The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Saturday, December 31, 2005

moving towns?

Are the About Towners on the verge of shut down?

Xavier and Paul have set up a new blog, Kete Were, and I see now that Kate has joined it too - meanwhile Roy has posted his swansong and Tristan is overseas, leaving Maria Von Trapp to temporarily house-sit.

space time continuum rip

Is it just me or has Blogger removed the handy little bit on the Create page that lets you set the time and date of your post?

Very annoying when you want to start writing something ahead of time.


calling to account

Being the last day of the year and all that, I suppose I should review my New Year's Resolution success rate for 2005. Regular readers may have noticed that I was recording my progress at the beginning of each month, although I forgot a few.

Here's how it all finally fell out:

1. Get a new job in the area I want to work in - managed in January, started in March, still going strong.

2. Exercise more - regular gym going has been established, tennis buddy is back in NZ, have so much more energy and I'm finding exercise incredibly rewarding for the first time in my adult life. My posture and general health have improved, my clothes fall better, it's All Good.

3. Think positive - going very well - taken a number of important steps this year which have made a big difference.

4. Resist over-committing - now pretty good at this, except at work. Which is rather a big part of my life.

5. Get at least one stamp in my shiny unused passport - Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia visited in February and March - plans underway for a whirlwind OE from late March covering Dubai, Moscow, St Petersburg, Turkey, a whole lot of The Continent (yes, Bordeaux is on the list Flang!), Morocco, the UK, Ireland, and Bangkok.

6. Finish the kitchen - the Heart of the Home is exactly as it was when I concocted this resolution. Except it's currently tidier (Hurricane Re-organise The House has recently hit). Attempted contacts with the Benchtop People by The Man in the Comfy Chair have been unsuccessful, so I think we're just going to have to write that off and start again. It must be finished before we go overseas so that clock is now ticking again.

7. Get up to date with my Alliance projects - this was largely unsuccessful and I need to think a bit more about why.

New resolutions for 2006 coming soon!

Related links:
Original resolutions - that time of the year

Monthly reviews

Thursday, December 29, 2005

lazy blogger tries to paper cracks

I'm going to be a little structured about this - here's my favourite post from each month this year:

Jan 30th - benefit envy - why do the rich seem to be jealous of the poor?

Feb 3rd - tending towards the extremes - on NZ media bias

Mar 21st - who pays the carers in a free market world? - rightwingedness and caregiving work

Apr 10th - a barren argument - PM's parental status irrelevance shock!

May 29th - give us a toot - honking hurts

Jun 12th - aborting abortion - rather self-explanatory title methinks

July (I've cheated and chosen two)
July 24th - imagine - Brash and the mainstream
July 26th - you. will. conform. - bullying as a tool to impose conformity

Aug 22nd - working hard for money and working hard for family - Nats seem to want parents spending less time with their kids (Code of Social Responsibility anyone?)

Sep 7th - bear with me - on the never-ending complaints about Maori culture

Oct 27th - eradicable? - prompted by Wayne Mapp's ascension

Nov 24th - saying yes - on rape and consent

Dec 8th - blast from the past - an old story of collective action resurrected


The Ongoing Debate Dept
(NZ Political Parties and the Leftness Thereof Division):

Looks like January could be a good time to write a bit of an assessment and where the various left and centre-left parties are at...

I'd also recommend checking out the posts under a few things worth noting, on the sidebar under the recent comments.

Hope everyone is having a safe and happy festive season - not sure when this thing will be fully operational again.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Aaron has laid into Hide, saying he has gone too far in pursuing the David Benson-Pope stuff and is now veering into the area of persecution rather than prosecution.

It seems to me that there is actually a huge disadvantage for DBP in not being charged, and the same holds true for Peter Hodgson over his alleged "technical assault" of Madeliene Flannagan.

By not being charged both men are effectively denied the opportunity to mount a credible defence. Because they are not being charged it isn't sub judice so they don't have that out. But at the same time they need to just get on with their lives, and their jobs, and not spend time on defending themselves.

I'm not saying either have total defences (or even credible ones) - what I am saying is that because they are not being charged we will now never really know their side of the story, as they would have told the court (i.e. under oath, with the possibility of a guilty verdict and a sentence hanging over their heads, encouraging them to find witnesses and other evidence in their defence).

So basically both men, in particular DBP, can now be slurred and tainted in relation to prima facie cases until (and probably beyond) the point at which they shuffle their mortal coils.

