Volunteer | The Daily Post

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My new happy place

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

Source: Volunteer | The Daily Post

Never volunteer. That’s like one the the greatest military truisms – ever. And one of the wrongest. Nothing risked, nothing gained. My experience always was that something good generally came from volunteering – being volunteered, perhaps not so much…

I’m starting on a new volunteer adventure. The Fire Service was never something I really considered before…I travelled so much in my Army, then Air Force lives that I would have been unlikely to have been able to meet the training commitments but really, my head wasn’t really in that space. Most of my post-infantry career was in TTI roles (Top Two Inch) , thinking jobs, often working on my own, solo…not really the team environment from way back then.

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Way back then…

My lifestyle changes over the past year have changed my ‘headspace’…an Outdoor First Aid course brought back all those Band 4 Medical memories and encouraged me onto the Pre Hospital Emergency Care course in September and that team working environment showed just how much I missed team work. On top of that, I needed some place to keep up those PHEC skills..

A friend joined another local brigade and I followed her progress…mid-winter, the local brigade delivered a recruiting pitch to our Business Association meeting and, although I wasn’t ready then, that sowed a seed that took root post-PHEC. I went down one training night and, in half an hour,  I was helping a firefighter into a hazsubs ‘carrot suit’…

Training is officially two hours every Wednesday night but that’s the minimum…National Park 281 is only a small brigade but most members work odd hours and days so there are usually ad hoc training sessions throughout the week. For recruits like me, there is also a lot of study and training – just getting on top of the language is a mission – to be signed off before the week-long recruit firefighter course at the National Training Centre in Rotorua…with a little luck and a few more people falling off the wait-list I may get on the January course…

So volunteering…it’s a bit more than a couple of hours a week and a bit of study…lifestyles need to change: a pager can go off anytime so little things like ‘cap, shirt, Bata Bullets, need to be more prescribed and practiced; parking the truck pointing up the driveway saves a few seconds…many of us live in Raurimu, a time-consuming 5km north of the station: we don’t have the critical mass or number of calls to justify standing watches…

Small team, good team…hard training, good training…repetitive training, even better…

 

Muse | The Daily Post

My muse…

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt: muse

Source: Muse | The Daily Post

I saw this topic pop up in the morning mail and thought it would be a quick and easy post…

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The Muses/ˈmjzz/ (Ancient Greek: Μοῦσαι, Moũsai; perhaps from the Proto-Indo-European root *men- “think”) in Greek mythology are the inspirational goddesses of literature, science, and the arts. They were considered the source of the knowledge embodied in the poetry, lyric songs, and myths that were related orally for centuries in these ancient cultures…In current English usage, “muse” can refer in general to a person who inspires an artist, writer, or musician.

I did a spot of googling, mainly in search of an image to fit my perception of ‘muse’ and to lesser degree, see what others might be thinking. At first I thought this quote was pretty apt:

 A writer’s muse

One day he will find you. He will touch you and you will feel a lifetime of indifference – of apathy melt away in a single moment. And you will ache for him. You will love him, in a way you walk a tightrope – in the way people learn to fall asleep in a war zone. You will bleed for him until the day they are gone. You will bleed for him every day after that. The time will pass and you will feel robbed – you will grow bitter. You will ask why but you won’t get an answer. And that is when the words will come.

~ Lang Leav

Who is Lang Leav? “…Leav is the international best-selling author of Love & Misadventure, Lullabies and Memories. She currently resides in New Zealand with her partner and fellow author Michael Faudet…”

What was wrong with this picture and many of the other memes, notes and articles that I found is that they all portray a muse as a dark thing, the bringer or the result of pain and tragedy. And that’s just wrong…

Yes, I am still riding my wave of Beatles nostalgia after watching Across the Universe last weekend…such great, so very clever words…if you haven’t seen Across the Universe, it is really worth the watch…if you like The Beatles…if you like the grassroots groundswell of change that swept the late 60s…if you just likely a feel good story put to great music…original takes on classic tunes…

It’s sad that so many people think that tragedy and pain is the only inspiration…my muse inspires through happiness and light…a mischief smile…a twinkling eye…examples well-set…

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That inspiration shouldn’t be this rare…

This is my muse…(look away from the screen and just hear the words)

My muse…changes the way I think…

My muses…changes the way I feel…

My muse…keeps me on the path of light…

Annika - SH47 Erua 22 Jul 16 2Even just relistening to all these tunes while drafting this post rekindles those memories and I’m writing again…the world might be a dark and scary place, there may be many things happening that we don’t like or that may frighten us but we shouldn’t be looking to the darkness for our inspiration: nothing good lies there…we should look to the light, look what’s good and let that inspire us…

My muse is my sun…

Empty | The Daily Post

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

Source: Empty | The Daily Post

When I’m working in the study at home, I use Plex to shuffle through the music library and send it down the stereo to play through the house. I often rewarded (and occasionally punished) with an eclectic blend of sounds throughout the day.

