I must be getting old, I can’t understand why you’d want your car to sound this stupid. It’s not a rumble like a V8, or growl like a good twin motorbike (Ducati Anyone?), but a whine, especially on the smaller cars, and don’t get me started on the annoying whiny rattle of a Wankel based engine like the old RX7s and RX3s
And why is it these cars are normally driven by idiots that think the rev limiter cutting the engine out is the sign that they need to change gear? Hello, this isn’t Gran Turismo here, or Mario Cart.
Many a time I’ve thought “I wonder if I can buy some road spikes off the cops” and lay them out right outside my house. That and thoughts of sitting outside with a high powered rifle. Or more likely a camera to record the db rating and their license plate number...yeah I like that one, wonder if the cops would accept that....
I don’t understand how these guys get warrants, do they take their noisy mufflers off for warrant time and put them back on when they get home? And do the cops ticket for excessive noise? I’m assuming by the amount of noisy cars around they don’t or that it’s hard to police.
One final thing, I refuse to call them “boy racers” they’re not, that just glamorises them. They’re “little boys with sewing machines”.... it doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as well, but I feel much more accurate.
Anyway. Being a c-section birth means you stay in hospital longer while they make sure the major surgery the mother has been through heals properly. For this we were thankful.
The nurses and midwives at Lower Hutt hospital were excellent, from taking our unsettled baby in the middle of the night so my wife could sleep, to the burping tips and positions, to the countless pieces of advice on breast feeding. Which brings me to my point....
New Zealand and it seems Wellington in particular have very low breast feeding rates. So much so that the New Zealand government has a advertising campaign running at the moment (targeting Maori and Pacific Islanders it seems) to encourage breast feeding. Also the world health organisation is very pro breast feeding as well.
I Don't have a problem with this. If you can why not, it's free, nothing to sterilise, they're always with the mother in their handy and rather attractive containers.
But the problem comes if for whatever milk production is slow in coming. Remember how I said we didn't go through a lot of the normal labour process? Well this may have been a factor as the body releases hormones during birth to tell the body its having a baby. Any way, short version after trying for the first three days to breast feed and struggling somewhat, the baby was weighed he had lost 10.6% of his birth weight. 10% is the magic number they want the baby to stay under, as pretty much all babies loose some weight at birth.
So after finding his weight had dropped a little too much the midwives wanted my wife to express to give the baby some extra after breast feeding. This all sounded logical. But what followed was 5 hours of 'stuff being done to my boobs'.
Expressing can take three forms, and from most effective to least effective is the baby suckling, a breast pump and hand expressing. Over the course of the next 5 hours my wife had all three of these methods applied. There had been earlier attempts to hand express from some of the other midwives but the one that did it this day was particularly rough. Leaving my wife very sore. And so at the end of 5 hours when she offered to hand express again my wife said NO!
'We want to top him up with formula'.
You would have thought that we said we wanted to boil and eat the boy. After trying to talk us out of it and persist with the had expressing/breast pump, we were told 'there is a form to fill out'. Ya what!?! You're kidding right??!?!? No. Well bring it then and lets get going.
40mls he drank, the poor little guy was starving! 40 mls is a lot when your stomach is the size of a 20 cent coin (about 15mm). So for the next 24 hours he was topped up after breast feeding, having 10 - 20mls at a time. And when he was weighed 24 hours later he had put on weight. Another 24 hours and another weight gain - time to leave the hospital. Now he is breast fed exclusively, so even though we skirted the dark side by using formula we continue to breast feed the baby (I'm using the collective 'we' here btw!!).
The trouble is this isn't an isolated incident, why is it so difficult use formula, even to the point where it is detrimental to the baby. I know of another story where twins has lost of 20% of their birth weight. Still the hospital would not feed formula. In this particular story, the parents checked out of hospital early and put the babies on formula, where they now thrive.
A third story I just heard where the baby was taken to special care with a rash, turns out the mother had no breast milk and the baby had not fed. When the nurses came back into the mothers room she sat her down and said "your baby has not fed to 2 days", in shock the mother didn't reply, the nurse repeated, "your baby has not fed in 2 days", and just stood there, what is she to say, FEED HER THEN!!. Thank you the nurse says, 'we cannot offer formula, but you can ask for it' - I mean WTF is up with that. Here is a baby that is obviously sick, dehydrated, mother is in distress, and yet still she has to ask for. This is what I don't agree with.
The ad campaign and posters that surround you are fine, antenatal classes also push breast feeding, so you hear it all through the pregnancy. But to make any other option so difficult I find to be a very bad practice. You are made to feel a failure (well not me, but the mother is), and this isn't good either, it's not always the mothers fault she cannot breast feed.
Anyway, rant over, our boy is a healthy breast fed baby, still growing, still putting on weight, and that's all that matters.
About 3 weeks ago a new plastic roof was put on. It wasn't perfect but everyone was relatively protected. So imagine my surprise when I read that over Easter they intended to demolish the station and put up to temporary 3m shelters. Later on putting up a 5m shelter
Now I only get on the one train each morning, the 7:11. There are regularly 20 to 25 people waiting for this train. Where are they going to stand when its raining? 20 people will not fit under these tiny plastic shelters. Do these people have no concept?
