Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

Takeaways from 2012

Meat Loaf 4-08-2012 6-28-15 p.m.

…culinary adventures continued…

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…the digger that ate the lawn…so much more room…

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…Kirk discovers that TV is more entertaining than chew toys…

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…the chickens finally get their act together…possibly attributable to the mega-mansion that Carmen built for them…

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…the Tupperware Terminator mini-gun of kitchen utensils – instant salsa with a couple of pulls on the ripcord…

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…not so much the mega-hit on blog views the weekend that the ‘family’ came together to rebut the poisonous views of activist Summer Burstyn as the imagery of the three columns covering that weekend…

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…a day in Flanders fields…so sobering…

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…chicken curry and roti for breakfast at Din’s Diner in Singapore – flashbacks to the really good old days of NZFORSEA…

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…a week at the beach…I wasn’t too sure about this at first but it was the best break I’ve had in years…

…and…

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…having a hand in helping these guys grow up…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons

We don’t have clearly defined seasons here so coming up with some pictures that represent changing seasons has been a challenge ( which, I guess, is the whole idea!) and required a little thought and introspection – just a little mind…

Although we live on the side of one of the North Island’s whole two mountains, the arrival of snow is really a herald of seasonal change…sometime we get a decent dump as early as ANZAC Day, only to have another further couple of months of decent weather…other years, this is all we get all ‘winter’…

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When I was living in Singapore and Malaysia, it was easy to tell – the monsoon had arrived when roadways became waterways…

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…and one sure sign of summer, as I have mentione din these challenges a few times before, is the explosive growth of the punga as they emerge from hibernation…

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…and this is usually coincidental with the spike in Christmas music herald that seasonal shift…but in thinking on the subject, I think that we might only have two seasons here now: daylight saving and not daylight saving…when this…

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…and this…

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draw closer together and further apart like the handles on a season concertina….

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate

Although I must admit to feeling rather delicate in the mornings as I adjust to my first significant break from work in almost three years but the world’s probably not quite ready for those pics yet…

I took these at the 2011 Scale Model Expo in Wellington…the size of the placard with each model will give you some idea of the scale and the delicate work that has gone into these creations…

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections

On the general theme of reflections this week…

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After a big storm  blew the top off our water tank in 2010, we had a reflecting pool just outside our bedroom window til the Great Team Effort of Boxing Day 2012, fitted a new roof…(we replaced the tank anyway because the ripping-off of the rook also did quite a bid of damage to the plastic liner so it leaks quite a bit but is handy for car ashing, garden watering, etc…

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I guess this is the second order effect of reflection…everything here looks so bright and clear after a snow fall because the white snow reflects the sunlight and delivers such delicious contrasts…

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Waiting for the 471 bus at Gare du Nord in Brussels one morning a couple of month ago….an airliner contrail (you can just make it out as a vertical streak in the centre) was reflected all the way up the glass of both buildings…I couldn’t get the camera settings right to capture as spectacularly as it looked…then the bus came…

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Many prototype aircraft meet the criteria for “….shiiineeee…” These are the highly reflective natural metal surfaces of the Fisher P-75 fighter at the National Air Force Museum near Dayton, OH.

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It can be particularly reflective in Brussels…either that or there was a window washing blitz…

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Purakanui, on the east coat of the South Island of New Zealand…a tidal inlet where the water is mirror smooth most days between tides….

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful

In the United States, yesterday was Thanksgiving, a holiday where people spend time with family and friends and remember the things they’re thankful for. I think the idea of being thankful and reflecting back on good things in your life is something that naturally happens towards the end of a calendar year.

I can identify with that…

 That we finally got round to putting in a garage. It was a bit of a mission and we probably wouldn’t go back to Skyline Garages in a hurry but it was well worth it – now we just have to make room in its to get the cars in…

That these guys haven’t figured out how to use the remotes yet…

That we didn’t entrust more of our precious stuff to Conroys to bring up to the North Island after the ‘big shop’ of 2005…

That I got to see this for real, just once…

That this is the view from my office…

That these waves weren’t any bigger…(she’s standing on a rock!)…

That Kirk finally figured out how to get down off the trailer…

Special Photo Challenge: Inspiration

“What inspires you to blog? We blog because there are people, places, things, and ideas that we care about so much we can’t help but tell the world about them. We want to know what inspires you. For this special mid-week photo challenge, we want to see portraits of you doing something that inspires you to blog.”

