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  Friday, 31 December 2004

I've been a bit down in the dumps the last couple of days. The Tsunami disaster has been part of the reason. I just can't fathom it, and I feel powerless, in that I can't do anything directly to help. The effect was seen in the tides here in NZ. We sit on the same fault line and there have been a couple of significant quakes near here lately, thankfully deep out to sea of our southern coast. I also feel lucky.  It could have been us.

Also contributing to my mood has been our unseasonable weather. Dark grey skies and steady rain for the last couple of days. Today it cleared and with the sun came a Northerly breeze... time for some kite buggy therapy.

I made it out to Rabbit Island by about five o'clock. The low tide was due about 6.45pm and the sun didn't set till 9pm, so a big buggy session was on the cards. Marty from the kite club was there, along with one other buggy pilot and about half a dozen land yachts and blo-karts (we're starting to be out numbered regularly by these guys now). The wind was coming in at a slight angle so it meant a slow zig-zagging tack all the was to the East end, then a fast run back to the West. After all the rain it was a very wet beach today, so everything (and I mean everything) got coated in wet sand. In my ears, up my shorts, all through my beard, and up my nose. In my eyes (even around my sunglasses), in my hair, and down my back. Its actually rather invigorating. I buggied so long and hard that when I did stop, I had a bad case of buggy knees. That's when you go to leap up out of your buggy only to realise that your knees don't work anymore and refuse to straighten. It looks really funny as you waddle around in a half crouch, for the few minutes it takes to wear off.

This is my buggy helmet caked in sand after the 3 hour buggy session. Imagine what my face looked like.

10:43:59 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 29 December 2004

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11:36:46 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 28 December 2004

I counted six different Kereru around the garden today. I have a few tree lucerne, kowhai trees, and a couple of small almond trees that they love feeding on. They strip the trees of their new leaves, climbing right out to the ends of branches barely big enough to support them, to get the freshest shoots, often breaking the branches in the process. The almond trees have had a really hard time surviving them, but it's worth it to have these guys around.

6:14:41 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 27 December 2004

I've been very busy the last few days. Not because of Christmas, though. Christmas is not much effort at all in a bachelors lifestyle.

Tide and wind. The forces of nature have combined this week to provide me with almost perfect kite buggying conditions for three days in a row (three holidays no less). Mid afternoon low tides coincided with smooth Northerly sea-breezes. Rabbit Island beach on a one meter low tide is as wide as a rugby field is long, and about 8km of hard packed sand. I was out there for about 4 hours on into the evening on Christmas Day (after lunch at Mum and Dad's), most of Boxing Day afternoon, and back there today for more. Today I was joined by three other buggy pilots, including Bill and Marty from the Nelson Kite Club. There were also 4 or 5 blokarts there (looked like Christmas presents), which we had fun racing.

I haven't taken a single photo of any kites or buggies, but I did get a few landscapes in the late afternoon light on my way home yesterday.

10:12:18 PM    Comment []

Happy Birthday Briggsy...

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12:09:03 AM    Comment []

  Sunday, 26 December 2004

I've been trying to find a traditional 'Northern' hemisphere photo to post for Briggsy and others who requested in the comments of my last post. This is harder than it sounds in the middle of summer down here. I thought about going to town and photographing the shameless commercialism of the Boxing Day sales... but I wanted to get to the beach.

Instead I photographed something in traditional Christmas colours. However, but has nothing to do with the Northern hemishpere, because I don't want to promote hemispherism (thats my story and I'm sticking to it).

The Pohutukawa is New Zealands Christmas tree, although no-one cuts these native beauties down. Their flowers are the an amazing crimson red and arrive right at Christmas time. A self decorating Christmas tree, what more could you ask for?

9:23:15 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 24 December 2004

Its been really strange weather here today. It's really warm but we've been getting sun showers all day. Everything smells musty as the moisture evaporates almost as quickly as it fell.

Theres a nice Northerly breeze and I was about to go to Neale Park for a Kite Buggy but another shower just began. Instead I'll tell you a  kite buggying story about Neale Park, golfers, and kite buggying.

I have a little on-going game with the golfers that use Neale Park for practise. They are unaware of this little game, but are participants none-the-less. As far as I'm aware golf practise is not allowed on the park. There are plenty of golf courses and driving ranges around but many choose to use the park anyway, and thats fine by me, as long as they look out for kite buggys. To be fair, I've never been hit by a ball and they always give way (some begrudgingly).

