Thursday, August 31, 2006

In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I want this here =P

Bank to woo customers with ATM roulette game
Tue Aug 29, 2006 7:44am ET
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese banks have long had a reputation for poor service but at least one is trying something new -- wooing customers with an opportunity to try their hand at Lady Luck.
A roulette wheel pops onto the screen of automatic teller machines when customers of Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank Ltd finish transferring funds. A lucky spin and the customer wins 1,000 yen ($8.50).
"Using ATMs is impersonal and lacks communication," said a spokesman for the bank which is based in Gifu prefecture, central Japan. "We wanted to add some fun."
The new service will start from September 13 at 134 of the bank's branches.
The roulette game is Ogaki Kyoritsu's second shot at jazzing up its ATM services. It launched an on-screen slot machine game last August, in which customers may win prizes of an ATM fee waiver or 1,000 yen after withdrawing money.
"Our customers enjoy it very much," the spokesman said.
© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

Help the NZ Coastguard

[I got to see this media/press release at work today; it's good to see something positive coming from an otherwise made-for-money film].

Buena Vista International (NZ) supports Coastguard NZ

Buena Vista International (NZ) a division of The Walt Disney Studio, will be joining forces with Coastguard NZ in a first ever alliance to raise funds with nationwide charity screenings for these often unheralded heroes, who do their work out of the public eye and with no direct government funding.

On the evening of Tuesday 17 October, at cinemas nationwide, exclusive advance screenings will be shown of the new Touchstone release The Guardian which features a star turn from Kevin Costner playing a legendary Coastguard rescue swimmer who acts as a mentor to the cocky recruit, Ashton Kutcher. Admission to these special screenings is only $2 plus a donation at the door to Coastguard NZ.

In NZ every crew member aboard a Coastguard rescue vessel or aircraft is a volunteer. The volunteer label though does not mean they are untrained. These guys and girls undergo rigorous training so that when they get the call they are able to deal with whatever might confront them, often in sea and weather conditions that would have the rest of us cowering. And they work hard. Someone somewhere in NZ calls for their help on average10 times every day. The Guardian is an action movie with heart. Coastguard NZ is an organization of ordinary people with heart. They do an extraordinary job so come along on 17 October and support our Coastguard volunteers.

And we complain about petrol prices...

Blast Kills 29 Petrol Scavengers In Iraq
By Imad al-Khozaie

At least 29 people were killed when a blast ripped through scavengers siphoning petrol from pools around a breach in a disused pipeline in central Iraq late on Monday, health officials said. Dozens more were missing and may have been killed.
A Reuters reporter at the rural site near Diwaniya, 180 km (110 miles) south of Baghdad, saw 15 charred and mutilated bodies, including that of a boy.
The explosion wounded 26 people, who were taken to area hospitals with severe burns. "Some of the wounded have burns in 75 percent of their bodies," Hamid Jaafi, a health official in Diwaniya told Reuters, adding the death toll is expected to climb. He said relatives had reported between 30 and 40 people missing after the explosion, pushing the possible death toll to about 70, although that could not be confirmed.

Witnesses said the blast, which is under investigation, occurred at 11 p.m. (1900 GMT), while a group of people were scooping fuel from two large pools. Despite having the world's third largest proven reserves of oil, Iraq is gripped by a fuel crisis blamed on sabotage attacks, ageing infrastructure and rampart corruption. Fuel prices have soared as the Iraqi government phases out subsidies under an International Monetary Fund deal.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said the government was working to ease the crisis, a source of anger for Iraqis. Smuggling and a black market for petrol products are thriving. "I bless the enormous efforts that (the Oil Ministry) has made in overcoming the fuel crisis that citizens are facing lately," he told reporters at the Oil Ministry in Baghdad. The government wants to liberalise import rules on fuel products.

Mutilated and mud-caked bodies lay by one wide crater at least 10 metres (yards) wide. One witness said there were still bodies in the pools and under mud that had not been recovered. "The government is to blame for this. It raised the prices of petrol and forced people to do these dangerous things," an elderly man told Reuters at the scene. An Oil Ministry official in Baghdad said the pipe was one of many across Iraq that are out of operation due to the shortages. Residue left in the pipe could have caused the blast, he said. The blast came one day after at least 20 Iraqi soldiers were killed in street fighting with Shi'ite militiamen in Diwaniya, in some of the bloodiest clashes among rival powers in Shi'ite southern Iraq.

Free publicity for NZ if this goes ahead...

Survivor Show May Head To Great Barrier
Great Barrier Island could be the next location for an award-winning BBC reality TV series. Lion Television met with islanders last night to discuss its bid to film the next series of Castaway on their home patch in the Hauraki Gulf next year. On the first series of Castaway in 2000, 36 people lived on a deserted island in Scotland for a year and learned to live and build their own community. The ground-breaking series is seen as the first of the reality genre, which spawned the blockbusting "Survivor" series. This time there will be just 12 people and the show will last for 12 weeks. The people chosen to be castaways will reflect all aspects of British life: all ages; all backgrounds; a variety of skills or none; and with a range of personalities. Lion Television is in talks with the Department of Conservation and the local iwi and is promising to use the local community for labour, transport and accommodation. An unofficial fan website says the castaways will explore the best ways to live in close quarters with people that they may not have much in common with, draw on personal skills to develop the infrastructure of the island and, in the process, discover more about themselves as individuals. It quotes Peter Fincham, the controller of British TV channel BBC One as saying "It's really exciting to think Castaway will be back on BBC One. Fans of the previous series will recognise it, but we've got a few twists and surprises up our sleeve."

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Yay, nighties are back!

PJs have been the 'in thing' for a year or more now and it drives me crazy. I'll consider wearing them in the dead of winter if I'm sleeping by myself but otherwise I just dislike the idea of what feels like I'm wearing a full set of clothes to bed! But while the PJ craze has been going on the only nighties that seem to have sold are either the traditional, flimsy, lingerie style ones or else old, granny ones with high collars etc... But, finally, nighties are making a comeback; as a bonus the store had a 20% discount today as well :)

It's official...

Nick's work experience write-up has been accepted and he's confirmed for the September graduation =) A flatmate managed to drop the tickets in a puddle but they'd dried out good as new by the time I saw them. It's funny, he's pretty blase about graduating (but then he finished the campus component a year and a half ago) whereas I can't wait to do the whole cap and gown thing and get the little AU arts teddy bear; and all that jazz :P

Can't be bothered thinking of a title...

