Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cheesy musician

We went to the Hamilton Farters' Marker today, haven't been for a while.

Actually, we went into town so Ella could spend the $5 voucher that Hamilton Toyworld sent her. She had a bit of other cash in one of her 18 wallets/purses, and was looking to put that together with her voucher.

However, we went to the market before Toyworld, and what did Ella decide she wanted to spend $9 of her hard-earned on?


That's right, a round of wax-sealed, handmade Ayrshire Cream cheese from Pirongia's Cloudy Mountain Cheese. Very nice it is too, from the small amount Ella's let us have.

We also did a bit more of the guitar lessons tonight, here's what it looks like:


Just so you know, she asked for it for her (fifth) birthday, completely out of the blue, this is not some helicopter parent (OK, so it doesn't quite fit here, I just love the term) thing. I got the guitar off a workmate whose daughter has outgrown it, it came with a DVD teaching a few things.

Ella is amazingly into this, she doesn't seem to get bored too quickly. She can name all the bits of the guitar, and knows which note each of the strings is, and even seems to have a fair idea when a string is out of tune.

I don't care if she loses interest after a while, getting interested in it in the first place is good enough. I first learnt guitar in Form 2, and didn't go back to it until half way through high school.

Here's a gratuitous Betty bath shot, wouldn't want her to miss out:



Friday, June 27, 2008

Sparkle pony

My brother had a birthday at the beginning of this year, I think I sent him my present about 4 months after his birthday


in my defence it was a pretty cool present.

I got one of these kits from Evil Mad Scientist. I bought this thing sight unseen from Amerikkka, and took it on with only the barest of soldering ability.

I got a mate to show me how to solder small components - to my amazement it turned out to be very satisfying, so much so that I was disappointed when there was no more to do. Every soldering attempt in the past has been (a) messy and (b) incredibly frustrating.

I bought a lot of LEDs from here - even at only 25c each, it really adds up when you're buying hundreds.

I got them all soldered on after much deliberating over the layout. In case you don't know, my brother DJs under the name Haszari - he made himself a logo which is essentially an 'H'. This is what I built:


It has a light sensor, so it won't drain those big D cells during the day:


Photos courtesy of Haszari cos I forgot to take any.

P.S. after TOO LONG editing the template for this blog, the photos no longer overlap the words at the side. No worries.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Paint the whole world with a . . .

Up above the trees and houses . . .

We had an awe-inspiring thunderstorm last night. No pictures of that, but here's a phonecam of a rainbow I saw this morning (click for bigger I think):


I think of rainbows a bit like I think of libraries - something free that's so amazing, surely it'll be taken away one day?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Viddy this

viddy this

I remembered the other day that the mini-DV video camera I've had for years (the catchily-named Sony DCR-TRV22E) can do both time-lapse, and frame-by-frame.

I remember reading it in the manual when I first got it - god knows where that manual is now, but after a bit of searching through the (touch-screen) menus, I found both.

So, I decided to play around with it. Here are the results:

First thing I did was a time-lapse. The default setting is half a second of video taken every 30 seconds. You can set it to take longer amounts, and at longer intervals, but I left it at this for now.

I have been pruning fruit trees all weekend, so I rigged the camera up in the garage window, and filmed myself pruning the peach tree, grapevine and rosebush (and answering a phone call from Rach:

This came out better than I'd hoped, so once I was tired of pruning, I tried a bit of frame-by-frame animation. This is one of those toys where you push up the bottom and its legs collapse. I'm particularly proud of the headspin followed by body turn in the middle:

Again, I'm pretty happy with that for a first go. For my next attempt, I wanted to do the classic "bumcar" animation, where a person (Ella in this case) "drives" along the floor on their arse:

Last of all, I thought I'd do another time-lapse, this time of Ella eating her Macaroni Cheese. I told her I was filming her (she signed a release and everything), but I think she forgot straight away, and the massive range of faces she makes is purely coincidental:

I'd love to see your efforts at time-lapse or frame-by-frame animation!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

the walls have eyes

No, I'm not on some kind of street art crusade, I've just been meaning to do this for a while, so here's some more.

The "sandpit" wall at Wintec (right on the corner of Ward and Tristram Streets) always seems to have some "proper" graffiti on it. I don't know if it's officially sanctioned, but I assume it must be. It changes from time to time - this is what's on here at the moment:

(that's F Block in the background, not allowed to knock that one down)

From right to left:


"Pest" I think, then maybe "Dr. Eto"?

No idea about the two on the sides, but the middle one seems to be "Spel" hurrr.

"Tuff Love"'s been on the far left for years, "meh" for not much less time.

The next one's up on weird old Nisbet Street, right at the western end of F Block:

This little (about 20cm long) guy used to be everywhere, sometimes with rainbow stripes. The spectacles and unicorn horn are later additions.