My little game involves collecting the golf balls they have hit, as I whizz by them in the buggy. It has to be done quickly and with enough stealth to leave the golfer completely unaware of his loss. It takes skill and timing to cleanly snatch a golf ball off the ground at 30kph or more, and do it smoothly enough so that the golfer does not see it. All they know is that when they get home their bucket of 30 balls, now only has 29 (or 27, or 25 on a good day). The game is easiest when the grass hasn't been mowed for a few weeks and the white clover flowers make it difficult for the golfer to tell how many balls he can see. Some of them use bright orange or yellow balls to combat this. These special coloured balls are worth double points and are the coveted prize of the kite-buggy-golf-ball-grabber.

Its not as easy as it sounds. First you must spot the golf balls, then pilot the buggy close enough to them to grab them, but not too close, so they pass directly under you, making them impossible to reach. There is a window of about 8 inches, to one side (the side away from the golfer) where retrieval is possible. Then there's the timing. At 30kph the snatch is very quick. To slow and your wrist gets bashed by the back axle. At 45kph the golf ball snatch is something a martial arts master could be proud of. "When you can snatch the golf ball from the grass at 50kph, you will be ready grasshopper."

The golfers do sometimes get suspicious. If I notice one eyeballing me after I have liberated a ball or two, I may resort to another method. This involves a two stage approach. First is to run the ball over with the buggy wheel, sinking it into the ground, making it almost impossible to see when the golfer is collecting his balls again. Then ball can then be retrieved later when he has moved on. This method however, is nowhere near as satisfying as the purist ball snatch.

I wonder if I could start a league for my game? Who knows, maybe the Kite Buggy Golf Ball Grab could be an Olympic event one day...

5:26:33 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 22 December 2004

I drove out to the Boulder Bank this evening in the hope of catching a good sunset. Rain clouds in the Western Ranges meant it was pretty grey. So I photographed the surf instead. This shot is a 1 second exposure with the camera resting on a log (cause I'd left my tripod at home!)

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10:27:08 PM    Comment []

It might be a weed but I think the wild carrot, or Queen Annes Lace, as it is more commonly known, has one of the most spectacular flowers on the planet.

9:54:51 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 21 December 2004

I recently built a bird feeding table in the plum tree after chopping off a couple of large dead branches. This blackbird was one of the first birds to take advantage of it. He spent most of this morning singing from this branch just a few feet away from it.

Once again a fantail shows me his better side. These guys are so difficult to photograph. They move so quickly you need an intuition bordering on precognition to know when to push the shutter button.

10:58:52 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 20 December 2004

Hand-held in low light, this shot is blurry and out of focus because it was taken in hurry as the horse walked toward me. The shutter speed was too slow for a hand held exsposure. The focus was on manual setting and I could not keep up with the movement of the horse as he ambled over to check me out. I don't know why I didn't delete it right away. I got home and converted it to greyscale, suddenly I liked it.

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11:00:26 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 19 December 2004

"Working to establish a more comfortable style of survival has grown to feel complete in and of itself as a reason to live, and we've gradually, methodically, forgotten our original question... We've forgotten that we still don't know what we're surviving for."
The Celestine Prophecy - James Redfield

7:10:46 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 18 December 2004

Another post has appeared on Burning Baghdad. I get worried when she doesn't post for a while, wondering if she has joined the body count.

There is still no real news, or blogs coming out of Falluja, at least that I can find. Why is there still a media blackout, and why is there still no one (including aid groups) allowed in or out of the city, and why are missile armed jets still being deployed, if the city was 'secured' weeks ago?

"At least as many US soldiers have been injured in combat in this war as in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, or the first five years of the Vietnam conflict, from 1961 through 1965."

Its all still happening, its getting worse, and the mainstream media and their audience are getting bored of it, and changing the channel.

I encourage you all to take the time to read this article

...and now its seems Iran is next on the hit list. Again its the nuclear boogy-man being used to scare the world into approval.

Nuclear Age's 60th Year

ZNet Commentary
News Media in the 60th Year of the Nuclear Age December 11, 2004
By Norman Solomon

Top officials in Washington are now promoting jitters about Iran's nuclear activities, while media outlets amplify the message. A confrontation with Tehran is on the second-term Bush agenda. So, we're encouraged to obliquely think about the unthinkable.