If You Only came on just as I was browsing the (long long long) list of unused prompts in my WordPress folder. The sentiment of the song seemed to fit the prompt ‘Empty‘…it’s sad to think that someone you know could be feeling like this, not realising what they have going for them, maybe wanting to reach out but ‘too’, too whatever to make that first move…

If you only knew
Just how we feel about you
You couldn’t hurt like you do

And if you only knew
How everybody loves you
You wouldn’t feel so alone

Well, everybody’s looking
Oh, what must they be thinking?
Oh, what must they be thinking?

And every glance, and every shrug and gesture
It has another meaning
Oh, what must they be thinking?
Well, I know what I think

That if you only knew
Just how we feel about you
You couldn’t hurt like you do

And if you only knew
How everybody loves you
You wouldn’t feel so alone

On every tongue a whisper
Oh, I know what they’re saying
Yeah, I know what they’re saying

Do you see that face, it says

“You have no right to be”
Oh, what must they be thinking?
Oh, what must they be thinking?
Well, I know what I think

If you only knew
Just how we feel about you
You couldn’t hurt like you do

And if you only knew
How good it is to see you
You wouldn’t feel so alone

And on one day
You may find that you’re no different
But ’til that day
We see you waste your days away

But if you only knew
Just how we feel about you
You couldn’t hurt like you do

And if you only knew
Just how good it feels to see you
You wouldn’t feel so alone

Don’t you feel so all alone

Don’t you feel so all alone” That’s not a question, it’s a direction…many people don’t see that, can not make that move to reach out…sometimes they just need that nudge, the random phone call, the casual coffee, the ‘was just passing by and thought I’d drop in‘…

Anyway that’s today’s totally random post…Plex has gone on to The Pogues now…

 

Identity | The Daily Post

Find inspiration in one of the popular topics on Discover. For this week’s Discover Challenge, focus on identity. You may use it simply as a one-word prompt, or tell us what the word means to you. Or you might publish a sketch that represents who you are or how you feel today, a poem about identity in our digital age, or a personal essay about who you once were.

Source: Identity | The Daily Post

I began drafting this post around the time of one of the recent active shooter incidents in the US. It says so much that such incidents are now so frequent that I cannot remember which it was, possibly Orlando…

The aftermath of each of these incidents is marked by bitter ‘weapon’ versus ‘ideology’ outbursts and exchanges. I do not thing that either side really gets the issues: each tragedy is little more than an excuse for each camp to dust off (not dust-off which is a far more noble act) respective meme collections.

It is America’s right to have whatever laws, rights and responsibilities that it wants to inflict on itself. I have no more problem with the Second Amendment than I do with the Fifth although I would offer that the rights of the Second should be read and applied in the context of their context i.e. as the people’s contribution to a well-regulated militia…the key phrase being well-regulated.

The ‘right’ to espouse an ideology probably falls under the First Amendment…the one that protects free speech…but again that comes with responsibilities. We have probably all heard of, if not actually read or heard the actual words, Oliver Wendell Holmes “crying fire in a theatre” quote. For the record, this is what he actually said to give context to those words:

The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic. It does not even protect a man from an injunction against uttering words that may have all the effect of force. The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent. It is a question of proximity and degree.

Those legally bent or who just like to read some exceptionable well-written English can read Justice Holmes’ full opinion in the Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute Web site.

Contrary to the good Justice’s opinion – the key work in his theatre analogy is ‘falsely’ – in the information domain, the random and rabid shotgunning of the information militia (plural) is as destructive regardless of whether it has elements of truth or fact or not.

Every time those ideological memes fly, their sole function, intended or not, is to fan the flames of ideological conflict. As much as I thought it needed work (thought #1, thought #2), what we are seeing is the phenomenon that David Kilcullen theorised in The Accidental Guerrilla: the more something is ‘fixed’, the worse it gets. This is the irony of irregular warfare.

With regard to the active shooter incidents in America, there is another factor in play that may not be present or which is certainly less present in incidents. A large element of American psyche identifies with the ‘main in the white hat’, ‘one riot, one ranger’, the rugged individual standing against all odds, etc. This ethic is quite commendable and certainly not unique to the US. What sets it about in the US though is the accompanying mindset that a gun is what you use to resolve an issue.