Damn that's cool. I'm temping at the Radio Bureau again, they like me and I like them so it's a good deal. I've been here often enough now that the email addresses I tend to send to are now saved into Outlook's memory and come up automatically as I start typing :P

Nick's a lot better now, though going back to work pretty much wiped him - conquering the world on Civ III took a back seat to sleeping. [awesome ~ one of their staff just walked through the door sporting a full out mowhawk]. I have also now been intro'd to the addictive powers of Civ III. I only meant to spend an hour so on it the other day and then realized that about four hours had passed while I'd been desperately trying to hold off the English from conquering my territories (and failing, damn them!).

I've been remarkably anti-social, I confess, over the past week or so. I've pretty much spent the last week or so looking after Nick. Now that the hols have started I'm buried in books instead of being out in the sun. Our History essay isn't due till October (along with two other mammoth ones) but we've got a pre-essay write-up assignment that we have to hand in on the first morning back. We're expected to have read aroumnd 15 books/essays etc... to do with the assignment and need to comment on each one, as well as providea thesis statement of about 500 words etc... I've got through about two books so far and have a stack on the floor still to go...

Monday's nerve-wracking lecture on poor essay quality was followed by another on Friday - this time by Claudia (Adolescent Fiction). I got an A (yay!) that probably would have been an A+ but she'd corrected a lot of my comma/semi-colon use or non-use. I'd checked it, Nick had checked it and so had the computer! Ah well, c'est le vie. I'm starting to get an idea about what I want to write about for that class's main essay as well, so that's all good :)

And we had our first (moral) victory for soccer on Sunday! We kept them from scoring until the final two minutes (wish I'd succeeded in hooking the ball out from between his feet) and closed on a draw; but, we had scored an extra goal earlier where it had gone in but bounced out and the ref disallowed it as he hadn't been watching and assumed it had hit the cross-bar or something. So a definite improvement on the walloping we normally get :)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Nick's sick...

*g* ironic isn't it.... shortly after I'd posted the song (which I was listening to at the time, I love Meatloaf) Nick gives me a call sounding like he's dying. So I rush over and I have to confess he didn't get too much sympathy since his temp. was only 37! Plus his powerboard blew my portable harddrive which kind of ended my plans for the night [thankfully the whole thing's still under warranty]. I cut class the next afternoon and got back to find his temp. up to 39'C though. One of the brilliant things that Labour has bought in is the free 0800, 24hr, Healthline. We spoke to a nurse for ages and she said that he'd need to go see a doctor. We kept trying to get hold of his sis and then finally dozed off.... We got woken up by a call and took him up to White Cross. So now he's on heavy doses of penicillin and seems to be worse today because of it. I guess that's the way these things normally go. Not his ideal way of getting a few days off work!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


And I would do anything for love, I'd run right into hell and back
I would do anything for love, I'll never lie to you and that's a fact
But I'll never forget the way you feel right now, oh no, no way
And I would do anything for love, but I won't do that, I won't do that
Anything for love, oh I would do anything for love
I would do anything for love, but I won't do that, oh I won't do that

Some days it don't come easy, and some days it don't come hard
Some days it don't come at all, and these are the days that never end
Some nights you're breathing fire, and some nights you're carved in ice
Some nights you're like nothing I've ever seen before or will again

Maybe I'm crazy, but it's crazy and it's true
I know you can save me, no one else can save me now but you

As long as the planets are turning, as long as the stars are burning
As long as your dreams are coming true, you better believe it

That I would do anything for love, and I'll be there til the final act
I would do anything for love, and I'll take a vow and seal a pact

But I'll never forgive myself if we don't go all the way tonight
And I would do anything for love, oh I would do anything for love
Oh I would do anything for love, but I won't do that, no I won't do that
I would do anything for love, anything you've been dreaming of
But I just won't do that(repeats 3x)


Some days I pray for silence, and somedays I pray for soul
Some days I just pray to the God of Sex and Drums and Rock 'N Roll
Some nights I lose the feeling, and some nights I lose control
Some nights I just lose it all when I watch you dance and the thunder rolls

Maybe I'm lonely and that's all I'm qualified to be
There's just one and only, the one and only promise I can keep

As long as the wheels are turning, as long as the fires are burning
As long as your prayers are coming true, you better believe it

That I would do anything for love, and you know it's true and that's a fact
I would do anything for love, and there'll never be no turning back

But I'll never do it better than I do it with you, so long, so long
And I would do anything for love, oh I would do anything for love
I would do anything for love, but I won't do that, no no no I won't do that

I would do anything for love, anything you've been dreaming of
But I just won't do that(repeats 7x)

But I'll never stop dreaming of you every night of my life, no way

And I would do anything for love, oh I would do anything for love
I would do anything for love, but I won't do that, no I won't do that

[Girl:] Will you raise me up, will you help me down?
Will you get me right out of this Godforsaken town?
Will you make it all a little less cold?

[Boy:] I can do that! I can do that!

[Girl:] Will you hold me sacred? Will you hold me tight?
Can you colorize my life, I'm so sick of black and white?
Can you make it all a little less old?

[Boy:] I can do that! Oh oh, now I can do that!

[Girl:] Will you make me some magic, with your own two hands?
Can you build an emerald city with these grains of sand?
Can you give me something I can take home?

[Boy:] I can do that! Oh oh now, I can do that!

[Girl:] Will you cater to every fantasy I got?
Will ya hose me down with holy water, if I get too hot?
Will you take me places I've never known?

[Boy:] I can do that! Oh oh now, I can do that!

[Girl:] After a while you'll forget everything
It was a brief interlude and a midsummer night's fling
And you'll see that it's time to move on

[Boy:] I won't do that! No I won't do that!

[Girl:] I know the territory, I've been around
It'll all turn to dust and we'll all fall down
And sooner or later, you'll be screwing around

[Boy:] I won't do that! No I won't do that!