But no one can get very far trying to comprehend the enormity of nuclear weapons. They've shadowed human consciousness for six decades. From the outset, deception has been key.

Lies from the White House have been part of the nuclear rationalizing process ever since August 1945. President Harry Truman spoke to the American public three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Calling the civilian-filled Japanese city a "military base," Truman said: "The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians."

Actually, U.S. planners had sought a large urban area for the nuclear cross hairs because -- as Manhattan Project director Gen. Leslie Groves later acknowledged -- it was "desirable that the first target be of such size that the
damage would be confined within it, so that we could more definitely determine the power of the bomb." Thirty-five years later, when I looked at the U.S. Energy Department's official roster of "Announced United States Nuclear Tests," the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were on the list.

We're now six decades into the Nuclear Age. And we're farther than ever, it seems, from a momentously difficult truth that Albert Einstein uttered during its first years, when the U.S. government still held a monopoly on the split atom. "This basic power of the universe cannot be fitted into the outmoded concept of narrow nationalisms," he wrote. "For there is no secret and there is no defense; there is no possibility of control except through the aroused understanding and insistence of the peoples of the world."

Today, no phrase could better describe U.S. foreign policies -- or American media coverage -- than "narrow nationalisms." The officials keep putting on a proudly jingoistic show, and journalists report it without fundamental challenge.

So, any whiff of sanity is conspicuous. Just before Thanksgiving, when the House and Senate voted to cut funding of research for a new line of tactical nuclear weapons including "bunker buster" warheads, the decision was reported as the most significant victory for arms-control advocates since the early 1990s. That's because the nuclear-weapons industry has been running amok for so long.

While Uncle Sam continues to maintain a nuclear arsenal capable of destroying life on Earth, the American finger-wagging at Iran is something righteous to behold.

Current alarms, wailing about an alleged Iranian program to develop nuclear weapons, are being set off by the same Bush administration officials who declared that an invasion of Iraq was imperative because Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. As we now know, he didn't.

But that hasn't stopped the Bush team from launching the same kind of media campaign against Iran -- based on unverified claims by Iranian exiles with a track record of inaccuracy and a clear motive to pull Washington into military action. Sound familiar?

We ought to be able to recognize what's wrong with U.S. officials who lecture Iran about the evils of nuclear-arms proliferation while winking at Israel's arsenal, estimated to include 200 nuclear weapons.

When Einstein called for "the aroused understanding and insistence of the peoples of the world," he was describing a need that news media ought to help fill. But instead, mostly we get the official stories: dumbed-down, simplistic,
and -- yes -- narrowly nationalistic. The themes are those of Washington's powerful: our nukes good, our allies' nukes pretty good, unauthorized nukes very bad.

That sort of propaganda drumbeat won't be convincing to people who doubt that a Christian Bomb is good and a Jewish Bomb is good but an Islamic Bomb is bad. You don't have to be an Einstein to understand that people are rarely persuaded by hypocritical messages along the lines of "Do as we say, not as we do."

Norman Solomon is co-author, with Reese Erlich, of "Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You." His columns and other writings can be found at ."Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America's Experience With Atomic Radiation" (Delacorte Press, 1982), a book by Harvey Wasserman and Norman Solomon, is online at:

11:13:16 AM    Comment []

  Friday, 17 December 2004

Kaycee just fell out of bed.

It would have been really funny (ok, it was really funny), but she had such a dazed and confused look on her face, that I felt sorry for her. She must have been in a really deep sleep. I was sitting at the computer, wondering what to blog about, when I heard a big thud and looked up to she her waking up on the floor. I don't think she knew what happened and wanted to hide under the bed for the next ten minutes. Poor thing.... bloody funny though.

...and that's all that happened here today. goodnight. :)

9:35:29 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 16 December 2004

I didn't forget, I just ran out of Wednesday. This week, one for the neddy nutter... you know who you are.

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10:36:08 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 15 December 2004

Whoops, I haven't posted for two days! I've been busy tinkering with new software. I just acquired Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5 for work and have to learn to use it, before someones asks me how. Anyone who has tried video editing knows how much time is involved. I reckon you need at least 1 hour editing for every minute of video you want to produce. My 4 minute video has taken about twice that, but its my first time with a new program so there was a bit of reading to do.