As Tristan has pointed out - the police don't always get it right, otherwise why bother with the judiciary? This particular point seems to have totally escaped the man who went into bat for others when another Govt department, the IRD, got it very wrong indeed.

In closing, I am not saying that either men are innocent. What I am saying is that only one side has been constructed to anywhere near judicial standard and that is the prosecution in both cases, which is far from enough information on which to make a judgement. Unfortunately many have already made their call and nothing short of an outcome in court that contradicts it will sway them. And of course that can't happen as no charges have been laid.

Political pointscoring has been the winner on the day.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

staunchie in-joke

Hat tip: Zoe at crazybrave

You can even do your own here.

yet another reason to think nice thoughts about Viggo Mortensen

As if being Aragorn son of Arathorn wasn't enough.

Viggo Mortensen blasts President Bush


"...I’m against cheating, greed, cruelty, racism, imperialism, religious fundamentalism, treason, and the seemingly limitless capacity for hypocrisy
shown by Bush and his administration.”
*happy sigh*

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

spot the difference

David Benson-Pope vs Lockwood Smith.

What is it about these Education Ministers?

I look forward to reading the right blogs' attacks on Smith for his reinvention of history sometime soon.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

leaving on a jetplane

I'm a bit confused about the latest twist in the EPMU Fix Our Planes At Home campaign (FOPAH for short, which sounds a bit like faux pas, hmmm).

It seems that the EPMU have done the bosses' work for them by suggesting lots of lovely pay and conditions cuts to try to save some of the jobs involved. This would be despite the fact that Air NZ is already making big profits and the decision to shift the engineering work off-shore is more to do with ideology than it's actual viability.

When you add into the mix that the Government owns 80% of Air NZ I find this even weirder - they don't want to know about it. I'm particularly sure that ex-EPMU organiser Lynne Pillay, now MP for Waitakere (Labour), is especially keen to avoid talking about it.

- Len's post about this - Air NZ unions sell conditions for jobs
- Alliance release - Unions fail to confront Govt over Air NZ plans

i guess it was the teetotalling that did it

Click here to take the M*A*S*H quiz!

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Went to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for the second time last night, and I was struck again by how familiar the guy who plays Barty Crouch Junior is. So I looked him up on Imdb when I got home and turns out that he's David Tennant, the latest Dr Who. I've never seen any of the other things he's listed for, so I can't figure out why he's familiar. However I have been very curious about what the new Doctor looked like, so I guess this may be some bizarre way my brain had of finding out.

I hope that tongue tic isn't incorporated in the new series, it's rather repellent.

And for the record, Ben I think you were right. Shudder.

Friday, December 09, 2005

gone baby gone

Cathy Odgers appears to have deleted her blog, but someone has set up a fan site, asking the obvious question, in it's place.

How odd.

Update, 9.26am 10th Dec: Cathy's explanatory post on Kiwiblog is here.

Update, 6.57pm 12th Dec: A new blogger, in a similar style - Cactus Kate is now up and already rolling. Hat tip: DPF, off blog.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

blast from the past

I wrote the below over five years ago - at the time, and for many years afterwards, it was the best protest I had ever been on. After today I am not so sure it still holds that crown.

As I can't post about today I thought I'd put this up instead, unaltered from how it was back in The Day.*

Today Rocked!
Let me tell you a little bit about today...

Today rocked! I spent two hours with several hundred other students fighting for what we believe in; and it made an impact, if not on the Government (yet), then certainly on the hundreds of people we passed in the street, whose cars we stopped, the hundreds of other students we passed at the University, the dozens of police and, most importantly, it impacted on us.

It taught us that together we are strong, together we are good for each other.

We sang, we clapped, we smiled, we listened, we squirted each other with water, we shared sunscreen, we chanted, we talked, we ran up and down the middle of Queen Street like raging spanish bulls, and we laughed. We felt strong and we shared our strength with each other... And what's the most important word up there? 'We!'

Muhammed Ali once said, 'Me? We!' I have always taken this to mean together we are strong; that 'I' am a part of 'us'; to express the intrinsic value of the collective spirit, something that can't be boiled down into a monetary concept because it transcends that - it is joy and it is love... and it is so much more than I am able to express.

I want you to feel the elation I have felt, to share a moment with hundreds of other people, and there are many, many opportunities to do this, all over the world, virtually anytime - a chance to revel in the comaraderie, to feel a part of something, a chance that is all too rare in the society we live in now. Despite our big cities, we all walk around in isolation - we don't even know our neighbours anymore. Rather than being a bunch of feeling, thinking humans living together, we are becoming more like a group of robots, who just happen to be existing in the same space-time.