Anything for love, oh I would do anything for love
I would do anything for love, but I won't do that, no I won't do that


Nazi Germany - Primary Source Analysis

Anyone who knows me well knows that I'm an academic through and through. By the time I'm 40, I want to have ~ BA, Hons, MA, Tch dip. ~ after my name (or however the initials are supposed to work) and I want to have at least started on my doctorate, if I can find suitable inspiration. But I'm never really sure if I'll prove good enough. I'm lucky to associate with a number of highly intelligent people and it's intimidating to sometimes wonder if you're on a par with them, especially when it's to do with something extremely important to yourself. *g* That and while it's easy to prove that you suck at something like Ten Pin Bowling, it's hard to pull out something like medieval translations or the greater intricacies of obscure 13 th century works. Anyway, it's been weird to spend a fair few months away and then jump into all Stage III papers. At the back of my mind there's a constant worry that I won't do as well at a higher level and that perhaps I'm not cut out for post-grad work after all (especially since I'm after far more than just a pass). It's been a relief in the last week to come to the realization that my Arthurian paper isn't just a Stage III paper but an Honours level paper as well. Now that the assignment has been handed out, the only thing separating the two streams is a mere 500 words to our assignment. Considering the new faculty imposed limits that's perhaps more of a blessing than a curse J
Then there's my history paper. Maartje declared at the start of semester that she's a very, very hard marker and that with our paper lacking an exam (i.e. everything is prepared well ahead of time) she would be expecting a high level of quality to our work. Last week she announced that we'd be getting our assignments back today and that she was extremely disappointed with the quality of work returned. Today in seminar she announced that she'd spent 40 minutes of the previous seminar ranting at them about how poor the assignments were. We had to suffer through the first hour of presentations before our version of the telling off began. I groaned internally when she announced that the majority of the class had chosen to write on the Law of German Blood and Honor and that she felt this was the most difficult document to choose. She had a number of comments to make on things she felt had been done poorly or ignored in relation to it, including linking it to the Holocaust (which I knew I'd done). Through all of this we still didn't have our assignments and had to rely on memory as to how relevant it might be to each of us individually. In addition, she'd written on the board each possible score and then how many people in our class of 80 had achieved each score. The highest mark allocated was an A and that to only 4. There were a lot in the C range and even 5 in the Ds. The rest of our paper is a 70% essay (worth 20% for the preliminary write up and 50% for the final essay) and this was designed to give us an early idea of if we were heading in the final direction. I swear I was quivering like a bunny on the inside by the time class finished. I got an A :).

In other news...

Nick's team won their final soccer game on Saturday (yay!) although we lost indoor soccer on Sunday. Which isn't actually a surprise :P We did have a really fantastic defence during the first half though and that was great. Pam also helped us out as one of the girls couldn't make it and that was cool. We've started playing squash together so it'll be interesting to see if it makes us fitter! I'm going to my first Pump class at the gym this week too, so I'm interested to see how that will turn out.

I've finally finished Harry Potter (IV) and got through Margaret Mahy's Catalogue of the Universe as well. So that leaves only one more book (I think) and two more films (thank god). Then I'll finally have got through the reading and hopefully will feel more inspired when I look at the essay topics again! The problem with Harry Potter is that's it's so damn long (and heavy to carry around) and takes ages to read, even in trying to skim through it! Plus I like the series so I keep slowing down and wanting to enjoy it properly rather than rush through it. It's interesting to read it again, this time with a close analysis slant and having to read it with certain themes etc… in mind; it's certainly cheerier than some of the books we cover and, I feel, far better written than some of them.

In true student style when I finally saved up enough money to do a decent shop price was an important factor. It seemed funny actually that the more exotic meats, like ostrich, goat and veal, ended up being cheaper than traditional beef and chicken! The ostrich was alright, though Nick wasn't keen, but it's hard to describe the taste. It proves that the default of 'everything tastes like chicken' isn't true! The goat was better, mind you I used the mince in a curry and the spices would disguise the taste of most things!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Letters from the Inside

Well, that's two articles down and one book read from cover to cover. In some ways I wish I'd read it (John Marsden ~ Letters from the Inside) before we covered it in class, but on the other hand it made taking notes a lot easier when I had an idea what to look out for. It does mean though that it's hard to read without being aware of your own biases. I think that even if I hadn't already known that Tracey was in prison that I would have guessed, like Mandy, that something was up because her life simply sounded too damn perfect. Plus, there was no bitching about little things like in Mandy's letters - backstabbing friends or dumb boys or annoyances at school. I agree with the general consensus that Mandy must have ended up dead, and her whole family, shot up by nutso Steve, for the letters to have all come back 'Return to Sender'. Besides, the ending was a bit like watching an American tv show where they feel the need to spell everything out, just in case 'you didn't get it' from the little clues. Trace's dreams of knives, guns, blood and violence are pretty obviously meant to spell things out, as is Mandy's last letter where she's only half joking about being afraid that Steve's going to walk into a McDonald's or someplace and shoot everyone in the place. The story's not really about 'Young Man shoots whole family dead' or the media spin that would accompany it. Mandy's death is an ending (unless she' going to keep writing from beyond the grave) but it's not really what the story's about. I do find it interesting though that he manages to take such a major event and make it a very much secondary part of the novel rather than the focus.

Heathrow and the Terror Alert

If you've been following the news you would have heard all about the security measures that went into place after the British apprehended a gang allegedly planning to blow up at least eight planes over the state. I am extremely thankful that this didnt' happen while I was trying to get home from Heathrow!! All of my spanish and french wine would have ended up in the bin... As it was, I had so much stuff I had to repack at check-in and smuggle my wine onboard in a duty-free bag (Heathrow wasn't particularly friendly towards carry-on in the first place; go Singapore!). Anyway, I was flicking through random blogs and came across More Cowbell. He's written about the security measures first-hand...

"Saturday, August 12, 2006


Alright, do you people want a first-hand account at Heathrow? Here it is!
Okay, things weren't so bad. I only took a few things on my person, and I was STILL in violation:
1) My passport
2) My boarding pass
3) My walletI didn't have a belt, and I didn't have anything that could possibly be construed as metal, except for my wallet. I own a Prada wallet (yeah yeah ... get your punches in while you can). It has the metal Prada insignia stamped on the front. I was not allowed to take my wallet because of the metal piece. So I either had to remove the metal piece or leave my wallet. Yes; I am going to desecrate a Prada wallet just to get on a plane. I ended up cleaning the important things out of it and putting them in the plastic bag in which I carried my wallet. I mailed my wallet home, which wasn't bad ($1.85). Other people were allowed to take coins on board. I don't see what was so bad about a Prada metal piece. I think the attendant just had a superiority complex.

