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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Beautiful Day at Stoke

Meg dropped her tax documents off at accountant this morning. While I'm waiting at car, I took this shot of the car park entrance at the Stoke Central. It's a beautiful day.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

How DO They Do It??

It's getting warmer, and a nice cool beer sounds better than a glass of red at the end of the day. We don't go to bars and pubs much, (we're turning into oldies), but we do go to Ray's Hot Rock Gourmet Pizza Cafe and Bar from time to time, because we can walk there. Ben can have a beer, then we have ribs and pizza, and he finishes off the meal with caffè corretto (coffee with grappa). Sunday night, we were waiting around for a takeaway order, when Ben saw a bottle of Bookers (!!!!!) on the shelf, so I think that's the finisher-upper the next time we eat in.

The thing I don't get is, this beer tap has a coat of ice around it. It's beautifully and evenly coated every time we go. How do they do it? I love running my fingers up and down it as I wait; Ben doesn't think it's nice because I'm melting the ice.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Kids Don't Know Road Codes

These girls were lucky they were traveling with careful Mum and Dad, (the wee sister is in front of Dad), so no doubt they already knew a few things about what to expect from cars. But kids (even teenagers) don't walk/run/bike/skate preventively, and a few years ago, there was a very good TV commercial/public announcement to that effect.

Roadworks at the Tahunanui Beach roundabouts finished, and now instead of two roundabouts close to each other, we have a big intersection with traffic lights. This requires us to take a long way coming home when we go to our favorite pizza place, Hot Rock Cafe, on Tahunanui Drive, but the change probably suits the increase in the traffic coming in and out of Nelson to and from Richmond and beyond.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Swedish Bakery


I first saw the Merisi-esque elegant cakes in the window last week. This used to be Betty's cake decorating shop, where I once bought a bikini birthday cake for Ben and brought it to work to his great embarrassment.

And you must see these cakes close up!

*****

Zsolt tagged me. You all know how it works, so I'm doing an abridged version. I liked the format Zsolt used, so I'm copying that. Jenny, Curly, you'll have to settle with my lame answers!

1. Zsolt: I was born in Budapest but I don't remember anything:)

Meg: Yokohama, Japan. Mom wrote on that day: "Dad said, 'Oh, no, a girl she'll leave us one day.'" Though I live about 16 hours away from the parents, they are better-informed about my life than they are of my sister (90 min away) or brother (60 min away)!

2. Zsolt: When I was 4 I wanted to eat only bread with butter and honey. My mom was so worried that she took me to the doctor. The doctor said: “Don't worry! He will stop it one day”….and I did:)

Meg: On my 5th birthday, in our green house in Tucson, Arizona, I got up really early, and ran to the loo all excited, and promptly fell in the toilet because Dad left the seat up. Ever since that day, birthdays have been more contemplative than celebratory.

3. Zsolt: I am so lazy that I rather paid for a cleaner lady to visit regularly and clean my home. After Zannnie arrived she kicked out the cleaner lady….but I am still lazy to do housework:)

Meg: I am lazy perfectionist - not a good combination for good housekeeping or gardening, as I can't seem to work incrementally, but I can't trust anyone else to do it for me.

4. Zsolt: Once (I was like 17) I was sitting beside a beautiful blonde girl on a bench. I didn’t have the courage to initiate a conversation with her, so we were just sitting there like two dead fishes…(does anyone have a time-machine?):)

Meg: It took me two-and-a-half years, ladies and gentlemen, to convince Ben we were right for each other, a truly surprising feat considering I have the patience of a... burned out fuse.

5. Zsolt: In 1988 at the Czech-German border a very fat Eastern-German boarder guard stopped us and while his colleague was investigating our car he requested me to follow him to an office. Being there alone he removed his belt. I thought he was going to rape me or something… but he just changed it to an other one…

Meg: I used to work in an embassy in Tokyo. One time a student from that country was caught shoplifting, and I and the First Secretary had to go rescue him from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police HQ. Only I, as the interpreter, was allowed to go to the cell and speak to him, but before that, I was fingerprinted (all 10, not just thumbs), and then go behind three sets of electronic gates/doors, the kind where you walk passed, stop at the line, wait for it to close, then proceed to the next line, and wait for it to open, etc. I bet they still have my prints. The kid stayed in a luxury hotel before getting deported the next day; I just went home.