We’re not on any sort of moral high ground here or in Australia where the national equivalent is a punch in the head, or the desire to deliver such but that ‘message’ has to be delivered up close and personal, it cannot be delivered from across the street or even across the room; and it is far easier to neutralise. In the UK, or parts thereof, the local equivalent maybe a cloth cap or the good old ‘Liverpool kiss‘…again, attacks with limited projection or lethality from afar…

It is this overwhelming cultural drive that guns solve problems that is America’s challenge. It’s not how many guns you have or what sort they may be. It’s not what you believe or who you disagree with. It’s not how accessible guns or unsocial ideologies may be. Those may all be separate concerns  but, weapon or ideology, it’s the drive to resolve what angsts you with a gun that is the problem…

Jump to 1:02 The Lone Rider

I love those rugged individuals roles immortalised by Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Jan Michael Vincent, etc etc but I don’t build my life around them. When I have a beef with the local council or my employer or the grit truck driver or the mailman, I don’t feel I have to to take a gun to resolve the issue or make myself feel better.

It is one thing when the line between reality and fiction becomes blurred. It is quite another when those worlds begin to overlap…where the ‘final option’ becomes the only option…

Having said that, we can hum ‘Imagine‘ all we like…COIN 101 reminds us that cultural shift happens over generations but being honest about the problem is the first step towards a solution…

Look Up | The Daily Post

This week is all about taking a moment to check out what’s going on above you. For this week’s challenge, take a moment to look up. Whether it’s the fan above your head at work, your bedroom ceiling, or the night sky, what do you see? Is it familiar? Or does it show you a new perspective on your surroundings?

Source: Look Up | The Daily Post

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Looking up

This dead tree towers over State Highway 4 as it snakes under the Makatote Viaduct between Horopito and National Park Village. I’ve driven this road hundreds of times and only noticed it when i was driving back from my physio appointment yesterday. I’m not sure if it’s the result of a lightning strike but it surely is a candidate for one now…

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Looking across

The viaduct has been undergoing some serious maintenance the last year or so and the plastic shrouds are to prevent sprays and dust contaminating the environment around the viaduct.

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Looking down!!!

Someone’s clearly had a party!! And dumped the rubbish at the lookout by the viaduct. Most of this is recyclable: bottles, cans, and pizza and beer cartons. That just goes to show how lazy some people are: there is no charge for dumping recycles at the transfer station. Some of the good lads from Downers were there tidying this mess up. A highlight of their day – not!

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One of the problems we have up here is campers who can’t get their heads around the fact that when the bin’s full, the bin’s full and that doesn’t mean they can just stack the rest of their rubbish beside it. A rubbish bin does not denote a dumping site and this is why all the rubbish bins have been removed from places in the Park like Whakapapa Village: put one out and half an hour later it’ll be buried under a pyramid of rubbish bags.

DSCF0252 These apples were dumped at the side of the lookout car park. Sure, they will eventually break down but that still doesn’t making this blatant dumping OK…

As you drive around the Park, and you see dumping like this, take some pics and report it…even better, if you see someone doing this, take their pic and report them…

Tourist | The Daily Post

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt Tourist.

Source: Tourist | The Daily Post

I’m not really into the tourist thing…most places I go I like to slip away, wander around, and mix with the people…pix of me doing the tourist thing are thus few and far between…

Me in Hawaii

Mandatory posed pic, tourist luau, Oahu, 1988

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Doing the tourist thing, Fiji, 2003

Clouds | The Daily Post

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt: Clouds.

Source: Clouds | The Daily Post

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As the sun climbs, dew on the slopes evaporates and cloud form beneath you. From the summit of Mount Ngauruhoe.

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Early morning cloud rests in the low lands around Raurimu.

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Mount Ruapehu from the Desert Road

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Mounts Ngauruhoe and Tongariro taken from the beginning of the Taranaki Falls track in Whakapapa Village.

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Mount Ngauruhoe from the Chateau golf course.

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Cloud forms off the slopes of Mount Ngauruhoe. This is taken from the summit of Mount Tongariro: 15-20 minutes later we were greyed out.

Disaster | The Daily Post

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

Source: Disaster | The Daily Post

…sometimes the measure of success is how well you respond…

That was my parting shot in The magnificent seven ride again…, the tale of a 2011 pub crawl against a backdrop of NATO’s Libyan ‘intervention’ and the  lone wolf terrorist attacks by Anders Behring Breivik in Norway in July 2011.

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Five years later, those are still true words although I see response from a different perspective now…once, response was force projection, rapid deployment, targeting; now response is something we manage every day…

Today’s prompt is disaster…the biggest disaster to hit this region in the last 2000 years was the Taupo eruption around 182-300AD, depending on whose book you read. Of course, if disaster strikes and there is no one there to suffer from it, is it really a disaster or just a large scale natural event..? I mean, we’re talking seriously large scale here: the biggest explosion that the world has experienced in the last two, possibly more, millenia.

When we talk eruptions here, it is always in the context of when, not if: we know that the three volcanoes – Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro – will erupt again. The iffy bits are when exactly and how much…questions that can only be answered after the fact. Predicting eruptions is much like predicting earthquakes: often we can see a shift from what’s considered normal, maybe an increase (or decrease) in gas emissions, a cooling (or warming) of a crater lake, more (or less) volcanic tremors: but what it means is very difficult to determine.