Not all things that inspire my blogging are things that I do and of those are, not all of them are things that need a photo of me doing them to illustrate them…so these are the things that inspire…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Renewal

Every year about this time, there is one thing that always symbolises renewal and the arrival of spring…the annual rebirth of the pongas (pronouced ‘punga’)

Although similar in appearance to palms they are actually large tree ferns that will grow up to ten metres tall with trunks over a metre thick…they thrive all over New Zealand but especially in the hills and mountains of Westland, Fiordland and the Central Plateau. They are very hardy and tolerate frost, snow, rain and drought equally well. But every year they go through a process of hibernation and renewal…and under they burst forth, we’re never quite sure if they are OK…

Never quite sure whether they are going to bounce back

All around the house in the months leading up to this point, the pongas all start to brown off as if they were dying, often well into summer and regardless of the type of winter we may have had…

Ponga are also very resilient and bounce back even after quite harsh treatment. Ponga logs are quite popular for fences  – once in place and if watered regularly, they will often resprout into a living wall. Similarly they can be replanted and will usually start to grow again…

So long as the cut-off end looks similar to this with this very fine ‘fur’, the ponga is healthy and will start sprouting again. If you look closely, you can just see some of the furled fronds growing here as barely visible half-round shapes in the ‘fur’…soon these will start to unroll into the fronds in the first picture…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry

As this week’s challenge, ‘geometry‘ was very specific in what it wants “…find a good subject that contains an interesting geometry…try to crop tightly into the subject to make an unexpected composition…” Hmmmm…unexpected seems to imply ‘so that it’s actually identify is concealed’…more hmmm….OK, here goes…crops to the top, originals to the bottom…

 

…and the orginals…

Water intakes on one of the hydro-electric dams in the Waitaki Valley

Wing fence on the YF-23 prototype at the USAF Museum

SR-71 at the Eglin Armament Museum

Remnant of the Iraqi ‘Supergun’ from DESERT STORM days in the Imperial War Museum at Duxford

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

I like to think of myself as just a little cosmopolitan and not too prone to considering things ‘foreign‘ or otherwise, when some place different from home, I am very much of a “…when in Rome…” philosophy. Thus, once again, I found myself challenged for a picture to represent my take on ‘foreign’…

After scouring through my Picasa libraries, the issue was resolved when Carmen got home from work – she works away during the week so, even though I too work on Saturdays, I usually take care of dinner so that it about done as she comes done the driveway. Last Saturday dinner was roast chicken because I have figured out that I can throw some sort of meat and assorted veges into a roasting bag, toss it into the oven and Voila! a few hours later, dinner is served…

So all was good, right up until she asked “We got any beer?” Oh, uh-oh…the cupboard (fridge actually) was bare of such beverages…but…she remembered that I had brought a bottle of foreign beer home from my recent work trip…and that it was nicely chillin’ in the fridge door…in short order, we had the cork out (no cheap Charley screw-tops here!), had found two long beer glasses chilled behind some leftovers and Kazam!! beer with dinner…

Unfortunately, I did not think to take any pictures of the glasses full although you may get some small idea of the colour from the smidgen left in the glass on the left…it does as the label on the bottle implies has a very ruby-ish shade, and like most of the Leffes, is very smooth. It’s taste is interesting almost like Turkish Delight if you can imagine Turkish Delight beer, very subtle though and while I might not want to do a whole night on Leffe Ruby, it was certainly a fine choice to go with dinner.

This is the window display of a typical dairy in Brussels…you can probably only get one flavour of potato crisps here but can choose from 400 types of beer…

And just before anyone makes anyone makes any comments about what sort of guy brings back a bottle of beer for this wife after an overseas trip…it was a target of opportunity as the hotel where we were staying had an offer of a free large bottle of Leffe Ruby for every seven pints consumed. So we did at least seven pints between each happy hour (only EU$2.50 ea) and each night claimed a trophy…I did however bring a number of kilograms of good Belgian chocolate back with me in the interests of domestic peace and harmony…