6. Zsolt: I used to play on guitar in a music group.

Meg: I learned to play the piano, alto sax, and took jazz singing lessons; I enjoyed all of them immensely, but I hate to practice, so never got anywhere with any of them.

7. Zsolt: Isabella is a freak!:) I have an uncanny (a word I never heard before):) ability, too. Anytime I leave my car in a mall’s parking house…I hardly can find it:)

Meg: On some days I have super good instincts about directions; on other days I'm totally off. I used to be able to remember people's names and significant dates instantly; now I have to use my fingers to count how old my nephews are.

8. Zsolt: I never learned English at school. Just by myself…so better not to hear my pronunciation.:)

Meg: I learned good English at school; then I went to the US and learned real American English, and now I use Kiwi English every day. No wonder I have language crisis about six time a day!!

If you laughed at more than three of the above, you have been tagged!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Snowflakes

Ben's candy car didn't pass the Warrant of Fitness on account of one of the wheels being bent or something; it wasn't a total surprise as Ben noticed they were not in an especially great shape when he bought the car. So he's been enjoying a bit of catalogue shopping. But the trouble is, in a small town like Nelson, he can't always get what's in the catalogue, and even if he can, he has to wait for them to be delivered from Christchurch, Auckland, Australia or further beyond, So he's checking what's on stock at the local shops, too. Needless to say, the testosterones in these places are overwhelming, so I wait outside.

From what I understand, the fact that the driver side door's lock sometimes jams and Ben has had to peel the roof to hop in/out like a bad 80's TV cop wasn't what prevented the WOF. Go figure.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tim Wraight & Grant Palliser

Motueka sculptor/carver Tim Wraight during his sculpture talk two Sundays ago; during Manifest, he was the manager/curator of the exhibition, and in attendance every day to talk to interested folks; quite a chore for someone who spends his days in his huge studio alone.

The work behind him is 'Lean On Me IV - Marquette', stained, treated, rough sawn timber, by Grant Palliser. From the flier: "Waimea artist Grant Palliser, (sic) specialises in bronze and stainless steel works and has a high profile in Nelson with five public works including the bronze 'Fishermens' Menorial', on Wakefield Quay, and 'Reef Knot' in Trafalgar St. Grant has produced "Lean On me IV" for Manifest, which is also a marquette for larger works in other materials such as corten steel, aluminium, and stainless steel. Each module of this work has a vital role to play in maintaining the shape and form of the sculpture." This piece was purchased by the organization connected to (??) The James Wallace Art Awards; he had a stainless steel (??) one at Re:fine, which appeared far more delicate and fragile than this wooden one.

We've also posted big hand ("Oracle - future in our Hands"), and rocks on stick ("High Lyers"), and I thought we knew all of his public work in Nelson, but just now found out here's another one at the hospital; slack fans we are!

These two men, and 3D artist Sam Laidlaw, work quietly but tirelessly to support Nelson art in the background as well. They were in charge of loading and transporting all the stuff to Wellington and back in September, for example. For a newbie like me, it's unnerving to deliver work to find these three greats sweating away in the loading dock. Thanks.

This concludes our coverage of 2007 Nelson Arts Festival, I think. If all goes to plan, next year's sculptures will be in the symposium style again, where sculptors work in situ during the 10 days of the festival. OK, just a few more here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

'Mother and Child'

Galvanized wire mesh, machine swarf. (What??)

"Christchurch artist Alan Coleman has gained a reputation for his delicate and evocative works in wire mesh. He is able to capture emotion, movement and the human figure in this light and airy medium. For Manifest, Alan presents a suspended work with a mother and child caught in motion across the space above the exhibition."

The photo in the flier is taken from almost the exact same angle. Originally, this pair was on the ground, but Tim Wraight suggested suspending the pair especially for this exhibition. Googling his name, I see "Allan" as well as "Alan" and am not sure which is the correct spelling.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Spontaneous Art Appreciation

I was going to post another sculpture photo, but you just can't beat a cute kid pic; she looks cuter facing the camera, but I don't know who she is, so here's the 3rd best photo.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dugal Armour, "Inversion"

Dugal Armor is a Nelson born Omaru artist. He has a long involvement with nelson Arts festival. A winner of Awards for his work in recycled materials and the organiser of many symposia in South Canterbury, he currently runs his own gallery and studio in Omaru. 'Inversion' represents a shift in Dugal's work through which, he says, allows him greater clarity in his own process. (From the Manifest Sculpture Exhibition flier.)