Because prediction is problematic, a lot of resource goes into response. The timelines are pretty tight. A lahar (big volcanic mudslidey thing) coming down the western side of Ruapehu will hit Whakapapa ski field in about 90 seconds…that’s not enough time to check your phone  for directions, call a friend or update your Facebook page about the big black shadow coming down the mountain…part of the disaster response on the ski field is to ensure that people know what to do beforehand…

Further down the the hill, residents of Whakapapa Village have a whole twenty minutes to evacuate everyone from the danger area along the Whakapapanui Stream, essentially the Holiday Park and the housing area across State Highway 48 from the Chateau. Twenty minutes doesn’t sound like much time but after a fortuitous (probably didn’t seem like it at the time) series of false alarms in 2015, Whakapapa residents know they can do this at nine at night, in winter, after dinner and maybe a few beers.

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There may be no warning. An eruption may occur on a beautiful blue sky day, or in the middle of a black, freezing, sleeting, icy night. Luck ran twice when the Te Maare craters erupted in August 2012. Lucky once because an eruption at 11-30PM meant there were no walkers on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing as rocks hammered down onto the track. The biggest of these weighed three tonnes, enough to hurt if it landed on your toes. Lucky twice because, even though it was night, the bunk room at Ketetahi Hut was unoccupied as a rock slammed through the roof.

It’s been many years since we have had a disaster in Ruapehu – some tragedies, yes – but the last real disaster in terms of loss of life and damage was probably Tangiwai in 1953. Once of the reasons that we haven’t had any real disasters since then is our ability to respond. The March 2007 lahar had potential – it was certainly much larger – to be as deadly as its 1953 predecessor : that potential was mitigated, some might say neutered, by a effective well-planned, well-practised response. In fact, between exercises and false alarms, the disaster response was so well-practised that when the main event event occurred, it all seemed a bit boring…

So, when  you visit our maunga, take a moment to read the signs and be aware of what’s happening, what might happen around you…if you’re here for your fifteen minutes of fame, don’t let it be in 5000 years when some alien archaeologist chips you out of the remnants of the great Whakapapa Lahar…

Curve | The Daily Post

For this week’s challenge, get inspired by the curves around you. From curves in architecture to bends in nature to man-made undulations, you have lots to work with!

Source: Curve | The Daily Post

A real score!! Le Spiral 016

Eight years ago, I stumbled across an auction on a local site for a rimu spiral staircase…there were no bids on it and even with only a few hours to go, we tossed a pretty large maximum bid in on it. In New Zealand, most rimu is recycled and exotic (the handrail is a single lamination) structures like this are few and far between, affordable ones even less…To our intense amazement we won the auction for the opening amount.

We drove down the Wellington to collect it and were even more amazed: the seller had only put it up for auction on the advice of a friend thinking he might get enough for a few beers for it: his original plan had just be to convert it into firewood! He also had a full set of rimu kitchen doors that he said we’d be doing him a favour if we took them as well. Only too happy to help there!!!

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The dismantled staircase languished in the garage next door for a year or some while we considered the best location for it. We decided to use it to replace our front stairway from the lounge up to the mezzanine. As you can see below, there is quite a drop down the centre axis and with small children running around…

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Despite his stated intention to burn it, the seller was a retired engineer and, despite himself, had meticulously named and marked all the parts in relation to each other. The joiner scratched his head with it for a while before deciding it would have to be assembled vertically and then installed complete. Away he went with all the parts to assemble in his workshop…as it came together in his front window, it became the subject of much interest, including a few offers that showed just what a good score it was…

Seven years later its curves are still as smooth and it still looks great…

Playful | The Daily Post

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

Source: Playful | The Daily Post

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This is Louie…our latest addition after Kirky passed away…

Louie is a clown.

Louie loves to play…and, having been brought up in a gated community, loves being here with ten hectares to play in…more so after we have had some long chats about boundaries…

Balls are his favourite toys…the average life of any Swiss Ball that he catches is about three seconds and tennis balls aren’t much fun unless there is someone to throw them for him…soccer is his game and he will happy kick around a soccer ball on the concrete – he just has to remember not to park them under the car because they go BANG! when Dad drives away…

Louie has tons of energy, being only four years old, and needs a good run outside every day to burn it off. That makes it a bit interesting when it has been so wet over the last month but these things have to be done – a lesson hard learned after he tried a couple of laps inside the house…as the twins used to say “uh-oh”…

Definitely a bit of uh-oh…I had to shift my bed as it used to lie perpendicular to the doorway: Louie would bound into the room, up of the bed and then skate across the room on it…a big clown on the biggest skateboard..!

It’s good to play…