Jandalman and the Tongariro Alpine Crossing – a cautionary tale

By now some of you may have heard the tale of Jandalman, or seen it on some of the local guiding Facebook pages and sites. The story has been hammered pretty hard locally to get the mountain safety message out there…

This is the tale of the tourist who was found on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing a week or so ago, trying to walk out in bare feet having lost his jandals in the snow (yes, you did read that right!). Of even greater concern was that the same guiding parties turned back four other similarly ill-equipped (at least they had shoes) walkers after this.

Jandalman

Jandalman, in black, sitting on the blue thermal mat, being worked on…

This is the story as posted.

“…TOURISTS – PLEASE USE THE RIGHT GEAR AND GUIDES

This guy missed out on his Darwin Award this weekend…… by an ultra slim margin.
We found him on the Tongariro crossing, he attempted it in Jandals (thongs, Flip Flops), that jacket and jeans. Lost his jandals and jumper in a fall, what a surprise, No gloves, no hat, no food, no water, no over trousers, no map, no compass, solo attempt etc. …

When we found him he was on his way down, trying to get to his car in bare feet (He had made it to the top and fallen down Red Crater I think) and having fallen his hands were well cut up. His brain had switched to survival mode and he was focused on walking the last 5+ km of snow, ice and sharp volcanic rock to his car.

NOTE TO REMEMBER – His brain was so focused on survival, survival instinct kicked in, that I had to insist he stopped and let us help him. He was initially refusing help.

Stopped him, gave him warm chocolate drink, bandaged his hands, put socks on feet and hands and then another Kiwi party came down (also dragging down with them two more terrified, bleeding, Frenchmen who at least had sneakers on, not much use). A member of this other Kiwi group had a spare set of boots and agreed to take our guy down as well so that I could carry on.

Had to put the boots on him, he could not do it for himself.

Had to fix his hands, he could not do it for himself.

We then started up again and found two more idiots coming up behind us, also in jeans, sneakers etc. We turned them around too, they were Polish.

This guy is from France. Very close to being “…his name WAS from France…”

It is quite scary that people are still regularly ignoring or not even seeking the advice available from I-Sites and DOC Visitor Centres, and that there remains a strong perception that the mountains are safe and benign environments. Many of them only here what they want to hear and so the slightest hint that a walk may be walkable is all they need to start off. Even after being warned about winter conditions on the Crossing, a number still try to bluff their way through although many are stymied when shown a picture and asked to point to the crampons.

To assist with education and information on conditions and activities around the Park, DOC has established a Facebook page on which its posts updates on daily conditions around the Park.  So if you’re visiting, maybe check this before you head off..? A free helicopter ride is not all it’s cracked up to be…

Silhouette | The Daily Post

Silhouette | The Daily Post. This week, share a photo with a silhouette.

DSCF8711Having a large dog that likes to watch TV is often like getting the last seat at the movies – right behind the guy with the big hair…

This is Kirk…his habit started with dogs shows like It’s Me Or The Dog and A Dog’s Show and we could always tell with shows used real dog sounds and which relied on canned noises by the level of interest he would show. His taste has slowly broadened over the years to include animal shows, especially Country Calendar; reality shows – possibly because of the uncanned emotion they display; and the lower end of ‘B’ science fiction movies – basically the cornier the monster costume, the more he likes it….

When we let the dogs inside, Lulu will smooch around for cuddles and attention but Kirk will race around to the TV. If it’s not on, he will sit up straight (because that’s how good dogs get what they want) in front of the screen if it’s not not and cry until it’s is either turned on for him or he’s gets the messages and slouches onto his mat to sulk. If the TV is already on, he will watch for a few seconds and pass judgement on the content by either going to sleep – with the standard of modern TV, he sleeps a lot – or arranging himself so it can watch from his mat…

There are three scratches on the screen. That’s from when he preemptively protected me from an on-screen polar bear. So he’s not allowed to watch TV on his own anymore…

Islands in the Mist

This was yesterday’s a recent challenge in WordPress’ Writing 101 workshop a month or so ago (how time flies when you have work): “…today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about…”

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One of the reasons that I like living here so much is that it can feel so isolated from the world and its issues…some times this can be a jungle moon of Endor, or a secluded part of Pandora’s Hallelujah Mountains…DSCF8560