This sculpture is made from concrete, steal, brass, stainless steel, glass and silica.

Here is my favourite angle.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Jeff Thomson, Corrugated Iron, and New Zealand

Corrugated iron and Number 8 fencing wire are New Zealand's most popular material, and Jeff Thomson is an artist who made a career out of corrugated iron sculptures. Tim Wraight said he does all kinds of things to them, including (the one I remember) screen printing!

From the Manifest Sculpture Exhibition flier: "... (made of) Corrugated iron, water. Hellensville artist Jeff Thomson needs no introduction to New Zealand art loving public. A household name famous for his corrugated iron works, including the iconic Holden Kingswood stationwagon (sic) on display at Te Papa. Jeff has worked extensively in this material, using it in many different ways. Exhibiting his work in New Zealand and internationally, and well represented in public sculpture, he brings to Manifest three kinetic works incorporating corrugated iron, water and wind."

The day Tim did his talk was gusty and sunny one minute, rainy the next, so the floating objects were quite animated. There is a bar at the bottom of the barrel, and each object is attached to a weight, which is chained to the bar. I think I described it right.

Being an ex-Townie, I used to think anything made of corrugated iron was hidious, but it's part of the rural (and not so rural) landscape of New Zealand and a strange affinity has grabbed hold of me. If I lived on a farm, I would love to see this between the garden and the paddock at the start and the end of each day, coffee/whiskey in my had as appropriate, and just watch the sun/shadow/wind change the appearance of the piece.

Today it's blindingly sunny but the wind is gusting even more, so we're going back to look at these again, as soon as I turn the computer off.

Here's one of the first posts we did in NDP.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Celenod ( "Kaneka" Band )

Here is Meg's fantastic caption and photo from this day. This concert was performed just after the Masked Parade.
More on the sketchbook.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Manifest Sculpture Exhibition / Tagged

We had so much fun last year photographing sculptures, we're back again. We even went to Tim Wraight's floor (ground!) talk so we can get better-educated about the pieces we introduce here, AND they produced a fantastic flier with good info, which helps us in-one-ear-out-the-other types.

So, the flier says: "Nelson artist Graham Snowden, (sic) presents 'Red Square', a freestanding three-dimensional relief work in bright red aluminium. Graham has recently returned to NZ after living in Korea, and is well known for his large scale abstract and geometric works in painted steel. His work is in major collections and corporate spaces. Graham's work from last year's Arts Festival sculpture symposium was recently a finalist in the 2007 Wallace Arts Trust Awards."

For over a decade, the then-local brewery Macs sponsored a sculpture symposium, where artists sculpted in public for the two weeks the Nelson Arts Festival was on; at the end the pieces were auctioned off. Macs, however, moved out of Nelson a couple of years ago, and no longer feels allegiance to Nelson, so they quit the sponsorship. I'm not sure where "Manifest" comes from, but Tim's trying to make this more of an exhibition rather than a symposium now, although Derek Ball is making something during the Festival to be shown towards the end.

Funny how hearing a little about the artist changes my perception of artworks. Before I heard Tim, I thought, "oh, a red slab", but after Tim's talk, I couldn't get enough of this. Does your perception change after you get more info?
* * * * *

Brace yourselves; we're not done yet. We thought we were keeping a low profile, kind of a semi-retirement, until suddenly we got tagged by Slinger of Twin Cities Daily Photo, Stefan Jansson of Photos from Haninge, and JB of Mainz Daily Photo within a couple of days. Y'all must be running out of folks to tag!!! Anyway, we're supposed to tell you eight things about ourselves that you may not know, so here goes:
  1. Ben has never been to Minnesota! In fact, he's only ever been to Hawaii, and two hours in the transit room at the Anchorage, Alaska, airport.
  2. Nether of us remember the circumstances under which we decided to get married. Ben did not get down on one knee, but other than that, only after a year of being married, we couldn't remember how it happened.
  3. Our birthdays and wedding anniversaries (the day we went to register at the ward office, and the day we had our wedding) are all in April.
  4. We are both the eldest of three; we both have one younger brother, and one younger sister.
  5. On our first real date, we went to a Smokey Robinson concert in Tokyo.
  6. Ben was born in the year of the rabbit; I'm a dog.
  7. Ben's the better, and more frequent, cook; I bakes goodies that are bad for you.
  8. Sometimes when religious folks come to the door, I pretend I don't speak English.
Now, the rules dictate that we appoint, urr, tag eight more of you. Ben the resident IT guy says that's the same as spamming, and refuses to do so. ;-) If you have not been tagged, but would like to list eight things about you, consider yourself tagged, by us.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Bring Back the 60s!!

