Good things about being in the West Midlands: cheaper living than London, away from the Shepards Bush/Kings Cross contingents of expat antipodeans. It's only a couple of hours away from most parts of England, and, I'm told a half day drive from Scotland, so it should be easy to get about.
The only potential downside is that I might not enjoy living in provincial England. But I grew up in provincial New Zealand, so I've had fairly good training for the experience.
Well, so much for setting off on July 27. Visa hiccups (the immigration kind, not the credit card) will be delaying me until at least August 4. Or possibly the 11th. While less time away from Maire is always welcome, it's getting to be rather dull sitting about with bugger all to do other than wait to fly out.
More fun and games with the folks at UK immigration. They want to scrutinise my record more closely. And the start date is now likely to be August 14, rather than August 1. Joy, joy. It would be easier to get into the UK if I were an IRA terrorist.
Watched some of Green Dolphin Street a few days ago, a Hollywood adaptation of an Elizabeth Goudge historical romance set in New Zealand. The most notable amusement value of the film was the Maori tribe performing a haka before attacking the family farm. The haka in question being Ka Mate. Done in falsetto.
Oddly enough, I found this kind of amusing.
I've been discovering Phil Ochs over the last few days. Most excellent folk musician. Which may not be everyone's schtick, but I'm fairly impressed. His adaptation of “The Highwayman” is very good indeed; and most of his social commentary songs are witty and amusing. Jello Biafra and Mojo Nixon covered his “Love Me, I'm a Liberal” on “Prarie Home Invasion”. Aside from orthodox folk, he does a good line in ragtime and spoken blues.
I went out to the Mount Bruce wildlife center on Sunday. Mount Bruce is a great day trip from Wellington - the main purpose of the center is for breeding and release programs for various endangered New Zealand bird species. While there's an interesting range of birds (Hihi, Kiwi, etc), the coolest are the Kaka, a large New Zealand parrot. The release program at Mount Bruce has gradually been reintroducing these birds into the wild for the past few years - the first time I went there they only had half a dozen released; now they have 14, including some which have been in captivity for over a decade. Even better, they've begun breeding.
They birds get a supplemental feed at 3 every day, partly so the staff can keep tabs on them. This is the best bit, since public are allowed to watch. The Kaka are very intelligent and playful - they love buzzing tourists, tumbling through the air with one another, running around after the staff, and some of them are bold enough to land on people (including one who likes grooming hair). Great fun.
Discovery of the day: Once you're in one search engine's list of sites, the rest follow. In the manner of the spider-like critters in
Corollary: Even if one submits to AltaVista, it's months behind the rest. Google, on the other hand motors over this server at least once a month. If their crawlers can manage to groom a nothing set of sites like the ones here every month, it kind of explains why they give such good results.
I can remember when AltaVista was the bright new boy on the block, and Lycos was the reigning champ. I wonder how long it will be before Google sucks and there's a hot new engine?