The mist deadens sounds of the world and creates our own little world…free to imagine and wonder…DSCF8561

Last night when I came home, just on sundown it was like this…

DSCF8645OK, so the actual challenge was to write 400 words but doesn’t each picture speak a thousand? And it’s Friday night and we need to get fed before Coro…and I am also looking forward to ending Phase I of my retro TV groove, with the final episode of UFO already lined up in Plex. Phase II arrived in the mail tonight so the Space 1999 marathon will start tomorrow…

I always thought that Space 1999 was so much cornier than UFO which was the first grown-ups programme I was allowed to watch on a regular basis…type faster, type faster…no typos, no typos, I can already hear Jim Hickey making up the weather for tomorrow…looks like rain and lots of it…only 30 minutes now to get dinner ready…no pressure…but type faster, no typos…

Phew! Can smell dog poo on my boots…poo patrol on Monday I guess…so between UFO and Space 1999, maybe I already grew up enough to start to lose my suspension of disbelief…already between ten and twelve…? But I still like the purple wigs and tinfoil body suits – did they scratch? – and, as always with Gerry Anderson, the toys machines rule…UHU02 has made the SHADO Interceptor: is Sky 1 on the cards.. although I still have the Imai one of variable scale in the works…Probably not, I think the next Interceptor he will design will below to the Angels…

And speaking of Angels, PRIME TV, where is our Doctor fix now that the fez-wearing ‘custard and fish fingers’ idiot is gone…? And speaking of idiots, I can hear Seven Sharp prattling now…Dad, Dad, we want dinner…OK, OK, coming, coming…”let’s feed the dogs” (words never spoken out loud in jest) and there we go: 400-ish words and the challenge done…

Writing 101, Day Nineteen: Don’t Stop the Rockin’ | The Daily Post.

Banana bread in a cup

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Start with a big mug and a long spoon…

It’s been a while since I visited my 30 Cake in a Cup Challenge…I either haven’t had the late night munchies, or when I have, hadn’t had the makings…The stars aligned the other night when I found some bananas frozen in the freezer…

I found the recipe at Pass the Sushi…I couldn’t see what to do with the extra teaspoon of sugar on the original recipe so I left it off and it doesn’t seem to have hurt it at all…

The makings

3 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1/4  teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon milk
1 ripe banana, mashed

The making

In a bowl, or right in the mug, whisk flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and soda.

Add egg and combine until just incorporated with dry ingredients.

DSCF8633Mix in vanilla, oil, milk and mashed banana.

Pop into the microwave for 3 minutes.

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It will seems to go a little crazy…

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…but will turn out OK…

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A tad plain alone…

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…but more social with ice cream…

DSCF8640First impressions were good, tastes much like a butterscotch pudding with banana instead of golden syrup…think it’s a keeper…


Happy Dinner

DSCF8606After quite a few weeks of rice-based dinners, I’ve gone a little conventional for a while…O also participating in a taste test for tomato sauce and, quite frankly, tomato sauce and rice are not the happiest of combos…

To provide a consistent taste testing environment for the next eight (of ten) days of testing, it’s sausages for dinner…Having forgotten that I had applied to do this testing, the cupboard was a little bare but tonight they had some chicken and tarragon sausage packs on special at the service station that also acts as out closest dairy…very nice with corn fritters and a couple of eggs…simple and tasty…

 

Training the Iraqi Army: The Sequel

Manawatu Standard 1 Jul 14

A sequel often fails to live up to the success of the original movie. A rehashed storyline, tired characters and predictable dialogue often make for painful viewing. Some things are simply best left as they are.

So what then to make of the recent announcement by U.S. President Barak Obama to send some 300 military advisors to help train the Iraqi Army to defeat the forces of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? Certainly the light footprint, rather than deploying tens of thousands of American combat troops, represents a more pragmatic approach from a nation still battle-weary from Afghanistan and Iraq Part 1 (though some could argue this new commitment is Part 3 when considering the Gulf War of 1990-1991). During the past seven days many western media and security experts have had to resort to hourly news cycles, such is the speed of this fast-moving crisis.