I've used video editors before, like Windows Movie Maker (uggh), I-Movie, and Studio DV, but Premiere Pro makes them all look like toys. It has all the bells and whistles so unlike Windows Movie Maker, (you do it Bill's way or you don't do it), you are only limited by your imagination and technical tenacity. It does, however assume a professional level of knowledge, which I guess is fair considering it has 'Pro' in its name. It assumes you know stuff like what de-interlacing is, and why you get combing (technical term for funny horizontal lines sticking out of anything that moves to fast in your video) when you don't de-interlace before you output to the encoder. I know this now after much wailing and gnashing of teeth reading.

On Monday I took a video camera from work, down to the Wakapuaka Sand-flats. I set it up on a tripod, set it recording, then went for a buggy, stopping three or four times to change the camera angle. I filled a one hour tape then used that footage, and a cool tune by Cake to produce this four minute video (15mb). (warning: lyrics use the 'f' word about 97 times, so if you're at Grandma's house, put the headphones on) .

7:08:30 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 12 December 2004

Today was the monthly Club-day for the Nelson Kite Club. Usually it's held at Rabbit Island Beach but today the venue was moved to the Wakapuaka Sand Flats. South-west winds were the reason for the change. Rabbit Island is a North facing beach, so the SW wind there is coming off the land at a 45 degree angle, and it gusts badly. At the sand flats its a different story. On its way across the waters of Tasman Bay, the wind smooths out and hits Wakapuaka with steady force.

The surface at Wakapuaka is a hard packed, sun baked, crust of old tidal sand. There's very little rolling resistance so it is a very fast surface to kite buggy on. Because it's only 10 minutes from my place, it's like my 'home turf'. I feel right at home there. I've spent many afternoons out there, on my own, in a screaming southwester trying to set impromptu land speed records, laughing out loud where no one can hear me.

Todays wind was a little changeable for a start. I changed from my 3.0m Blade, to my 6.3m C-Quad, and then as the wind picked up again,  back down to a pair of Excaliburs (which I re-bridled this morning after last weeks little episode here).

I had forgotten how much fun a simple two-line stack of delta kites, like the Excaliburs, can be. I fly them with no back-strap or harness, just a pair of padded wrist straps, so the power is very direct and my arms take the full load. I feel very in-touch with the kites that way and can feel every little ripple in the wind. The other great things about them (apart their relatively low price tag), is the speeeeed. The delta shape is very fast through the air, and has a much higher top speed than most other kite designs. This means that providing theres enough wind speed, and you've got your head on right, you can go as fast as you dare. I did a couple of very fast downwind runs out there today. I didn't have my speedo on but I would guess I was doing 65-70kph. The speed I like, its stopping at the other end that gets scary. The only way to do it is to throw the buggy into a slide to shave off speed. Great fun, and a great way to bend wheel bolts (aye, Marty).

Marty demonstrates the slow-me-down-quick power-slide method.

Bill, buggy pilot and BBQ chef.

Bill heading upwind with his citrus coloured 4.2m C-Quad, against a vivid sky.

A close up of an Ozone foil. I've haven't flown one (yet), but I really like the shape of these foils.

The pilot of that Ozone foil pulling some tricks.

Bills modified Quad-foil. Theres quite a few miles on this kite. It was rescued from a bad home where the bad owner had tried to convert it to a two line setup (duh... they call it a quad-foil for a reason). They must have then flown it through a barbed wire fence or two for good measure. Bill bought it for a bargain, rebuilt it and has been happily clocking up the miles ever since.

Marty showing off his 2-wheeling skills.

We rounded off this great afternoon of kite flying and buggying with a bar-q-cue (courtesy of Bill and Barbara). The Nelson Kite Club committee have been trying to think of ways to get more club members to show up for club events. Personally, after an afternoon like today, I'm sure they don't know what they're missing.

9:49:13 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 10 December 2004

I just made another post on KBNZ. If you have ever wanted to know how to make pads for your kite buggy, for just $8, you're in luck. If not you might like to look at the pictures anyway :)

7:25:44 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 9 December 2004

I think Kaycee has been moonlighting in the USA. Check out the third photo in this post on Blue Ridge Blog. Looks just like her, (with a touch of jet-lag).

Speaking of the stumpy one (as she has become known lately), I just came across this picture of her from last year. Its still my favourite, because it will always be how I remember her.

10:54:10 PM    Comment []

I've uploaded a few new shots to the CoffeeWaffle store over the last couple of days (Poster & Prints button on the left of this page). Christmas is coming and a framed print makes a great present. The store has almost covered my site hosting costs this year. One or two more sales and I'll break even. Buy... buy..... buy........ by the way, if you see a photo on this site, and would like me to make it available in the store, just ask!

