Saturday, March 29, 2008

Underfoot The Ground Is Patched With Climbing Arms Of Ivy Wrapped

You know how it is when you try to plant ivy to cover a wall...10 years go by and there are still plenty of bare patches. Those buildings on Harvard's campus are hundreds of years old. I suspect it wasn't always called the Ivy League. Green things take a long time to flourish. But it doesn't work that way here, sir.

In Nelson, things grow at a faster pace. Our dreaded ivy is called English Ivy and it is the bane of the country. It grows anywhere and everywhere. It grows as fast as bamboo. It will climb quicker than a monkey up walls and trees and attach itself with gripping tentacles that are near impossible to remove. It will destroy walls and kill vegetation through suffocation.

And we have a large retaining wall on our property with a stand of English Ivy that is very old and about 5 feet thick, 10 feet high and 75 feet long. It is aways climbing up and over the wall into the other gardens and wrapping it self around bushes and trees. It would even wrap me if I were to lie down. You take a nap on the lawn and you wake up in the middle of Gulliver's Travels.

We had a pro come over to chop it away, but it came back and needed another go.

Enter super gardener.

How hard could it be to hack away at the great wall of Ivy? The only tool I had was a hedge clippers. But the blades were sharp.I was able to do half the job in a few hours.

The result looked like I did when I tried to save a few bucks and cut my own hair with a sewing scissors.

Of course, it will all grow back in a few weeks, so neatness shouldn't count. But we have neighbors who are always walking up and down and checking out the various gardens. Kimberly has made the rest of the yard look so good that I couldn't let the front look like it was trimmed by a blind Samuri.

I needed a new tool with more power.

I have lived my entire life by one credo...never get hurt. I don't bungy jump or paraglide. My sport is golf, if it is indeed a "sport". I don't eat fish with small bones. No motorcycles. No wiring of light switches. The heaviest thing I will pick up is my own ass off the couch.

But today, I went down to Mitre 10 hardware and had a salesman talk me into an electric hedge trimmer. It has 600 amps, whatever they are. I was told this was a good amount to do the job. I also purchased a 25 meter length of extension cord.

This is an accident waiting to happen. How can I tackle this job without cutting through the cord and winding up as fried as Julius Rosenberg?

Kimberly won't let me start until I see a lawyer and update the will.

And now the rest of the story...... DAY 2

I did the remainder of the hedge with the machine. my neighbors, renters from Taiwan, were very happy because I chopped and cleaned their hedge also. They were kowtowing to me all over the place like I was the Dalai Lama. Jack, the man of the house, who works at a cucumber farm 6 days a week, helped me clean up the rubbish. Very friendly fellow.
So ask me if I had any mishaps. Ask me if I cut through the power cord.
Go ahead, ask. I won't be offended.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Space Cowboy

Did you ever "Google" yourself? Of course you have.

If you are the average Joe like me, not much remarkable comes up. Kind of sad really.

Well, we met a very likable couple recently...Drew and Lily Gaffney. They just purchased a 53 foot yacht, named Revelation. Here any sailing boat is called a yacht, so it does not carry the same definition as in the US and A. Saying that, these guys sure have a nice big sailboat, with spacious sleeping quarters, 2 bathrooms, ample galley. They live on it when then are not travelling back to America or places like Stockholm, Sweden and Cambridge, England.

I have always believed it is much better to know someone with a boat than own one myself so meeting up with these fine people was quite a score for such a mooch as I.

Drew did not brag a lot on himself. We learned he was a doctor (heart) who spent some time in New Mexico, Houston, and Nashville. He seemed very, very smart. So I Googled him when I got home.

I'll save you the trouble

Over the months, our friendship has grown. Kimberly and Lily have developed a strong kinship and Drew has totally convinced me to stay on the Lipitor, which is called Lipex here.

This Easter weekend, they invited us to sail to and overnight on Adele Island in Abel Tasman National Park. Since the weather was to be hot and sunny and the sea like glass, we cleared our busy schedule and geared up for the grueling 3 hour tour. We knew it would be gut wrenching and feared we might see dolphins, but I liked the cut of Gaffney's jib and we decided to go for the gusto.

If you know us by now, you know we had a great time, eating and drinking and laughing. Drew is a high IQ witty type who is one of the few earthlings who have been to space on the Columbia shuttle. I had many questions, most relating to poop.

Dr. Gaffney did not disappoint with his detailed responses.

