interaction with friends, and if a service came along that figured out how to cater for that without repeating the mistakes of Twitter and Facebook, it could become the next king. Or, people might just move on. If that seems impossible, then just think back to the time before social media: We managed then, so we can manage again. Maybe.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

In support of our teachers


Tomorrow, New Zealand’s primary and intermediate teachers are going out on strike for the first time in 24 years. They are seeking greater pay rises than the Ministry of Education has proposed, as well as more non-teaching time to reduce burnout. They’re worth every cent they’re asking for—that’s not in dispute. The question, as always, is where will the money come from?

The video above from the NZEI, the teachers’ union, puts the current reality for teachers into sharp focus: Fewer people are training to become teachers, which will inevitably lead to shortages of New Zealand-born and trained teachers—especially when we factor in the teachers leaving the profession due to low pay.

The government says it has no more money this budget year, but they promise to make progress on making up for nine years of neglect under the previous National Party-led government. I have no doubt they will. But in the meantime, our education sector remains in crisis.

I’m a strong backer of unions—I was in one for a time, after all. However, this is the second high profile strike after nurses went on strike last month. Those are two areas that National cut funding for when it was in government (a fact they continue to deny, using weasel words to explain away the falling funding brought about by moving shells around). However, there’s something that really bothers me: Why NOW?

National was in power for nine years and they cut finding for both education and nurses, yet the unions didn’t strike. Why not? It was probably reasonable to fear retaliation, but had they gone on strike then, they may have been able to prevent some of the damage the National government’s underfunding caused.

By striking now, so early in the Labour Party-led government, they help reinforce the news media pundits’ narrative of the new government being incompetent and unable to govern. Had they waited as much as a year, of course, it would have already been in the run-up to the next election, and that would be worse.

So, my complaint is really just why didn’t they strike under National when it could have helped prevent so much damage?

Nevertheless, as I said, they deserve every cent they’re asking for—and far more. I hope they get what they want, and soon. But I also hope they don’t damage the government too much in the process, because the harsh reality is that they’ll do far better under a Labour-led government than under one run by National—although, Labour does have to prove that. I hope they do prove it.

The video above screened on TV tonight; I don’t know if it was a one-off or part of a larger campaign. But I think it’s very effective and deserves to be seen.

An unusual week that was

There have been many times I’ve mentioned being busy, so that’s not an unusual thing. It’s also not unusual to be swamped with work or projects around the house. This week it was all of that, plus one more: We went out three nights this past week. That combination was very unusual—but nice.

On Monday night, Nigel and I went to a screening of the documentary Celia about Celia Lashlie part of the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) at ASB Theatre, which is down at Auckland’s waterfront. It was the first time we’d ever been to a film in the NZIFF, so that alone was a treat (though the seats were surprisingly uncomfortable).

Celia Lashlie was a former prison director who went on to become an author and social justice advocate, particularly in the area of poverty, breaking the patterns that lead children of poor families to prison, and so much more. Her approach was often confrontational, sometimes combative, and always with a ring of straightforward truth.

The film was made by Amanda Millar, a former TV journalist who I knew from her work on TV3’s versions of 20/20 and 60 Minutes. The film is very well made, but the point, of course, is Celia’s work and legacy. I think that all MPs should see the film so maybe they’ll stop doing the same thing and expecting different results.

Wednesday night we went to dinner to celebrate Nigel’s sister’s birthday. It was nice to get together with family, and to have a nice Japanese dinner. That was on Auckland’s North Shore, not far from where we used to live.

And, of course, on Saturday we went to see Celene Dion at Spark Arena, which is in Parnell, near the waterfront. That was a big trip for us, too.

The fact is, we rarely go out—even to dinner at our nearest café. There’s really no reason for that, apart from the usual (busy lives and being tired in the evening). So going out three nights in one week, and needing to drive a hour, more or less, each way, it turned out to be a very big deal.

Add to that the fact that we both worked on the garage the weekend before we went to see Celia, and I helped Nigel with a couple smaller projects during the week, and my having a work project to finish, and it was a an unusually busy week because it was in unusual ways.

Oddly enough, I was more tired today than on Monday. I’ve always heard that such things hit us two days later, not the next day, but I always thought of that as being merely anecdotal, but, if it is, it’s always applied to me, too.

It’s a new week now, and even though we’re in the middle of that week as of tomorrow, I hope to make real progress on the garage. I expect to have more to say about that soon. Once that project is done, I have plenty of others line up behind it.

First things first. And, a quieter week this week will be good, actually.