My favorite quote was in Atlanta. Some guy at the gate had bought condoms in a gift shop, and the attendant wouldn't let him board with them because they were lubricated. His declaration: "Well, if I join the mile-high club and get my wife pregnant, I'm suing YOUR ass!" His honey yelled "Richard! You're embarrassing me!" They let him on. I was SO worried, too ... because you know how many weapons of destruction can be designed out of a lubricated condom. I never noticed in they made the trek to the bathroom to join the club."

Not his entire write-up but I just found the start so funny and so ridiculous on the part of the airports...

Uni work

The first hump of assignments is over and the next lot (all worth around 50% each) are due in October. If i count it in days rather than weeks maybe they'll seem longer away... The History assignment is being handed back on Monday which should give an indication of what I'll need to do for the essay. It's never a warming sign though when they announce the hand-back date and at the same time say that they are so far generally disatisified with the quality of work they've read. Ah well.... So, in the meantime, I've spent the past week trying to catch up on some of my reading. I've read all my Arthurian Lit. bar Mallory (which I can leave for a while as the assignment is on the French texts only and the exam is on Mallory and the English perspective). I always find it interesting reading related texts and being able to draw conclusions at the end of it all. Like Chretien's Knight of the Cart feels strange because Lancelot is so emasculated for the sake of love. I mean this guy is stark raving bonkers and utterly pussy-whipped. You can't help but wonder if Chretien intended it that way... Like there's a scene where Lancelot bends back the iron bars from Guinevere's windows with his bare hands - slicing his fingers, to the bone on one, and then knows 'great bliss' in her embrace. The next morning he escapes, bends the bars back and returns to his room. It's only then he notices that he's dripping blood and his hands are fairly munted (a big thing when you're supposed to be a sword wielding champion). But he hasn't felt the pain until now because passionate love has been burning in his heart. What crap! He might have a massive case of the hornies (which I think was a line from My Super Ex-Girlfriend which we saw last night) but bone-exposing flesh wounds are just not worth it!!

It is interesting the way Chretien incorporates the standard emphasis on tournaments and fighting but in this case twists the perspective so that love both ennobles Lancelot and distracts him; also, upon Guinevere's whim he acts like a coward and fights badly because she desires it. [She does come across as something of a bitch]. One can't help but wonder if Chretien intended it as a serious romance or as satire or if he simply got fed up with the whole thing and decided that it just didn't work. He did after all abandon the work with Lancelot locked away in a secret tower (writer's revenge?) and someone else brought the work to its happy conclusion (from which Guinevere seems oddly missing...).

Anyway, I have a couple of articles to read on Women in Nazi Germany and then four books for Adolescent Fiction to attempt to read cover to cover this weekend. [I know, I know, I'm being oddly hopeful.... still, I'll try and get them all read by mid-week and then I can start researching my history essay.]

Thursday, August 17, 2006

When it sucks to be a journalist...

I was watching the news tonight and they had an interview with Anita McNaughton. Her husband, NZ cameraman Olaf Wiig, was kidnapped in Gaza on Tuesday morning. It must have been incredibly difficult to be the subject of news instead of merely a reporter. Yet, that was the way she was presented in some ways. The interview was treated in the same way as a conversation with a foreign correspondent...

Tristan & Isolde

I watched Tristan and Isolde tonight - it was one of the films that came out while I was overseas and I therefore missed. It reminded me immediately of the French Death of King Arthur. A king who favours his greatest knight, rather than his sister-son; a king who is far older than his bride and is struggling to keep united a kingdom against foreign foes; a queen who feels loves passionately but not for a marriage born of political convenience...

I haven't read any of the medieval lays of this tale and my knowledge of the Dark Ages is patchy; I therefore have little idea of any historical accuracies contained within this version of the old tale, nor do I know how it compares with its other versions. However, it is done well enough. It faces the problems that are unique to film rather than to oral tales. The actors are handsome without being overly pretty; they are fairly clean for the time but they do remember to muddy them up occasionally; the accents are less glaringly jarring than can often occur in today's increasingly globalized and americanized film industry.

All in all the film did very well for lightly capturing ideas of warrior kings, of the beginnings of feudalism, of the role of women and of political alliances, and for capturing those ideas important to the romance writers - blood ties, fealty, tournaments and battles, love, passion and a touch of the miraculous/divine providence. One was meant to hear these tales with one's emotions rather than one's intellect (and thus ignore the fact that the Celts, Picts, Saxons etc... all miraculously speak one language only) and unlikely events were expected rather than disparaged.

Watching the film in the midst of my Arthurian Literature paper, I found it interesting the importantance of boats for the romance between Tristan and Isolde. The idea of boats taking the hero to place of testing or where knowledge/experience can be gained that could not otherwise be, is a feature of the old celtic tales. In the Christianized romances boats were sometimes a symbol of the Church, as in The Quest for the Holy Grail, but certainly of adventure (in their concept of that word). I have read in reviews that their means of Tristan and Isolde first meeting is different from other popular versions but it is very much in keeping with genre traditions. I don't think it's meant to represent the Christian Church here but I do think that it can be read as a sign of providence, of divine intervention into the life of the hero.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Indian village uploads itself on to internet

Indian village uploads itself on to internet 14 August 2006

HANSDEHAR: An Indian village has uploaded itself on to the internet, giving the outside world a glimpse of life in rural India.