He also knew Christa Mcauliffe. He said the Challenger tragedy delayed his flight for 2 years. In addition, he told me that the crew did not die by burning up; they were alive and actually were killed by the impact. The government allowed the myth to continue rather than explain why there was no parachute on the capsule that contained humans.

Ever since that all the capsules have chutes.

On the island, we hunted down the elusive greed lipped mussel which were cleaned and prepared with a sushi dinner.

Eating mussels is like chewing on a condom (I presume). I could not stomach any of it and chose to abstain.

Kimberly dug in to it all and seemed to enjoy the rubbery goodness. There was also a lot of seaweed.

I strongly advised her not to put Mussels or sushi on our meal rotation. Or at least give me an advance warning, so I could make a tuna sandwich.

The cabin was comfortable as we were rocked to sleep by the gentle swaying of the water. The environment was extremely quiet. The only sound was the chorus of tuis and bellbirds in the morning to gently awaken us.

By mid morning, our anchorage was filling up with other yachts wanting to spend Easter weekend. We took the dinghy to visit one called El Kareem, a 2 million dollar extravaganza built for an Arab prince, now owned by an Australian woman. Very ornate and gaudy, it looked like a floating brothel.

We also spent some time with Bill, captain of Exodus. He lives on his yacht also and tries to eke out a living on 100 dollars a week. We probably won't be mooching off Bill.

Currently, the Gaffneys live in Nashville, Tennessee as he is employed at Vanderbilt. He was the doctor of Al Gore's mother, so he knows them very well. Drew and Lilly are for Obama, but after I explained how McCain will win, he agreed the possibility was there due to the divisiveness of the Democratic party and the sheer strength of Sean Hannity. We all shared the fact that Bush is the worst President in USA history.

After a wonderful lunch completely devoid of rubber, we raised the sails for home. The only downer during the trip was the bizzare sighting of a bloated dead sheep floating out to sea on his way to Vietnam. Who knows, he may still be of some use to a hungry family.

We rode the wind and sunset until touch down brought us round to the traffic and clamor of Nelson.

We can't all be Rocketman and lots of times, we are sheep. But every once in a while, life is pretty good for average Joe right here on Earth.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

And The Politicians Throwing Stones

I have an early prediction.

It helps that I honestly don't give a shit who is the next President of the US and A. I think they are all a bunch of turds floating in a golden toilet. The voters are the Grooms of the Stool.

So instead of putting on a straw hat or defacing my property with placards, I watch the electoral process as if it were simply a game. It doesn't matter whatsoever who is running. I just so enjoy the hypnotic maneuvers they make to sway the opinion of John Q. Public and Johnny 6-pack.

It's the handlers that win elections.

The GOP, bless them, have long had the stronger corner men. The previous and greatest, Karl Rove is a friggin' genius.

Last election, he covered Bush's gloves with so much Vaseline, Kerry spent the last 7 rounds of the fight rubbing his eyes. He was in the shower before the ref counted him out.

Eariler, Rove tore John McCain a brand new extra wide asshole up which he is happy to shove his generously endowed head today.

Even though Karl has retired there are minions in that office that can still point fingers in any direction. The Donkeys haven't got the game to fight in the same league with the Elephants. I mean, George Bush is a second term President. How do you really think that happened.... his policies??
Rove managed it all while avoiding an indictment at the same fer Christ's sake. No wonder he wants to spend more time with his long as the family is Fox News.

But the game is still kind of fun to watch. This week, to stay somewhere near the front page, Johnny B. Goode got a sweet photo-op in Iraq. I think he supports the troops more than anybody, don't you agree?

Now to be outdone and coming out of an undisclosed location in the back of a pickup truck, Bill Clinton is digging the foundation for a future tenement in Nawlins.... He even brought that eye candy Brad Pitt for the ladies. Those Clintons sure do love the Po' folk. Too bad they are not allowed to vote.

All Barrack Hussain could come up with is a very Negro preacher who he is somehow handcuffed to like a Coen Brothers remake of The Defiant Ones.... and he has to convince us that HE is Tony Curtis.

If we base our judgement strictly on campaign management, not on personality or stance on the issues or any other bullshit that comes out of a speech, the Republicans are Tiger Woods, the Democrats are my brother Rick who doesn't even play miniature golf.

John McCain, seeing that he is the candidate, possibly with the ever popular Mitt Romney by his side, will defeat whichever odd combo he goes against in November. This is my prediction.