8:53:45 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 8 December 2004

I'm not sure what species these birds are, but they might be Oyster-catchers (someone correct me if I'm wrong). 

(after a couple of comments and further investigation, I now think these are Pied Stilts.)

I was watching them this evening,from Boulder Bank Drive at the North end of Nelson Haven. The ripples you can see on the surface of the water are caused by not rain, they are small fish darting around in the shallow water. These three birds in particular were fishing together, moving in a line like a dragnet.

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11:35:18 PM    Comment []

Today was a top day. A beautiful, crisp Northerly all afternoon. I was at work but just had to quit an hour early,  to go kite buggying, (I'll make it up some time when the wind isn't so perfect). I got to Neale Park around 4.30pm and got out my buggy and the Blade II.

One hour in a 18-20 knot Northerly with this little kite, on a kite buggy is the best therapy, ever. The wind began to ease off a little as the sun crept lower toward the horizon.  Just as I was thinking about changing to my 6.3m C-Quad, Ted and Sam showed up.

That's Sam. Don't panic if you can't see his legs... they're camouflaged ;)

and that's Ted. Now I must say something about the new helmet. I'm sure its very comfortable, and practical and everything... but the look, justs begs for a name.  Alein? Cyclops? One-eyed Blowfly? Squadron LeaderDarth was the first to spring to my mind. I'm sure it'll grow on me Ted :)

We hooned around the park until almost 8pm. As I write this I have a very sore backside, because I decided, while I was having so much fun, I would jump my buggy. The City Council kindly left a big pile of top soil in one corner of the park several months ago. Obviously it was put there for us to ride and jump kite buggys all over. I buggyed off the side of it, without first checking my seat adjustments to ensure I had enough bum-to-ground clearance for a trouble free landing.  I didn't. It hurt so bad I had to land the kite, jump out of the buggy seat and rub it... a lot. Anyone watching would have had a good laugh.

After almost 4 hours of buggying I was treated to a well-formed sunset on the way home. Heres a taste...

like I said... a top day.

9:58:49 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 6 December 2004

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4 Cx.

9:30:20 PM    Comment []

I drove Briggsy to the Picton Ferry this morning. Another blue-sky day in Nelson and Picton, but a different story in Cook Straight. The 11.30am sailing had been cancelled due to the rough conditions out there. By the 1pm sailing the weather gauge in the ferry office had moved from very rough to a more sedate rough, and sailings were commencing again. So you lot that are expecting her up north tonight, be aware that she is now several hours late.  She didn't manage to book a bus North from Wellington before sailing so how far she gets tonight will depend on: 1, how long the ferry crossing takes (I hope its not too bad Briggsy), and 2, what buses are available in Wellington when she gets there. Milky's' Mum might be in for another visit yet.

Thats all I know... txt Briggsy for further updates. We now return you to our regularly scheduled programme.

6:50:01 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 5 December 2004

Briggsy arrived back in town today, right into the middle of the Nelson Santa Parade. Kids everywhere, loud speakers blaring out cheesy Christmas music along the entire main street. No chance of getting a park anywhere near the bus station. Not that the bus was at the station as expected, this one went to the visitor centre instead. Not knowing this, and the fact that the bus was late, and I'd lost her cell phone number, meant I had to drive home again without finding her. Meanwhile Briggsy had phoned my place and left a message to explain that the bus was late and that she was going to an internet café to she if she could get hold of me that way. I missed her called by just two minutes. So I went here and left the previous post, telling her to meet me at the Post Office. What do you know, it worked. By the time I drove back into town, found a park 3 blocks away and walked to the post office. I wish I had my camera with me. There she was, standing among the parade spectators under the loudspeakers playing nauseatingly loud Christmas songs looking helpless, like she needed rescuing. I thought about leaving her there for a little while longer to she how long she could take the music, but I took pity.

The weather threaten to dampen our planned horse riding trip this evening, but it to, took pity on us. The only rain we got while on the ride was at the halfway point when we were inside a little cottage having refreshments (juice and muesli bar).

I got the biggest horse there, in fact Volvo is the largest horse in Nelson I was told. It certainly looked like a long way to fall. We reached an understanding and he was a very gentle ride, although I'm sure I wasn't the most comfortable rider for him. We did some trotting and cantering, well he did... I just hung on and tried to find my rhythm.