So reach out, connect with others - raise your voice above the sound of the traffic! If you're not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

* I think I wrote this in either early 2000 or late 1999 - if anyone can help me work out exactly when that would be much appreciated.

a good day

any guesses about where this was taken?
(I didn't take it, I should point out)

Sunday, December 04, 2005


Because I am a total sheep, but you knew that already.

Ten Firsts
First Best Friend: Fiona W
First Screen Name: AAA (when making the high score table on the Good Ol' spacies)
First Pet: Freckles, cat.
First Piercing: Ears, about a year ago.
First Crush: The first I can remember was Glen L until I whacked his bag to get his attention and learned the hard way that he played the clarinet. Physical pain clears the fog of inappropriate crushes I find.
First CD Bought: Jazz (Queen)
First Car: Bronze 1984 Fiat Uno, with central locking you could hear across the road and The Devil's Own Gearbox. In a brief but intense affair with a lampost, it's heart was broken.
First True Love: M
First Stuffed Animal: Probably a homemade version of Rupert Bear.
First Words: No idea (as in I have no idea, not I said "no idea")
First Game System: I had a Mario Brothers King Kong handheld back in the 1980s, does that count?

Nine Lasts
Last Alcoholic: A sip of someone else's beer from a Waiheke vineyard in September.
Last Movie Seen: Love Actually, last night.
Last CD Played: News of the World (Queen), in the car this afternoon.
Last Bubble Bath: Thursday night.
Last Time You Cried: Last night.
Last Time You Laughed: At inappropriate placard slogans at a meeting, this afternoon.
Last Time You Fell: Playing tennis, yesterday.

Eight Have You Evers:
Have You Ever Dated One Of Your Best Friends:
Have You Ever Been Arrested: No. But I do have a trespass order (sadly expired)
Have You Ever Been Skinny Dipping: Nope.
Have You Ever Been On TV: Yep
Have You Ever Regretted A Kiss: Yes
Have You Ever Been Drunk: Nup
Have You Ever Slept For 24 Hours Straight: No way.
Have You Ever Worn the Same Pants for 3 Weeks Straight: Has anyone??

Seven Things You're Wearing
Black slides
2. Blue Jeans
3. Red-purple nail polish
4. Three rings
5. Black top
6. Red shirt
7. A smile

Six Things You Did Today
Fell asleep while trying to read
2. Had something I shouldn't have eaten for lunch
3. Returned DVDs on time for the first time in memory
4. Worked out how to get the whiteboard to do printouts
5. Worked out how to get the whiteboard to do printouts you can actually read
6. Tried the new Bundaberg Peachee drink (yum!)

Five Favourite Things
1. Decent books
2. Marathecat, who I believe wants a puppy for Xmas
3. Dinghy sailing
4. The Game (that would be politics, not whoring, Apathy Jack)
5. Nieces N and M

Four People You Can Tell Almost Anything To
1. The Man In The Comfy Chair
2. The Irstimeister
3. Arl
4. S
(actually there's more than 4, but that'll do for now)

Three Choices
1. radio or cd: CD as long as I can skip the annoying songs
2. German chocolate cheese cake or vanilla bean cheese cake: both, together.
3. black or white: red (Official Colour of the Revolution, doncha know)

Two Things You Want to do Before You Die
1. Learn another language
2. Be a good parent

One Thing You Regret
Wasting too much time on the internet when I could have been watching television.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

the religious objection

Anyone reading this who has any experience with unions (especially in the private sector) will know that recruitment is a big part of the game. While some of the big public sector unions have the luxury of not being too fashed about signing people up, pretty much all of the others have to keep 'em coming in the door, especially in low-income sectors where staff turnover is high and the majority of those who leave the union don't actually know that they have left, simply by leaving their current job.

I tend to not be too agressive about recruiting, but the one objection that really gets to me is "I can't join, I'm religious." I'm no scripture expert, but what is this based on?

It seems to me to be about restriction and control - usually it's not only unions the religious one can't join, it's also any group that isn't directly related to the Church in question. Isn't that a bit cultish?

In other union news, Maria Von Trapp has posted on the kindergarten teachers' strike coming up on Thursday (I mentioned the stopworks they had last week to vote on the strike a little while back). It's only the third time they've withdrawn their labour in their 121 year history, which is pretty significant - and it's not about pay!