And the next voice you hear will be an old white guy shouting, "Four More Years!"

Sunday, March 09, 2008

I Ran On The Hilltop Following A Pack Of Wild Geese,51,0,0,html

This weekend, we decided it was time to be zestful
Down South in Hokitika at the Wild Foods Festival.

A culinary carnival where the menu is the spectacle;

Featuring eel, horse, ostrich, grasshopper, worm, and testicle.

People were theme attired to add to the fun.
There were a couple of hairy guys in the habits of a nun.

Hot chick coppettes who didn't need their gun

And naughty nurses with boobs that could stun.

Saw some big guys crushing wood with their clubs
Revealing within, heaps of squiggly, fresh grubs

Which were then purchased live straight out of their tubs

To be chewed up and swallowed.. right down to their stubs.

If beasts squirmed, slithered, wiggled, or wagged
They were served up and devoured, although many gagged.

We taste tested a chewy organ - the heart of a stag.

But bunny balls?


Cause I ain't no fag.

As The King took the stage, the rain pissed on down
And turned his curly lipped smirk right into a frown.

So atop a red convertable, Elvis has left the town.

And so did we follow, for fear we would drown.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

And Brave The Storm To Come, For It Surely Looks Like Rain

You can't just run away from cancer, but here in Nelson, they try.

This weekend was the bi-annual Relay for Life, a fund raiser for survivors, caregivers and supporters. Since Kimberly volunteers for CANTEEN, I joined in to help. The weather has been great and I reckoned it would be a fun way to spend the day. Actually, we were to join other groups for a relay that would last from 5pm Saturday to 8am Sunday.

As luck would have it, a huge storm was forecast. The rain started falling in the morning and looked to get much worse. I was sort of hoping they would cancel the affair.

It doesn't work that way, sir.

We drove over to the site, a huge park, arriving early to help set up camp. Already there was John, another volunteer. He is that guy we all know that has all the gear and tools and know how to get things done. Kimberly is the one who jumps in to assist. I am the guy who does what I can while trying not to get hurt.

Before long, the huge tent was raised and others began showing up as the rain continued. By the time the relay was to begin, we had about 10 in our group. There were barbque grills, tarps, food, chairs, sleeping bags...a regular bivouac.

Even though the rain was becoming a downpour, 3000 souls came and set up all over the field which was surrounded by a makeshift track. We were to walk or run in relay fashion so that someone from every team was always out there all night.

At the start, the storm barrelled into its 9th hour and got really bad. After a few minutes, the track became a total quagmire. Kids were sliding in the mud like it was Woodstock. Umbrelleas were inside outing themselves. Shoes and socks were abandoned.

About midnight, we waded through a foot of quicksand to take advantage of the free massages that were happening all night. My lady merely went over my back like she was brushing dust off me. Kimberly got a long deep rub... it's always that way.

This went on until 4 am. At that hour, Kimberly and I were taking our shift. I had the Ipod and she, Lauren's shuffle (thanks). She had on her gumboots, I was barefoot. A local entrepreneur set up a coffee kiosk a la Dr. Joe and we stopped for a latte as the rain subsided. The clouds parted and all we could see were a million stars over the city lights. Bob Dylan was singing "Rainy Day Women" in my head and thousands of people were
walking through the muck. Many still had on team costumes they wore at the onset. There were men in pink dresses, knights of the roundtable, witches, fairies, fatigues, police...on and on.

The whole scene was pretty surreal, yet wonderful.

We were still walking at 5 am when, in the darkness, Kimberly's friends from Hot Yoga begain a class. I could not believe anyone would be interested in that sort of activity on a mat of deep mud, but out they came, about 100 yogies, witches, fairies, police...and of course,Kimberly too.

Moon salutations all around. Sure was something to see.

By 8 am, the entire messy army was fed a continental breakfast and we all gathered for the final lap. The survivors walked first, followed by knights and fairies and witches and men in pink dresses, practically dancing to the music played over the loudspeaker..."Wonderful World", sung by Iz.

It was pretty tough not to cry. The old man would have loved it.

Kimberly raised about 250 dollars for the cause, thanks in part to family members Lauren, Rick and Barry. The brothers suspected I would take the money for personal use...Shame on them.

Then again, I think I could use a pair of gumboots.

There may never be a cancer cure, but the good people in Nelson certainly have it in their sights.