The old station was about 12m long with a 3m overhang, that added a nice big roof that was able to accomodate everyone. These 3m shelters are a joke, and even the 5m one is not going to provide too much shelter in a howling Wellington southerly.
To put it in perspective one side of the old station was about 12m x 3m. These new shelters are 3m x 1m
God help us the first time it rains.
What is it about 5pm drivers that makes them more obnoxious and aggressive than their 4pm counterparts? Is it because they're more angry they have had to work that extra hour??
Yesterday i left work on the bicycle at 5pm. Normally i try to leave if cycling between 3 and 4, because there is less traffic on the road. but yesterday it was 5pm.
Ok well the Terrace will always be 'fun' regardless of the time. Just the amount of traffic and pedestrians. So last night traffic was banked up and pedestrians have a wonderful habit of waking between the stopped cars. I don't have a problem with that, I'd do it myself. But try looking both ways you idiots. I locked my rear wheel twice and got very close to one chap who blindly walked in front of me. Now I'll hear you all bitch at me that it was my fault for riding faster than the traffic, even when not doing that, pedestrians blindly walk out after the cars had passed. One advantage of bumper to bumper traffic is no taxis or couriers trying to u-turn in front of me. the terrace is a go slow zone because of all this.
Next point of issue is just the amount of traffic to while trying to keep left. Coming from Thorndon quay to the Hutt road there is a cross over where traffic from the ferry or Aotea quay merges. Normally there is no problem here as there is very few cars coming from Aotea but after 5 it is full and pm you rely on somebody, a, seeing you, b, slowing down to let you cross. I was fortunate last night a blue Nissan let me in. I will always wave thanks if I'm able to (sometimes it's just not possible to wave/indicate explain later).
But while riding down the Hutt road here, just before the traffic lights I get a honk from some woman in the bluebird, and she points to the side of the road. This is the type of person that really pisses me off. There was no other traffic around her, I was just on the white line (at the side of the road), maybe a little on the right of it, as the road is pretty crappy/bumpy/dirty at that point, and she honks like she owns the road. WELL LISTEN UP!! I pay road taxes as well for my car that I CHOOSE to leave at you snobby bitch. You should be dropping to my feet and kissing them (I wanted to say something else, but this is a family show) for choosing to take a form of transport that takes another car off the road. Its people like this that makes me want to catch up to them and rip their mirrors off.
Now I'll get just as angry when I see a group of arrogant cyclists riding 2 - 3 abreast using the road, I think it's bad manners and a bad image, but a single cyclist, you is probably just trying to avoid a crappy section of road is a different thing, and they should be cut some slack. Again, while you may have to slow down to get around us for 3 seconds isn't it better than me being a selfish tin box driver and clogging the roads!!
On to the motorway is pretty uneventful, well apart form the Mana/Newlands buses, some of those guys have a particular dislike of cyclists, pulling out in from of them, passing them then pulling into a stop, and cutting it very close when they pass.
The only other areas of note are on the surface streets on Lower Hutt, being after 5pm people are more likely to take stupid risks at intersections as they are impatient and have been sitting at the intersection a while, and what this means to a cyclist is they are less will to wait, and more likely to pull out in front of you. This may surprise you but a bicycle - especially a road bike - doesn't stop that much quicker than a car. Our tires are so thin they just lock up....so don't be surprised one day to find a cyclist on your bonnet if you are one of these impatient assholes. Mountain bikes with knobbly tires are pretty similar to stopping distance.
So there you go, a ride from Wellington to Lower Hutt, after 5pm, remind me not to do that again in a hurry and leave at a less congested hour. I'm fortunate that this is an option to me, for most people it is probably not.
Case in point- I'm looking for a video camera at the moment. Do you think I can find one? I went to Wellington photographic supplies yesterday in the vain hope the might have some working cameras (don't get me started on that policy of non working cameras in the store so you can sell it later). Now as I looked through the shelves I noticed they had no or very little Canon or Panasonic cameras. When the shop assistant came over I asked him about it...
"We can't get any, because of the (insert noun for the crunch here) so the manufacturer isn't manufacturing as many as they think "people are not buying".
So surely if there is no stock then people can't buy either? Which means the manufacturer doesn't meet their sales targets which they them blame on the credit crunch which means they start laying off jobs.
Sounds like a flawed business model to me where the manufacturer cares more about the profit sheet than any real result like the number of sales. If you fudge around with the numbers enough then you can make whatever story you want. It doesn't even have to be the truth. And what is worse is that this manufacturer will cut jobs of good people just to drop their wage bill to keep their net profit a similar number to last year, therefore the CEO will meet his numbers and be given a bonus so large that he could of paid the wages of the aforementioned jobs losses.
And round and round it goes......
Bought myself a Nokia 6210 Navigator. Replacing the K-Jam.
Advatanges - much smaller, and lighter. Has A2DP Bluetooth profile for Bluetooth stereo. And has GPS, my new favourite toy.