While there is no stated intention for U.S. troops to engage in combat, the rapid advances by Islamic militants and the chaotic environment of this intensified and new insurgency may, in some circumstances, make that very difficult. No doubt once on the ground the advisors will be careful to keep out of the battle but as all veterans know, when you’re caught in a fire-fight everybody fights.

Within the United States, there are furious accusations and blame concerning the training and resources dedicated to raising the Iraqi Army. As reported in the New York Times, “training the Iraqi Army and other security forces was a seminal mission for United States forces before the last American troops left in 2011”. $25 billion has been spent training and equipping Iraq’s security forces, according to a report by the special inspector general on Iraq.

Lieutenant General Mark Hertling and Lieutenant General James Dubik, both former senior U.S. commanders who served in Iraq, defend the training of the local security forces despite the recent losses. Blame appears to be directed at Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s, with claims of purging some of the most talented commanders and using the military to target political rivals. Dubik is reported to have panned the political interference of the military, simply stating “they are crumbling”.

Questions will now be asked of the training of foreign security forces and undoubtedly the preparation of the trainers themselves. Was cultural awareness and language proficiency sufficient to teach indigenous forces? Did it matter that ones teaching style might be different to the learners learning style, especially if the skills such as firing a rifle are more akin to rote learning? Certainly ‘mechanical’ skills are taught quite quickly, and remaining competent is more about repetition than critical thinking.

But, what then of developing such things as morale, esprit de corps, and defending both the state and the individuals of the state – regardless of ethnicity? What about ingraining an understanding of the rule of law and subordination of the security force to its civilian leaders? Leaders, that scholar Marina Ottaway reasons “should not try to impose common identities on deeply divided peoples but to organise a state that can administer their territories and allow people to live together despite differences”.When conditions such as these are met, meaningful reform and increased and enduring capability of the indigenous security sector has a chance for success.

Ironically, many commentators seem to have forgotten Obama’s speech at the West Point Military Academy just five weeks ago. “I am calling on Congress to support a new counterterrorism partnership fund of up to $5 billion, which will allow us to train, build capacity and facilitate partner countries on the front lines”, said the President. His speech was either prescient or coincidental. Irrespective, from a foreign policy standpoint, the training of foreign security forces will be a long-term objective. American historians will no doubt hear echoes of President John F. Kennedy’s 1962 speech at West Point, “In the years ahead, some of you will serve as advisors to foreign missions or even to foreign governments”. Kennedy further impressed on his audience the need to understand the utility of military power and also the limits of military power.

The intervention of American advisors, even in concert with airstrikes requested by the government of Iraq, will not bring closure to this current crisis. For the U.S. or even the U.N. the dilemma remains familiar. Do something, which could turn out to be counter-productive, or do nothing which might seem counter intuitive. Regardless, as the intervention of advisors has already occurred the focus must be on helping arrest the threat of total civil war and establishing the necessary space for political dialogue, negotiation and ultimately reform.

If this is the outcome achieved, then perhaps this whole situation is not so much a sequel but rather an epilogue that is desperately needed by all the people of Iraq.

____________

Josh Wineera is a former irregular warfare lecturer with Massey University. He is a PhD candidate with the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago. His doctoral research is on training foreign security forces. 


Wear sunscreen…

 

…and other handy things to know…

Yes, winter has finally hit the Central Plateau…and with it, the usual outbreak of idiots…

Handy tip #1. Snow is wet, hard and cold. Just because it is sunny, does not mean it is warm. Dress appropriately and, yes, that does include wearing sunscreen…

Handy tip #2. Your big 4WD does not make you immune from the laws of physics, or the road.

Sub-tip 1 to #2: when you crest a hill on the ice-covered road and you see the flashers on the Highway Patrol car at a breakdown, don’t hit your brakes. Score SH47 3, 4WD idiots 0.

Sub-tip 2 to #2: Chains are not equal to 4WD, nor do they make you a world-class rally driver. If you are not used to driving on ice, get the bus. If you miss the bus, get out of bed earlier.

Sub-tip 3 to #2: The absence of signs saying ‘slow down’ does not equal a defence when you are in the ditch. Use of the defence may justifiably be taken as provocation by the guy you hit on your way into the ditch.

Handy tip #3. Your quad headlights that can blind a possum at five kilometres will not melt ice on the road. Bridges and shaded corners may be treacherously slippery all day – drive appropriately.