Visitors to Hansdehar village's website can see the names, jobs and other details of its 1,753 residents, browse photographs of their shops and read detailed specifications about their drainage and electricity facilities.
Most of the residents can't yet surf the Hansdehar website as the village is not yet connected to the internet.
But the villagers hope the site – and their imminent first internet connection – will put them in touch with the world beyond the flooded rice fields surrounding Hansdehar, located in a rich agricultural belt in the northern state of Haryana.
"It will be a revolution," said farmer Ajaib Singh.
He and other villagers hope the connection with the outside world will help speed up improvements to Hansdehar's woeful infrastructure and services such as a lack of a dispensary and unreliable electricity. The village has long been neglected by the Indian government, locals complain.
"Now we can put our problems on the website, and then the government can't say 'we didn't know'," he said.
But younger villagers – most of whom are yet to send their first email – plan to use the internet to help hasten their exit by searching online for college places and jobs in big cities.
In preparation, Jasvir Singh, 21, has hired what is only the second computer in the village to learn to type. He says he can do 25 words a minute and is getting faster.
Singh wants to get into one of India's prestigious institutes of management and one day score a foreign posting.
Quietly-spoken Nanki Devi, 21, says her future will be limited to employment as a housemaid if she stays in the village, whose women demurely veil themselves in the presence of unrelated men.
"Only in a city I can be independent," she explained as she looked shyly towards her feet.
These kinds of ambitions are exactly what Kanwal Singh hoped to stir when he set up the Web site for the village he was born in.
There are few jobs available in Hansdehar beyond farming or running small shops supplying goods to farmers.
While the richest one or two households own cars, most have cows parked in their front yards. The dusty roads are almost completely empty of traffic, bar the occasional farmer chugging past atop a tractor, bhangra music blaring.
The village council – or panchayat – is pictured on the Web site holding a meeting about a missing bull. It was never found, villagers say, suspecting theft.
Kanwal Singh, who long ago left to work as a website developer for the local government in Chandigarh, said that until recently a lack of opportunities left villagers with few options beyond agriculture.
On a recent visit he gave a dozen or so villagers a mild scolding, telling some of them they lacked initiative. No one answered back.
"Some of the young people here have a lot of potential and they just aren't reaching it," he later said, visibly frustrated.
Which is why he set about convincing the village council of the benefits a website and an internet connection would bring.
Few villagers had much of an idea about the internet, but Singh was soon able to explain the fundamentals.
Pick any Bollywood actress, he told them in a slideshow presentation, and you can access hundreds of photographs of her.
But he was quick to highlight the net's other uses.
Now Hansdehar farmers hope they will be able to get better prices for their crops by trading online through the National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Ltd, cutting out middlemen.
Carpenters and masons will tout their services online. Others will upload their resumes to job hunting websites when the village's first internet point is hooked up in Kanwal Singh's mother's house in the coming weeks.
Hazoor Singh, a local maths teacher, will have space on the website to publish his forthcoming paper, in which he describes parallels between the nature of God and mathematical set theory.
And at least one young bachelor said he would start browsing for a potential wife.
But the grand aim is to encourage more of India's 640,000 villages to upload themselves and unite in online networks to advance the cause of rural India, home to a tenth of humanity.
"We had to start somewhere, so why not here? Charity begins at home," says Kanwal Singh. "But now all the nearby villages are impressed and they say they want a site of their own."

Monday, August 14, 2006

Goebbels: “But propaganda exists in all countries and under all forms of government as long as facts have to be conveyed to the public. Even The Times, the most democratic paper in the world, makes propaganda in that it deliberately gives prominence to certain facts, emphasises the importance of others by writing leaders or commentaries about them, and only handles others marginally or not at all. In so acting, The Times observes the basic principle of propaganda in that it does not reproduce facts objectively but coloured subjectively through selection and the method of presentation.”

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Adolescent Fiction

The post below is another one of those intended for anyone really bored... And again I curse the 1000 word limits the faculty is issuing under the new regs!

Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Kissed

Stories are more than words; they are organic things that can be shaped by those they come into contact with and that can also affect their reader. Each reader brings to bear on a story their own perceptions, biases and experiences. Stuart Hall argues that the author of a text will structure it in such a way that a dominant reading, shared by the majority of receivers, is likely.[1] The greater the detail that is given, in terms of characters, setting, motivation and events, the more likely it is that audiences will interpret the text in a similar fashion. Idoya Munn’s short story Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Kissed is noteworthy for its scarcity of detail.[2] Its aspect is like that of the medieval morality plays, such as Everyman, in that the characters are simply ‘the girl’, ‘the boy’, ‘the mother’.[3] The lack of descriptive detail draws the reader into a collaborative exercise with the author as they are forced to add their own colour to an otherwise bland canvas. Additionally, like the medieval morality plays, this absence of detail encourages the reader to search for deeper, allegorical meaning.

A story’s ability to make an emotional connection with its reader often lies in its adeptness at vividly portraying another human being with whom the reader can form an empathic bond. Yet in Sweet Sixteen the characters are neither named nor described in great detail and the setting is alluded to in the barest of fashions. A dominant reading would place the girl as being part of a white, middle-class, conservative family in the suburbs. This is suggested in that the girl can see a garden from her bedroom window, she has two parents, she can afford to go shopping and she can easily access facilities such as the movies and MacDonalds.[4] However, the absence of direct racial signifiers doesn’t prevent an alternative reading of the girl as being, for instance, Maori. John Fiske argues that texts are polysemic and that readers negotiate texts in ways that allow them to generate meaning that will meet their own cultural needs.[5] The scarcity of detail in the text allows greater flexibility to identification forming between the reader and the female protagonist.

However, the lack of descriptive text required to create a firm visual picture of the characters and events in Sweet Sixteen, means that the inner and verbalised dialogue becomes extremely important in creating an emotional connection between the reader and protagonist. Unfortunately, the girl’s thoughts and speech lack veracity and depth. Her language swings between teenage clichés, such as variations on ‘everyone’s going’ and ‘it’s not fair’,[6] and phrases that jar when placed in the mouth of a modern teenager, such as when she thinks “Fancy, sixteen and never been kissed...”[7] Her concern that the boy will know that she is inexperienced also jars because it is described with too much brevity, with a lack of emotional intensity and without the free-form flow of emotionally charged thinking.

Yet there is a dual purpose served by making it difficult to form an emotional connection with the girl as a character; the generalities within the text create an emotional distancing and allow the story a greater flexibility. This emotional distance can be closed, especially by female readers, by considering the girl as being unnamed because she is a representation of self; like a mask the girl and her story can be worn by anyone and the lack of detail given makes it easier for the reader to add their own details and to see in her story elements of their own personal experiences. The emotional charge to the story therefore comes from the reader’s own personal recognition of themselves within the story rather than from a sympathy for a clearly delineated fictional character.

Alternatively, the emotional distancing can be seen as an indication that the story can be read as allegory. A significant motif throughout the story is the way the girl draws upon ‘the books’ for her interpretation of how male-female relationships should be enacted; this motif provokes a deeper questioning of what society is teaching our youth. Critics, such as Laura Mulvey, argue that modern media contain a masculine gaze that objectifies and sexualises women, however, what is often ignored is the way that women are encouraged to objectify men.[8] The dichotomy of the mother/whore image applied to women means that it remains difficult for them to resolve how they should feel about sex and desire.[9] Therefore, rather than sexualising men it is often easier for women to idealize and romanticise men. Films and books aimed specifically at women often enforce the idea of women as passive and as waiting for a man to fall in love with them so that they can successfully ascend from their position as maiden to that of mother and wife.[10] Significantly, in Sweet Sixteen the only objects specified in the girl’s bedroom are the dried flowers she kept from a wedding. Physical interaction in such texts are carefully contextualized so that they are associated more with love and attaining a permanent relationship than they are with fulfilling physical desire, for instance in Sweet Sixteen the girl feels that she senses desire in the boy but rather than articulating her desire, or lack of it, she draws upon culturally enforced standards of behaviour and ‘just like in the books’ she sends him away.