I signed up to Nokia Sports Tracker, it's a program that you run on your S60 based Nokia phone, and with the gps it keeps track of where you are, great for on the bike.
Then once you've completed your workout, or drive, or walk, you upload it to the http://sportstracker.nokia.com/ website and it overlays the course with Google Maps. You can also export gpx, kml files for use in other apps.
Also on this phone I have MobiReader for reading eBooks, Mobbler for last.fm scrobbling, mIRGGI for IRC (so I can Geekzone Chat), and Google Maps for S60.
So expect my next blogs to be about GPS toys/sites/services that interest me.
As per Jurassic park where the Dinosaurs are resurrected from "stored DNA" - they say they may be able to bring back the Mammoth from hair balls.
If you're not familiar with the movie Jurassic park, prehistoric mosecuitos found in fossilised sap have blood extracted out of them, and hey presto you have the DNA of dinosaurs, mix that with the DNA of frogs, and you can create a park with living dinosaurs.
While the scientists at the time said there was no possibility of doing this, recently, using hair balls found around the Wooly Mammoths lifted from the ice, scientist have said that this may be possible.
So in 10 years could we be seeing wooly mammoths walking the Earth again??
The questions is though, should we do this. Should we bring back annimals that for whatever reason, failed to stay alive during their own time, should we bring back the dinosaurs? Should we bring back the mammoths??
I think not. These animals had their time, and for whatever reasons didn't survive.
But on the other hand, if though lack of education, malice or mis-management, humans kill off a species, then I think we should try to bring that species back. Since it was not killed off by natural means but by the hand of man.
Gun Sales Up Since Election
What struck me as scary was not the "running out and buying guns" but the "running out and buying assault rifles."
Ok, I understand Americans have a love affair with guns and their whole "right to bear arms" debate. But I fail to see how a regular Joe Bloggs can justify having an Assault rifle in the house. Handgun yes - for protection, rifle/shotgun yes, for hunting, assault rifle??
Underwhat circumstances do you feel you would need an assault rifle? Are you expecting an armed assault of your house? Do you expect the army to come after you? Have deer starting shooting back??
Sometimes I'm glad I live over here in New Zealand.....
Is this another example of a monopoly taking advantage of it's customers?
I've blogged before that I catch the train everyday. Have been doing so, from my current stop for about 7 years.
My story begins a couple of months ago, a text comes out of the blue Epuni Station will be closed for asbestos testing" - this was 14 May 2008.
So I rock on down the next morning, and there is a bus there waiting to take little ole me to the next, and main, station on the Hutt Line.
I go to the the inquiries desk and they tell me a couple of days for testing.
Monday, I rock on down, expecting the bus to be there, what its not? Why wasn't I told? And even the station at this point has no external signs, only after going under the subways do I see the boards over the stairs.
So at this point I start taking the bus to the main train station. I ask at the station, send emails to tranz metro, and get I don't know from the ticket office, and no reply from tranz metro.
Fast forward a month and there is an article in the local newspaper saying, yes asbestos was found and they will rebuild the station.
This continues with no word, no communication (and what looks like no progress) until the middle of July where its announced the station will re-open end of July.
31 July I ask the man at the inquiries desk, and he tells me that no it wont be open (tomorrow - Thursday) but also no hint that it would in fact. open in 2 weeks.
11 August, text comes out saying it will be open on the 12th.
So imagine my surprise when I get down to the station on the 13th to find that in 3 months, the only noticeable change is the fact the internal stairs are still blocked and that there is no roof.
So I could just make this a rant against tranz metro, and I kind of have, but the story does serve a bit of a point of how a monopoly can through lack of communication, leave a sour taste in the mouths of everyone concerned and because they are a monopoly, the consumer has no options but to take it, as they cannot take their business elsewhere.
Monopoly = Fail.
As I've blogged about before, I've been using the Wellngton public train system for a number of years.
But recently due to the closure of my regular stop I've been getting on from a bigger station.Its funny to watch how other people wait for the train.
Everyone stands where they think the door to "their carriage" will stop. The funniest ones are the people that are toeing the line. These are normally the ones that want to be on first (and since space is at a premium at the moment, the ones who generally get a seat). Every 30 seconds or so this lot is bending out over the tracks looking for the train - why? Is it going to come faster the more you bend? Is there a law written in the space-time continuum that the " the further you bend outwards the faster said waiting object will accelerate Is there that much mental preparation required that you have to know exactly when it comes? Or are you just impatient?
I watched thing one woman this morning who made a little dance out of it, a little side shuffle train glance.
So these are the people at the "Please wait behind the line". Others prefer to sit and relax on the chairs - when they see someone at the line making a check for the train, they feel they must get up and look themselves before sighing and returning to their seat.
I quoted "Their carriage" - this is because most long term commuters if they catch a regular timed service will have a carriage, door and a favourite seat, and wo and behold someone sitting in THEIR SEAT. You can't do anything, you can't say anything, but silently glare at the infiltrator, wishing they would leave - I mean its not like you bought it or anything.
Ahhhh, us humans are a funny lot.