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  Monday, 27 November 2006

The results are in. I picked up the pictures from Saturdays KAP maiden flight on my way home today. I'm pretty happy. I feel a whole new creative door just opened up for me. I'm rethinking every location I've ever shot, and a few new ones I've not considered before, all because I now have this unique new angle to shot from. I particulary like the straight down shots; they can be quite ambiguous simply because we don't often see things from up there. Can't wait for the kite festival now! I'll relish the challenge of getting close-ups of those gaint kites above Neale Park with all the little people below.

6:46:36 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 25 November 2006

The Kite Aerial Photography rig I built ages ago, finally got its first flight today. I sent it up under my 15 square foot sutton flowform single line kite (above), with an old minolta 35mm film camera onboard the radio controled rig. I choose the Wakapuaka sand flats as a test area, where there was a stiff SW wind blowing this afternoon. With the help of Devon, who took photos and held the kite when I needed an extra pair of hands,  I clicked through two 24 exposure films. There was nowhere I could get them developed today so I probably won't see the results until Monday. I was really pleased with the stability and lift of this kite, even with the camera rig on it. Next time I think I'll be confident enough to put a digital camera up there. The old minolta compact was a good 'saftey' camera to use first time up, in case things went wrong... but nothing did! Because I can't see through the viewfinder when shooting there's a lot of guess work going on. Being able to review the shots (between short flights) on a digital will really be a help in finding good pictures form this new viewpoint.

Here I am bringing the rig in. It is attached about 30 down the line from the kite.

10:06:04 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 23 November 2006

I absolutely love doing this sort of thing with my xtracycle. Why? Because it messes with peoples heads. Forces them to think outside the square their petrol driven minds are stuck inside. I needed some straw for mulch on my garden. It keeps the moisture in, stops the blackbirds from digging to deep and uprooting plants, breaks down to 'feed' the soil for next season, keeps the strawberries of the ground, and it just looks good too. Ted had some organic barley straw at his house which was on the way home, and I just happened to have my wideloader bars with me today. So we traded two bales of straw for twenty litres of worm juice (compost tea) from my worm farm, which I will be riding in with tomorrow morning. Boy, did I see some rubberneckers on the way home! Some did a double take as I rode by, others looked at me like cows in headlights, and a few were belly laughing.

Ted had a wee test ride around Neale Park before I left.

Stopped at the Hira store. Now where am I gonna put the milk and bread!?

(ps. I apoligise for the quality of the pictures. They were taken on my phone since my dead camera has not been replaced yet.)

7:19:54 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 22 November 2006

About a year ago I was musing that if I cycled to work twice a week, and stayed in town, near to work, in my campervan one day a week, saving a trip home, I could almost half the amount of driving I do. Thinking back today I realised that setting that goal, and acting on it, has taken me much further... and quite naturally so. Since then, and especailly over the last 3 or 4 months (since I got my Xtracycle) I have virtually eliminated driving altogether. I used to make the 50km drive to work and back every weekday. Thats 250km a week, or about 1000km a month. Since August I have averaged about 2 drives a month; about 100km worth. A 90% reduction! And without being to smug about it... it was no great sacrifice, in fact it was almost easy. Not to mention the other positive spinoffs, like way better health and fitness, less stress, lots of money saved (I think I'm addicted to endorfins though). And thats just the benefits for me. However marginal, there are benefits for our planet too.

Speaking of benefits for the planet... try this for one day, you never know where it might lead you.

Buy nothing day is this Friday.

This year's Buy Nothing Day has a special poignancy. Never before have our emerging environmental crises been planted so firmly on the lips of the policymakers and the general public. Rather than screaming from the fringes, high-profile economists and scientists are sounding the warnings in respected journals and the halls of parliament -- warnings that our oceans are dying, that the ice shelves are melting, and that we are setting ourselves up for the most massive and widest-ranging market failure the world has ever seen.

All of this points to a profound need for a shift in the way we see things. Recycling, protecting our waterways, driving hybrid cars -- all the old environmental imperatives -- are great, but it's becoming obvious that they don't address the core problem: we have to change our lifestyles, we have to change our culture, and we have to consume smarter and consume less.

This is the message of this year's Buy Nothing Day, and there are only a few days left to get that message out onto the streets. From the quietly sublime to the crazily anarchic, the ways in which you can mark BND are only limited by the imperative not to spend. Strut your stuff as if the fate of whole planet is resting in your hands, because even if each of us only does one small things to contribute, 96,847 small things sure add up!

At the BND campaign headquarters - that's - we've already featured upcoming actions in Japan, the UK, Canada, and the USA, with more to come from all over the world, including Brazil, Colombia, Denmark, Hungary, Spain and Sweden. You can also download posters and other resources, as well as connect with activists in your own little corner of the globe.

Remember: Make a scene. Make people laugh. Make them think. If you have to, make them angry. Just get out there.


I'm planning on a Buy Nothing Christmas too (and that's not as grouchy as it sounds).

9:37:13 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 20 November 2006

I feel like I've lost a limb. My Canon 300D camera is dead.

I was taking photos after the recent rain, when I decided to take one last shot using the flash. I heard the flash unit power up and as I pushed the shutter button... a sudden loud bangy shocky type noise. Not a good noise at all, especially when its less than an inch from your face. A drop of water from the tree above (still wet from the rain) had fallen right onto the flash connection on the top of the camera and shorted it out. That drop of water could have fallen anywhere on the camera body except there, and it would not have been a problem. If I hadn't decided to use the flash just then my camera would still be alive.