Adolescent women are encouraged to be in love, to have boyfriends and to hope for permanent happy endings despite the fact that these are far more common in books than in real life. They are taught by society and media that they are to be objects that receive the desire of men but that their purpose is to sublimate their own desire in favour of ideals such as romance, love and lasting marriage. Sweet Sixteen’s lack of definitive detail encourages readers to add greater descriptive and emotional colour to the text by identifying in it aspects of their own lives; however, it also questions whether this identification is a good thing and whether the normative attitudes towards female-male relationships revealed by the generalized female protagonist are wise or healthy ones and whether these attitudes have been normalized and made invisible within our own society. The author provokes the question of whether the gendered attitudes we are teaching our young women are appropriate and realistic or if we are promoting an unrealistic idealization of men and relationships that is based in fantasy rather than actuality.

[1] Stuart Hall, ‘Encoding/Decoding’, in: Paul Marris and Sue Thornham (eds.), Media Studies: reader, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press Ltd, 1996, pp.47-9.
[2] Idoya Munn, ‘Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Kissed’, in: Tessa Duder (ed.), Nearly Seventeen. New Zealand Stories, Auckland, Penguin Books, 1993, pp.63-67.
Hereafter, I will abbreviate the title to Sweet Sixteen.
[3] A. C. Cawley (ed.), Everyman, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1961.
[4] Need to footnote each of these things???
[5] John Fiske, ‘Television: Polysemy and Popularity’, in: Robert K. Avery and David Eason (eds.), Critical Perspectives on Media and Society, New York, The Guilford Press, 1991, p. 347.
[6] Munn, p.64 and 65; the exact phrases used are “Him and everyone else are going…” and “But that’s stupid!”
[7] Ibid. p. 64.
[8] Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”, Screen, 16.3, 1975, pp.6-18.
[9] Deborah L. Tolman, “Doing Desire. Adolescent Girls’ Struggles for/with Sexuality”, Gender & Society, 8.3, September 1994, p.325.
[10] For instance, While You Were Sleeping, dir. Jon Turteltaub, Hollywood Home Video, 1995.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I cannot teach anybody anything.
I can only make them think.

- Socrates

Sunday, August 06, 2006

HST 317 Nazi Germany

For anyone particularly bored of photos I've posted below my close analysis for class. There seems something vaguely pointless about spending time researching something and angsting over it and then only having one other person read it. At least with publishing to the vague ether of the net there's a chance that someone else will read it. It's abiy like Anna's theory on expensive dresses, the more often you wear it the less its relative cost. Not that this is particularly a literary masterpiece. [The relevant law by the way is posted beneath it]. It's oddly frustrating to reach stage 3 and be reduced to 1000 word essays. I understand their point - condense, be precise etc.... The problem is that their no longer being used because they think that it will be a useful teaching exercise but because the fraggin' Dean has issued new marching orders. AU has re-structured it's degree (don't even get me started on what a money-leeching exercise that is) and having increased the number of papers they felt the need to decrease the workload. However, rather than simply giving general guidelines they've given specific orders - no Stage III paper may expect more than 3000 words from their students!!! Now word limits have always varied from department to department. History for instance had the reputation for expecting the most, you could count on perhaps 5000 words over the semester for them for a S3 paper. To suddenly have it cut to 3000 is pissing the students off as much as the lecturers. It means that they either give two 1500 word assignments (the same as at SI!!) or they give a 1000 words and a 2000 word essay. Maartje is simply ignoring them since our class is entirely internally assessed but there's a limit to how much she can get away with - hence our limit restriction.

Primary Source Analysis

Where does genocide begin? The persecution of the Jews under the Nazi regime continues to prompt questioning as to what processes took place to allow a systematic and bureaucratic elimination of a minority group of people linked by religious faith and/or common ancestry. The process of vilifying and de-humanising the Jews, under Hitler and the Third Reich, was a lengthy one that relied upon existing anti-Semitism, psychology, the use of propaganda within a closed political environment in which media was state-owned and controlled, and the use of legislation which provided an appearance of authoritative legitimacy to discriminatory actions. One such piece of legislation was the “Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour” passed by the Reichstag on 15 September 1935.[1] This was merely one anti-Semitic law among many that were passed by the Nazis, however, it highlights key ideological beliefs of the regime and, in conjunction with other legislation, it would prove to be highly influential as persecution of the Jews became increasingly radicalised.

The names chosen for Nazi legislation were frequently linked directly to their function but also revealed the ideological basis underlying them. In examining the “Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour” one must question who is being protected, from what and why? The concept of race was one raised and developed in the nineteenth century through Europe as colonial expansionism brought greater contact between different races and civilisations.[2] Scientific advances in the fields of biology, evolution and anthropology were given racial focuses by writers such as Joseph de Gobineau and Dr Joseph Reimer who formulated theories on eugenics and social Darwinism.[3] Echoes of their views, and those of similarly minded authors, on the superiority of the Aryan/Teutonic peoples and the necessity of racial purity can be seen in Hitler’s book, Mein Kampf, which was first published in 1925. Hitler’s chapter titled Nation and Race describes how inter-breeding between those who are physically and culturally superior, the Aryans [by which he means racially pure Germans], and those who are inferior results in a weakening of the race.[4] Hitler specifically singles out the Jew as a racial counterpart to the Aryans;[5] as J. Noakes describes: “the Jew figured largely as…a collection of negative attitudes representing the antithesis of the qualities of the true German.”[6] Such a diametrically opposed ‘other’ was a potential pollutant to a racially pure people that Hitler believed must be conscious of its blood.[7] It was therefore of vital importance to the future welfare of the German people that their genetic pool be protected from contamination, especially by the Jew.