The last one's opposite Mr. Zebracorn:

Some days feel a bit like this for everyone.

Send your own in please!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

School's in

Ella turns five this Wednesday, so she had a party on Saturday. We decided to have it at the YMCA, since Ella went to gym there and loved it, also it's miles cheaper than something like Lollipops.

Basically they just put out all the gym gear and let the kids go nuts for two hours. We brought a pile of food - Ella's cake was in the shape of a 5, with a road on it, just like she'd asked for.

All sorts of different people there, including grandparents, family friends with kids about the same age, and some school (well, daycare) friends.

Here are a few photos:

It wasn't until I tried my usual belated attempts at introducing people to other people (I mean the adults) that I realised that virtually all of them know each other already, through us. For some reason I find this interesting, given that I know a few other people this way.

You know, you always see them at someone else's place, and you do the old semi-awkward catch-up-try-to-remember-names-occupations-marriage-status thing. I'm making it sound bad, but it's not.

Also, for those that may be interested, we have finally found a school for Ella to go to, after much faffing around.

There are two schools within about 800m of our house, but one of them (Fairfield) has no after-school care whatsoever, and the other (Insoll) has it, but it finishes at 4:30, which means leaving work at about 3:45.

Woodstock is about 3km away and has after-school care until 5:30, but as it is viewed as a "good" school (I don't know what this means, maybe they don't chain the kids up or something) they will only take people from within the school zone. Guess where we don't live?

Still, they have a ballot for out-of-zone places. Luckily, Ella gained a place through this. Unluckily, there are no places available in the after-school care, and a long waiting list. Not entirely sure why they neglected to tell us this in the first place.

So, we put her name down on the waiting list, but weren't really sure what to do or how long to wait for a place to come up. We decided to go and look at Whitiora School at the last minute (phoned them from the car on Friday morning).

View Larger Map
(all five of those big blocks on the map)

They don't care about zoning, they have an after-school program with spaces (and a holiday program), and the new entrant teacher had a student teacher in, so showed Ella and Rach around the school.

So, that's where she's going. Right in the middle of the city, so not really near where we live, but it is at least on the way to work. Looks like a really nice school too.

Mother of god!

Here's an addition to the previous street art post:

This is on a wall of Wintec's W block, which faces Ward Street at the Tristram Street end. It's part of an old shopfront, which is angled in from the pavement (not parallel to it).

One of our Mediarts tutors saw me photographing it. He said the brickwork recently got repainted, and he made sure this stencil was carefully painted around, not over.

I'm not totally sure if it's The Jesus or his mum, but it's certainly an intricate stencilling job - at least four colours I can see.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Hamilton street culture

Here are a few (cellphone-taken) photos of various bits of street art/graffiti/stencilling/vandalism - call it what you will - that I've taken around Hamilton:

Here are some colourful, happy sperm-like creatures. I wonder if "Joy" painted it, or that's just a caption? They were there for quite a few months, but have been painted over now:

They were spray-painted on a (I think) power box on George Street, near O'Neill Street:

View Larger Map

Here's a series, painted on what seem to be old kitchen cupboard doors (some still with the handles). The next morning, there were only three, then they were gone. I wonder if they were taken down by The Man, or are now hanging on someone's wall?





These were hung on the fence that separates the railway line from the River Road carpark, just down the road from the Happy Sperms.

Here's a quite recent one, monochromed (except for the white sheep) on the east side of the River Road bridge over the railway line:

What's going on here? I see a sheep, a sparkly baby, a shaky diamond, a flying saucer, a satellite dish and an androgyne with a party hat.


This scene is here:

View Larger Map

The next three are all on or under the pedestrian overbridge between Wintec and Hamilton Girls' High School (the bridge crosses Tristram Street).

"511" means nothing to me - anyone? Also note the cunning addition of "ME" in Vivid:

I am indeed a slave (to the black man!). Note also the little pen-drawn guy on top of the wall:

There's probably some hidden meaning or joke I don't get in this one. I see an armadillo crossed with a WW1 tank:

The above three are here:

View Larger Map

These last four are all around the stairway between Nisbet Street and Wintec's Ward Street carpark.

A sad panda, who shouldn't be sad, what with his heart-shaped helium balloon:

I'd also be looking happier than he does if this sparkly semi-nude lady was below me:

This . . . thing is towards the bottom of the stairs, on the way down. I know what I think it looks like, but that can't be right. What do you think?

Last of all is one that's been around for (probably) years. It's caused me quite a few double-takes, thinking it's real. The faded sign above the door says "PARTS DEPT."

So, there's that. Show me your favourite bits of street art (sorry, I hate this term, can't think of a better one though).