Of course I've been seeing great photo oportunities every minute since then. I keep going for the camera, I even switched it on a few times, before realising once again that it is dead.

Hopefully it will covered by insurance (still waiting to hear from them) and I'll be able to replace it, but until then I'm a little lost. The silver lining could be (assuming the insurance come through) is that there have been two newer models in the Canon SLR line since my 300D and a equivilent replacement would need to be the more up to the minute technology of the 400D.

9:28:42 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 15 November 2006

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  Sunday, 12 November 2006

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  Saturday, 11 November 2006

9:10:59 PM    Comment []

"I recommend everybody, at least once in their lifetimes, stop short in their tracks and drop everything. Take a look around, and then pick a new road.", Tonya Poole

2:03:24 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 8 November 2006

I left work pleased to see blue skies and sun after two days of heavy rain.

Also pleased to see the wind had turned SW during the day so I had a steady tail wind home.

Had a laugh with a couple of kids in a sliver station-wagon as we raced around the waterfront. I was doing about 45 kph around Rocks Road with that tail wind, which is just about how fast the traffic was flowing, so we were side by side for quite a while. It was fun to see their faces up against the glass, occasionaly turning to egg Mum (driving) on if I managed to get slightly ahead of them, grinning the whole time. Not sure who won the race in the end but it was funny.

Stopped in at the supermarket to get some chicken, garlic bread, bananas, and cheese and got the usual curious onlookers at the bike stands outside. Anyone who regularly carries loads on their bike never fails to appreciate the Xtracycle.

Picked up a puncture on the cycle track around Neale Park. I pulled a peice of brown glass out of the tire. Was pretty proud that I had the tire off, tube out, puncture located (using my own spit), hole patched, and tire back on in about seven minutes. It took me another seven to get that big boofy road tire inflated back to the 60psi I like to roll with though, but I still reckon I'm getting better at this.

Smiled at the pretty lady who stopped to ask if I was OK just as I was putting the dust cap back on the tire valve. "All fixed, but thanks..." I said as she rode on out of my life.

Chatted to the dude with the stop/go sign at the road works around Atawhai drive while we waited for the opposing traffic to flow through. Finally that strech of road is getting resealed. The shoulder around there was nothing short of bone jarring.

Got home just in time to meet my neighbour who had a dozen oysters to give me. yum.

How was your trip home?

5:52:47 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 6 November 2006

You've heard of aquaculture (or fish farming) and you've heard of hydroponics (growing plants in liquid instead of soil). If you marry the two, you get aquaponics; an intergrated system that reuses water in a continuous cycle to produce an abundance of food. Some claim it is possible with this system to produce food for up to 300 families on an average urban lot.

The idea involves using nutrient rich efffluent from a fish tank to feed hydroponics plants which in turn clean the water to be returned to the tank. There is almost no water loss during the whole cycle making the system virtually drought proof.

I read about this type of system for the first time last week when I found this document on my web travels. Although fascinating, a picture is worth a thousand words, and today I found a short video of an aquaponics system up and running (very succesfully). It is of the Ecocity farm. Could this be the way of the future for our presently fossil fuel dependant food supply? I think it shows very strong promise for the cities of the future.

8:56:21 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 5 November 2006

I've bicycled 135km today. Devon and I rode our xtracycles in the 90km Rotoiti to Renwick fun ride. I also rode to Devons house early this morning, a distance of about 25km, and add to that a fun 10km downhill on the Wangamoa Hills on the way home. I feel better than I thought I would (having never done any rides of that distance before) but I do wonder how my legs are going to feel when I start my ride to work tomorrow morning...

It was an overcast day up at Lake Rotoiti this morning.

This is us after the finish.  I finished in a little under 3 hours (the course record was around 1 hour and 43 minutes!) There were about 189 riders in the field but we were certainly the only Sport Utility Bikes there. I think a few of the racier riders wondered why we were there, but hey, it is called a "fun ride".

7:33:37 PM    Comment []

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  Saturday, 4 November 2006

Rabbit island turned on some perfect weather this afternoon. The photo above is me in my five-wheeler, cruising with my 5.5m PL Pepper kite (photo by Mark)

7:38:29 PM    Comment []

(click for 1024x768 or 1280x1024 desktop wallpaper)

"Who would have guessed it possible that waiting is sustainable. A place with its own harvest." -Kay Ryan

12:12:31 PM    Comment []

It's been a busy week. Somehow it slipped by without any updates here. Its shaping up to be a busy weekend too.

Perfect conditions are predicted this afternoon for kite buggying on Rabbit Island. Low tide is around 3.30pm, which means enough beach to buggy on from about midday and on into the evening. Northerly winds are in the forecast. We've had good afternoon sea breezes every day this week; I know this well because I've had to ride home on my bike everyday with them in my face. Today should be no different only I will be harnessing the wind instead of battling against it. I'm hoping to meet friends Mark and Pamela there too so I'll have someone to buggy with. Really looking forward to it.

Sunday is goind to be a big day too. Devon and I have signed up for "fun ride" organised by one of the local bicycle shops. It's 90km from the shores  of Lake Rotoiti to Renwick (or more precisely, the Renwick Tavern). We've entered in the "social" category and Devons brother, Shane, is going to be our driver. I'll be taking heaps of photos and reporting back after the ride.

9:25:38 AM    Comment []

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