The ideas that Hitler propounds in Mein Kampf were brought into legislative form when the “Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honour” was announced. The justification for the law was that it was to protect the purity of German blood in order to preserve their future as a nation-race. Other laws had already been passed that indicated the importance of racial purity and eugenics to Hitler and the Nazi leadership cadre, such as the “Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring” (1933) and the “Law for the Protection of Hereditary Health” (1935).[8] However, this law was significant in that it was legislation that specifically identified the Jews, who made up less than one percent of the population, as a key threat to German society, a threat that required legislation in order to contain it. [9] The law indicated that within a National Socialist state, where the greater community was more important than the individual, matters previously considered as private, as personal choice or as religious affairs, such as marriage and sexual relations, could be subjugated to the governmental authority when it was considered a matter of national preservation. The implication of the law was not that ‘misguided’ Germans were at fault but rather that lascivious Jews posed a threat to German honour, hence German women could not be employed in the household of a Jew but the law did not prevent the reverse situation. This threat that lustful, greedy Jews posed to good, moral Germans, thus necessitating such legislation, was supported through propaganda issued by the state-controlled media such as in the newspaper Der Stürmer.[10]

The “Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honour” was also important for establishing a legal context in which the Jews were presented not as a religious group but as a separate race by the inclusion of Section 4 – traditionally nations have flags/colours but religious faiths do not. This was strengthened by the 14 November 1935 amendments to the “Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honour” and the “Reich Citizenship Law”; their detailed definitions of what constituted a Jew meant that ancestry and blood were as important as religious conviction.[11] By establishing the Jews as a separate minority race permitted to have their own communities within the German state, Nazi propaganda could argue that it was a logical advancement for the Reich Citizenship Law to be altered on 14 November 1935 to stipulate that Jews were not German citizens.

By using Reichstag passed legislation to discriminate against the Jews it meant that Hitler could represent the Nazi regime to foreign powers as using legal means to channel existing racial tensions in a way that would allow “tolerable relations” to be established with the Jewish people while protecting their racial rights, for example to present Jewish colours.[12] To the general populace he could be presented as a responsible leader taking authoritative yet legal measures to protect public interests by preserving German purity and thus their racial advantages. In addition, Hitler and the Nazi regime could be portrayed as searching for judicial ways to end the wave of violent anti-Semitic actions that had taken place in Germany earlier in 1935 and thus bring peace to society.[13] Many Germans and Jews believed that the legal discrimination was a result of nationalistic and patriotic convictions, influenced by beliefs in the importance of racial purity, and that it would result in an end to racially-motivated violence.[14] Instead, each anti-Semitic law that passed without fervent domestic protest heightened the confidence of the Nazi regime that increasingly radical measures could be taken against the Jews and ultimately contributed towards the systematic and bureaucratically organised dehumanisation and destruction of millions of Jews.


Burleigh, Michael, The Third Reich: A new history, New York, 2000.

Domarus, Max, Hitler. Speeches and Proclamations 1932-1945. The Chronicle of a dictatorship. Volume II, 1935-1938, London, 1992.

Fink, Fritz, ‘Das Ende. Vom Juden noch im Tode betrogen,’ Der Stürmer, 37, 1935, in: German Propaganda Archive, (accessed 5 August 2006).

Hannaford, Ivan, Race: the history of an idea in the West, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, 1996.

Hitler, Adolf, Mein Kampf, trans. Ralph Manheim and intro. D.C. Watt, London, 1992, reprint, 2001.

Noakes, J. and G. Pridham, ed., Nazism, 1919-1945. Volume 2: State, Economy and Society, 1933-1939, Exeter, 1984.

Samuel, Richard, ‘The origin and development of the ideology of National Socialism’, The Australian Journal of Politics and History, 9, 1963, pp.59-77.

Sax, Benjamin C. and Dieter Kuntz, A Documentary History of Life in the Third Reich, Lexington and Toronto, 1992.

Stackelberg, Roderick, Hitler’s Germany: Origins, Interpretations, Legacies, London, 1999.

Welch, David, The Third Reich. Politics and Propaganda, 2nd edn, London, 1993.

[1] Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honour, 15 September 1935, in: Benjamin C. Sax and Dieter Kuntz, A Documentary History of Life in the Third Reich, Lexington and Toronto, 1992, pp. 406-8.
[2] Ivan Hannaford, Race: the history of an idea in the West, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, 1996, pp.183-7.
[3] Richard Samuel, ‘The origin and development of the ideology of National Socialism’, The Australian Journal of Politics and History, 9, 1963, pp.70-71.
[4] Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, trans. Ralph Manheim and intro. D.C. Watt, London, 1992, reprint, 2001, pp. 258-299.
[5] Ibid. pp. 272, 277-8.
[6] J. Noakes and G. Pridham, ed., Nazism, 1919-1945. Volume 2: State, Economy and Society, 1933-1939, Exeter, 1984, p. 521.
[7] Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 295.
[8] Roderick Stackelberg, Hitler’s Germany: Origins, Interpretations, Legacies, London, 1999,
pp. 130-1.
[9] Ibid. p. 145
The law would be expanded to include Gypsies and Negroes on 14 November 1935 but was chiefly considered as regarding Aryan/Jewish relations. Ibid. p. 146.
[10] For example: Fritz Fink, ‘Das Ende. Vom Juden noch im Tode betrogen,’ Der Stürmer, 37, 1935, in: German Propaganda Archive, <> (accessed 5 August 2006).
David Welch, The Third Reich. Politics and Propaganda, 2nd edn, London, 1993, p. 95.
[11] Stackelberg, pp. 146-7.
[12] Adolf Hitler, Speech to the Reichstag, Nuremberg, 15 September 1935, in: Max Domarus, Hitler. Speeches and Proclamations 1932-1945. The Chronicle of a dictatorship. Volume II, 1935-1938, London, 1992, pp.706.
[13] Michael Burleigh, The Third Reich: A new history, New York, 2000, pp. 288-296.
[14] Stackelberg, pp. 147-8. Burleigh, pp. 296-7.

Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor

Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor
September 15, 1935

Thoroughly convinced by the knowledge that the purity of German blood is essential for the further existence of the German people and animated by the inflexible will to safe-guard the Germannation for the entire future, the Reichstag has resolved upon thefollowing law unanimously, which is promulgated herewith:

1. Marriages between Jews and nationals of German or kindredblood are forbidden. Marriages concluded in defiance of this law are void, even if, for the purpose of evading this law, they are concluded abroad.
2. Proceedings for annulment may be initiated only by the Public Prosecutor.