Remember this? Well, we went to Refinery Art Space after my wee procedure to see how my piece was being installed. I was still feeling the effects of anesthetics, but a door to the side office was ajar and this jumped at me.

Grand reopening (or "Relaunch") of Refinery Art Space is on Friday this week. All welcome.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Foot Bridge

Maitai River, Nelson, New Zealand

The little bridge over the Mitai River. The other side is the Maitai River Camp and Cabins.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Doc Adrian and Nurse Barbara

In New Zealand, you can get medical treatment for free, or "publicly", but you have to get on the waiting list and wait and wait if it's not life-threatening. If you have private insurance, you can opt to have treatment done "privately". Ben and I are very healthy for the most part, so though we've always had insurance, a few years ago we opted to reduce our premium by having an "excess" for each claim. We weren't counting on natural wear and tear. To get rid of the excess, we have to cancel our current policy and reply, and I just can't be bothered.

I've arrived at that age where excess (worth only about 100 cups of coffee in town) or no excess, I want things done yesterday, so I went and had a wee procedure at Manuka Street Trust Hospital on Thursday. It's routine stuff, but having visited hospital wards only a few times and never having had a peek into a theater before, I just had to do this . Though I got Doc Adrian's permission, I didn't expect him to pose for us!

I've been of the belief that specialists' hourly (or minutely) charges are ridiculous and extortionary, (that's what dictionary.reference.com said), but I felt sympathetic to the good doctor's schedule Thursday morning; it was one right after another, and after he was finished with me, he had to run to get to his office for the afternoon consultations, or was it a leisurely lunch? Mind you, I'm not getting soft; I'm sympathetic to THIS doctor's schedule for just THIS morning, alright? But the man is so terminally cheerful and meticulous, I can't help it.

And JB would have given me a hard time if I didn't step up, because he stayed overnight, whereas I walked out in a couple of hours.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Not a Lot of Pics Coming Out of Burma

Saturday, at Page & Blackmore Booksellers.

For a small town like Nelson, quite a few refugee families arrived from Burma in the last two years. Several friends are actively involved in the refugee support program.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sweet Aroma

We've had quite bit of rain this week. I took this just outside of our front door in the rain. My camera was inside a plastic bag with just the front of the lens exposed - thank goodness for a supermarket bag and a rubber band.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Naked

On Saturday we went out for breakfast at Saltwater Cafe. Suddenly Ben whispered, "Why is the guy in wheelchair naked?" I just about chocked on my brioche in a comparatively sophisticated, grown-up atmosphere. (Yup, it's the loo sign.)

We went back for breakfast on Sunday, after the previously-mentioned national tragedy; I could not stop staring at the naked guy, this time!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Just Another Sunday Mornig on the Beach

Or Not. All Blacks lost against the French at around 9:57AM Sunday our time, so this could have been a bad case of boat rage. (Long shot here.)

Congratulations to France; commiserations to us all. Four more years to 2011.

(Sorry, Zsolt, when I created the post yesterday afternoon, I inadvertently published it.)
(Cheers, anyway, Michael and Eric, I think.)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Sign Guy

A series today, folks. From Ben's experience with the pharmacy sign, I just assumed this was a stick-on job, but I could be wrong.
On Wednesday I saw the Sign Guy working on the letters with a glue-gun-looking thing, so I assumed he was pasting the letters. It turned out he was sealing the letters, so he can paint over it with black, then remove the seal, and then touch up the letters. And now I regret not asking if the letters were painted or stickers. The surface being so bumpy, though, would you say it was painted?
And I liked the original red letters on the beige wall, as seen at the front of the gallery.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Yet Another Cloud Shot

I love collecting a shots of those clouds and big sky. Even from same spot, it shows me all the different expression in next hour. I guess everyone realised that I'm obsessed with this by now.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Work/Life Balance

I'm having terrible work/life balance; I can only think of the immediate future, as in, tomorrow's the due date, kind-of-thing....

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Crocked Smile

One side of my dad's mouth lifts like this when he smiles. He turned 80 last week.

Monday, October 01, 2007