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DSCF8580 DSCF8579 Cautionary tales and idiots aside, heavy snow fall often sucks all the moisture out of the air and makes for beautiful days…The lower level tracks in the Park are all accessible and walkable but the higher levels of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing remain restricted to those with equipment AND experience above the snow line – those without should seriously consider signing up with one of the guided tours because a. it is safer, b. the Crossing in winter is a totally different experience to the Crossing in summer, and c. it is an experience not to be missed.DSCF8583DSCF8584DSCF8585 DSCF8586

More nuts

Aside

My latest spin on the peanut chicken rice recipe ..there was some chicken cheap at the supermarket so o grabbed two packs. As normal, nothing is as good as it seems, and each pack was only 3-4 stripped skeletons…as an experiment I made up the peanut rice mix as above and then dropped the chicken into it….
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There wasn’t enough meat on each bird to make it worth removing before cooking but I was hoping that it would loosen up as it cooked and that I would be able to scrap some off…
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That worked out nicely and in addition to contributing to the stock, each contributed a bit of meat that was easy enough to scrape off the cooked skeleton…

All frozen and placed in the freezer for a lazy cooking day…

Note: this was originally written as a comment for the thread linked at the top of the post but Google decided that it didn’t like the WordPress URL so this was the alternative to save the text until Goggle got its knickers untwisted…since it became a post in its own right it might as well stay one…

The Story of O



OK, OK, minds out of the gutter…the WordPress Daily Prompt a couple of days ago was “You just inherited $1,000,000 from an aunt you didn’t even know existed. What’s the first thing you buy (or otherwise use the money for)?

Well, even though that sounds like a whole lot of money, these days it’s probably not as life-changing as it may sound…It would really help at the moment but for the most part, I’m thinking small for my top three…

FirstDSCF8481

This is my PC keyboard – the camera is a harsh mistress and (in theory) does not lie but it isn’t really as dusty as it would appear here – it has given long and trusty service and I have finally started to wear through the markings of some of the keys…N was the first to go, followed by O and then I; T and A will most likely be next…A clever cryptologist who cares about such things might be able to develop some stunning insights into my writing patterns from this wear pattern…or maybe these keys just weren’t as well-manufactured as the rest…who knows?

What this means though is that the number of unmarked keys is directly proportional to the number of typos in my work – if I am not careful. And as careful as I am – I still have that difficult transposition habit between ‘now’ and ‘not’ (just play around with that for s second and you’ll see the potential) – the occasional error still slips through and the one that has been slipping through the most is substituting O for I…so a million dollars would mean a new keyboard and the end of the subliminal recounting of the Story of ‘O’…

Second

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I would give these guys a full makeover and invest in a pallet of Purina One food for them. I won a year’s supply of this at the end of last year in the annual Purina contest; even though even Purina admit that it’s a year’s supply for a much smaller dog, this has been much appreciated while times have been a little tight, and has been, literally, a lifesaver for Kirk. At the end of last year, he was getting very sore and stiff around his hips, getting up off his mat was a real strain for him, and I was having to seriously consider that one-way trip to the vet’s.

In less than four week’s after going onto the Purina One food, all stiffness and pain had disappeared and now, almost six months later, he has only indicated pain in his hips once and that was after his older sister shoved him into a post when they were playing (older siblings…it’s so good to be one!!!). It don’t really get into 100% product endorsements but this has made a massive difference to Kirk’s quality of life and thus my own. It is not that much more expensive but in this rural area, the larger more economic bags are hard to find.

Third

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There wasn’t a door here on Friday morning…

I would get someone in to finish the bathroom. It probably would have been done already if this year had not presented its unique blend of cash flow challenges. The electrician came in on Friday to reposition the light switch that had been hanging down from the centre of the ceiling since we pulled out the partition that enclosed the second shower. That turned into removing the wall between the shower and the bathroom…progress of a sort. The ultimate plan is to replace the current windows with glass (double-glazed) down to the floor so that one can sit in the bath and gaze out at the scenic splendour outdoors…once there’s some minor relocation of the clothesline and some ugly scrubby stuff…

PS Just saw the trailer…I’d go and see this in 3D as well…

Gone with the Windfall | The Daily Post.