Relation outside marriage between Jews and nationals for Germanor kindred blood are forbidden.

Jews will not be permitted to employ female nationals of Germanor kindred blood in their households.

1. Jews are forbidden to hoist the Reich and national flag and to present the colors of the Reich.
2. On the other hand they are permitted to present the Jewish colors. The exercise of this authority is protected by the State.

1. A person who acts contrary to the prohibition of section 1 will be punished with hard labor.
2. A person who acts contrary to the prohibition of section 2 will be punished with imprisonment or with hard labor.
3. A person who acts contrary to the provisions of section 3 or 4 will be punished with imprisonment up to a year and with a fine or with one of these penalties.

The Reich Minister of the Interior in agreement with the Deputyof the Fuehrer will issue the legal and administrative regulations which are required for the implementation and supplementation of this law.

The law will become effective on the day after the promulgation, section 3 however only on 1 January, 1936.

Nuremberg, the 15th day of September 1935 at the Reich Party Rally of Freedom.

The Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor
Adolph Hitler
The Reich Minister of the Interior
The Reich Minister of Justice
Dr. Goertner
The Deputy of the Fuehrer
R. Hess

More photos

It takes a little while for the photos to load so I was keeping myself amused yesterday by clicking on the random blogs button. Unfortunately, I often end up with a run of blogs from Mexico or the Ukraine or something - all of which are written in a language which I can't speak. Yesterday though I stumbled upon several American blogs and could thus keep myself entertained reading the thoughts, rantings and political observations of otheres. One blog that I came across is worthy of mention, if you're still in the mood for photographs - real, artistic ones rather than tourist shlock - check out this: Illuzional.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


The gardens at the airport are gorgeous; there's a couple of them spread out and koi too.

I'd forgotten i'd gone on the river cruise! It was bueno :) Even when they tried to stop though the current meant the photos tended to blur.

Going up the cable car...

The Dragons Walk

The Mighty Merlion

Volleyball on the beach

From the top of the towers :)

mmm Lagoon...

Southern most point....

He got the zoom the wrong way!! *g* ah well, I saw the coconut trees!


Sentosa Island


I'm not sure now whether I wouldn't have preferred a direct flight home rather than having another stopover. Getting through customs with an overly full suitcase and managing bags and everything is such a hassle. Heathrow is vicious in regards to carry-on and I had to repack my bag while I was there, whereas Singapore is lovely. They're quite happy for people to have several bags of carry-on as long as most of it's Duty Free. I was trying to get back four bottles of French/Spanish wine plus Duty Free spirits by the time I left Singapore...!

The second hotel was definitely much better. There was nothing particularly wrong with the Penisula Excelsior apart from bag security but the Allson was definitely of a higher class. For one thing they had a luggage room behind the concierge and had a security docket system for checking baggage in the day you were leaving. This was brilliant as I had an entire day to kill before the flight and was relieved to leave everything in safety. I also had two double beds in my room!! Random. And a gorgeous, gorgeous hot shower. I swear I was in there for an hour or so :)

I'd already been to Singapore and still had my map from last time. It was nice to know where the internet cafe was and where to find the bakery that I liked (sweet red bean pastries - so good). I went down to the Chinese night markets again nd got the last of my shopping done. I went down to the island of Sentosa for two days. The first day this guy on a business trip ended up tagging along with me for the day. I always wonder with guys that age if they find it flattering being seen with a younger woman or if it's just that they're so used to their wife that they find themselves at a loss without the company. Anyway, he was nice enough and it was nice having someone to chat to for the day. I did all the tourist things - went up the Merlion (Singapre's national symbol), looked at the orchids, did the forest walk, went to the Fort - the island was a British military base until the Japanese took over. The museum there was really interesting.

The next day I went back with my bikini etc... to read my romance novel underneath a coconut tree, swim in a real lagoon and dip my toes off the southernmost point of continental Asia. It was gorgeous. I ended up at a bit of a loss once I got back to the hotel though [the bus only leaves the island once an hour so you're much better to leave early than risk missing the one that you need]. I ended up strolling down to one of the huge street markets but it was the weirdest feeling to discover that I was sick of shopping!!

I was so glad to get home.... Thoroughly and utterly exhausted and stupidly grumpy as I tried to rush through unpacking and Mum was wanting me to sort through mail and stuff. sorry for being snappy. We were in a rush casuse Nick had a week off work and he wanted to get down to the bach on the Coromandel before it got too late. *g* It was really late by the time we got down there and got the fire going. I think I fell asleep in the car!

It was a brilliant week down there. Well, apart from Nick getting really sick - sick enough for me to jump in a manual car for the first time in years and drive us back to Auckland! But it was a relief to be back and look after him when he's sick rather than being on the opposite side of the world and unable to do anything about it. Very very glad to be in the same timezone again :)

Nos da cariad.

More later

Soccer practice calls...

Wrapping Up

Thanks again to all the family for everything!!! :) Dorrie do you have an email addy for UK? Adrian - I'm not sure if I've still got your's right?

I'm trying to think if there's anything I've missed. I've got some photos from Singapore still to put up and lots of private photos of all the family that I got to meet :)

I spent a day or two in London visiting places for the last time. I didn't get to the West End but definitely will next time!!

I did however go to the globe.... Their pricing is still based (proportionately) on a similar basis to it's original play days. Thus being a groundling and standing in the surround is only 5 pounds. Coriolanus was the performance of the night. It wasn't a play that I was particularly fond of in the reading but seeing it on the stage was amazing. They had a descending run coming out from each side of the stage and I was leaning on one of these - there was a fantastic fight scene right in front of me!! The stars came out above us as we watched and it was the most magical experience.


Lil' elephants

The babies were so cute!



On our way home we stopped at an Animal Park. The monkeys were really interesting. They seemed utterly uninterested in our presence until Wendy tried to take a photo of the baby and then suddenly it was surrounded and we were being glared at.

I finally worked out how to use the timer :)

St Augustine's Abbey

St Augustine's Abbey

St Augustine's Abbey

Location of monasteries in England before the Dissolution

Random building on my walk...

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales






Wall hanging

Memorial to the murder of Thomas Beckett

It was interesting to see that they had at least one example of the macabre tombs that became more common after the Black Death.


This was gorgeous...




Floor Plan




Cloister Walk





Cloister Walk

Cloister Walk