This was the halfway point of the ride where we stopped for refreshments. I could quite easily live here. During the ten minutes we spent inside it started raining very hard outside. We all donned oilskin raincoats for the ride home but within a few minutes of leaving the rain stopped as quickly as it began, leaving us to a nice fresh clean looking valley.

10:33:37 PM    Comment []

If your reading this Briggsy, I got your phone messages. I missed the one a 1.15 by about 2 minutes. I just got back from twon after trying to find you. Now that I know your there, I'll meet you in about 20mins (1.40) outside the Post Office which is at the bottom of the main street (with the ugly clock tower).
1:23:08 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 4 December 2004

The first post has been made to KiteBuggyNZ ( I've put a new navigator button on the left linking to it. This was an idea of Craig's that I volunteered to help create. Its the first movable type installation I've done and I have to say it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.

KBNZ will be a collaborative web log. Authors will all be invited kite buggy pilots from around NZ (invites going out soon guys). To start with there's Craig and I, but we have at least half a dozen other experienced kite buggy pilots in mind whose exploits and expertise would make good reading. We'll post gear reviews when we try a new kite or buggy, trip reports when we go on a kite bugging mission and need to rave about it,  guides to local spots, and links to any kite buggies in the news.

Next step, post a profile on me, a profile for Craig, and send out the invites...

10:00:40 AM    Comment []

  Thursday, 2 December 2004

I was dying to get away from work this afternoon. All day I've been watching the tops of the trees outside the office window getting buffeted by a screaming south-west wind. All I wanted to do was get down to the Wakapuaka Sand Flats and blast around in it with my kite buggy. Now some people might have said that there was too much wind. The fact that it was gusting badly would have put off others... but not me. oh no.

The sudden gusts that were catching the van and threatening to put it into the roadside ditch on the way home could have been a subtle warning. The fact that I almost lost my footing (twice) in wind gusts, while walking kites and buggy across the sand flats should have rang some bell in my head. I proceeded to set up two Excaliburs, thinking one might not go fast enough (yeah, right). When I turn around my buggy was 200 meters downwind travelling on its own. "That doesn't usually happen", I thought, but it didn't phase me. I retrieved the buggy and proceeded to launch a double stack of Excaliburs, slightly to the side of the wind to soften the blow as they lift off and climb...

The instant the wind caught the kites it snapped both sides of the front kites bridles simultaneously with a 'pop', as if the 150 pound braided cord was sewing cotton, and left me deflated on my backside. The kites went into a 'deathspin' around the single steering line still attached, which ended abruptly when they met the ground again a few seconds later. It's probably lucky they did break, otherwise I could have been in for a bit of a skate, on a surface that is not much fun to skate on. About then I thought to myself, "maybe it's a little bit too windy", and promptly congratulated myself on the understatement of the day.

I packed up the broken kites and lines, leaving the buggy upside-down so it wouldn't blow away again. I then sat in the buggy, put my kite (in bag) on my lap and buggied briskly downwind, back to the van... with just the wind on my back for power. Yeah... maybe it was too windy.

8:41:49 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 1 December 2004

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11:12:37 PM    Comment []

Well, Briggsy left here to continue her tour of NZ yesterday. The house seems strangely quiet now. Not that shes noisy or anything, she just settled in like she belonged here. New Zealand seems to do that to her. As others have already said, Q4A has really come alive lately.

We didn't get to go horse riding on Monday as we had planned. What are the odds of 30 people showing up at Stonehurst Farm to go riding on a Monday afternoon in November? Better than we had anticipated apparently. We missed out. So we will go this coming Sunday evening when she passes back through town on the way North again. We've booked this time. I'm not to sure about this horse riding caper. Its been many years since I have been on a horse, but if Briggsy can Pilot a Kite Buggy, I guess I can ride a horse.

In other news... at work today I've been trying out speech recognition software. I can now dictate emails and other documents, launch programs, and operate windows menus all by voice. This means I can drink coffee, pick wax out of my ear, and continue working at the same time! Its still a little clunky and some of the mistakes it makes are amusing but they say its gets better as you train it. I have to learn not to curse out loud at the machine anymore. If my PC is annoying me I have to say 'stop listening' to disable the microphone before I can swear at it. Otherwise it will diligently record every word I say. Obviously this kind of takes the sting out of it. I might have to resort to hand gestures. 

5:40:57 PM    Comment []

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