Saturday, December 29, 2007

Just another memetic Monday

Ok, it's not Monday. It's Sunday right now...I just found it very hard to find a synonym for memetic that started with an 's'.

I caught this meme from Steingruebl World Enterprises and thought I'd pass it along. For those of you new to the idea of memes on blogs, this is a little cousin of the traditional game of tag. If you read this meme you've effectively been tagged. You can now, if you choose to join in on the fun, continue the game on your own blog or in the comments page of this post.

Gift Quiz

1. "What was the best gift you have ever received?

The last Christmas I spent in the US before moving to New Zealand, my sister Monica put together a photo album for me. Each page has a little button that allows a short recording to be made. She had each person in our family put a picture in the album and record a message on that page of the album. It's the only place that I've heard some of my family members' voices for a year now, and it's gotten me through I don't how many homesick moments. Thanks, Monica. I don't think you know just how perfect a gift that will always be.

2. "What was the worst?"

Underpants. Without a tag. From a friend. In the third grade. Even as a kid I realised that, the cool My Little Ponies pattern aside, they were a pretty weird present to give a friend. I never wore them and never told my friend that I never wore them.

3. "What's the best gift you've given to someone else?"

I'd probably say that it's a three way tie between gifts I've given to my husband and two of my nephews. For our first wedding anniversary my husband and I took an anniversary/belated honeymoon trip to Europe. That was probably the best three week gift unveiling that I've ever experienced.

For Christmas a few years ago I gave my two of my nephews some special pictures I had taken the previous summer. That summer I had grabbed my camera and a nephew, in that order, then proceeded to execute a series of perfect "take your own picture" manoeuvres with each nephew. I framed these photos, tied ribbons around them, and gave them to my nephews before leaving the country. The following summer my sister's house was endangered by a forest fire. My sister, her husband and each of the boys were told to evacuate one evening on very short notice. The only personal items these nephews of mine chose to take with them other than their overnight bags were these framed pictures. Evidently they meant a lot to the boys and that means a lot to me.

4. "The worst?"

When I was very young I tried to make a gift for my father. When you're a poor 7 year old what else can you do? I chose colorful pipe cleaners as my medium of choice and decided to sculpt a wire-frame style fly fisherman (modeled after my ace-fisherman father). He would be sitting in a float tube, and holding a fly rod that bowed under the weight of a promisingly large fish. When I finished, my grandma assured me that it was perfect and I put it in a box, wrapped it kid style with plenty of tape, and set it under the tree. On Christmas morning dad opened my gift and looked at it in silence for a moment before stating, "how pretty...what is it, sweetie?" I think he felt pretty bad about having to ask, and I know that I felt pretty bad about giving him something that he couldn't recognise. The fuzzy fisherman didn't stick around on his dresser for very long after that morning. I think it was best for everyone involved to dispose of the horrid thing and put the mutual embarrassment behind us.

5. What did you get this holiday season?

I got some boxes of chocolates from a few of my students (before the school year let out-what gentlemen) a lovely artisan stoneware plate from my mother, groovy home made pot holders and pillow cases from my grandmother, and an absolutely fabulous day in with my husband. Peter and I watched a movie, played a game, took a walk in the rain, then cracked open a bottle of champagne with dinner. No fuss, no travel, no gifts...just each other. Absolutely perfect.

6. Where did it sit on the best to worst scale (best being 1, worst 10)?

Overall I'd rate the gift situation as a 2. The only way it could have been better was if the weather had cleared and allowed us to BBQ on the beach New Zealand style. As it was, the Xmas lasagne was pretty satisfying. And it always kicks ass to receive thoughtful gifts from loving family members.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

News of the weird

As if the xmas season couldn't get weirder, it turns out we have some Chuck Palahniuk fans here in NZ:

Drunk Santas storm cinema, leave children confused

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Behaving childishly, and loving every minute of it

Yesterday Peter and I did something neither of us have done since we were very young: we flew a kite. Peter was inspired by a few friends of ours who took him kite flying a few weeks ago. He found it more fun than expected, so we decided to venture down to the kite shop to get one of our own. We gawked at the kite-making bench that took up more space than the display floor, and the decorative dragon models that would undoubtedly snap in a light breeze. The guy who ran the shop had accessories for paragliding, para-boarding (skateboarding behind a big kite), kite fishing and all kinds of other fun things. Since there's always a breeze somewhere in Auckland kites are evidently a popular passtime.

We decided to get a small parafoil, which is a kite without a frame that catches the wind and inflates, creating lift. With a groovy purple, green and black tail it would look good from the ground and be an easy learner's model. It was reasonably priced, and because it doesn't have a frame that we could possibly crush in a bad landing we felt good about the purchase.

Here are the pics from our day out. We went to North Head Reserve, a hill in our neighborhood that always seems to have a bit of a breeze, and had a perfectly fun afternoon.

There were a number of other people out that day, including some paragliders. They drew a pretty good crowd as they hopped easily down the hill to catch the updrafts off the water. They attracted more of a crowd than we did, but a few kids wandered over to see what we were up to. Most of the time the gliders hovered over the hill, never far from the ground.

Below us at the beach a number of kite surfers bobbed in the water with kites ready, waiting for the breeze to pick up at water level. It looks like kites are a pretty popular toy for grown-ups. Peter's eager to try kite fishing next, so watch this space for pictures of a new rig and possibly something dredged up from the sea.