Sunday, 1 April 2012

The Naked Rambler (update)

I first wrote about Stephen Gough (aka the Naked Rambler) nearly five years ago. In fact, I mentioned him in my very first post, as it was a TV documentary about him that was one of the main catalysts for my Nakasendo walk in 2007. Since that first post in April 2007 I've completed two epic walks and one not-so-epic walk. Gough, meanwhile, has been languishing in a Scottish prison, serving a succession of sentences for breach of the peace and contempt of court. All the sentences stem from his refusal to wear clothes. As the The Guardian's Neil Forsyth puts it, "he's effectively been in custody for nearly six years for refusing to get dressed."

You can read the article here.

Monday, 30 January 2012


From the House of Travel website:

Top 5 Things to do in Asia:
• Barter at the local markets in Thailand for a great bargain
Personally I found I got better bargains if I paid for things with actual money.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Summer holiday reading

One evening in early March, when she went to the Rockefeller Library to pick up the reserve reading for Semiotics 211, she found Leonard there as well. He was leaning against the counter, speaking animatedly to the girl on duty, who was unfortunately rather cute in a busty Bettie Page way.
"Think about it, though," Leonard was saying to the girl, "Think about it from the point of view of the fly."
"O.K., I'm a fly," the girl said with a throaty laugh.
"We move in slow motion to them. They can see the swatter coming from a million miles away. The flies are like, 'Wake me when the swatter gets close.'"
Noticing Madeleine, the girl told Leonard, "Just a sec."
Madeleine held out her call order slip, and the girl took it and went off into the stacks.
"Picking up the Balzac?" Leonard said.
"Balzac to the rescue."
Normally, Madeleine would have had many things to say to this, many comments about Balzac to make. But her mind was a blank. She didn't even remember to smile until he'd looked away.
Bettie Page came back with Madeleine's order, sliding it toward her and immediately turning back to Leonard. He seemed different than he did in class, more exuberant, supercharged. He raised his eyebrows in a crazed, Jack Nicholson way and said, "My housefly theory is related to my theory about why time seems to go faster as you get older."
"Why's that?" the girl asked.
"It's proportional," Leonard explained. "When you're five, you've only been alive a couple thousand days. But by the time you're fifty, you've lived around twenty thousand days. So a day when you're five seems longer because it's a greater percentage of the whole."
"Yeah, sure," the girl teased, "that follows."
But Madeleine had understood. "That makes sense," she said. "I always wondered why that was."
"It's just a theory," Leonard said.
Bettie Page tapped Leonard's hand to get his attention. "Flies aren't always so fast," she said. "I've caught flies in my bare hands before."
"Especially in winter," Leonard said. "That's probably the kind of fly I'd be. One of those knucklehead winter flies."
There was no good excuse for Madeleine to hang around the reserve reading room, and so she put the Balzac into her bag and headed out.
From The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

Monday, 2 January 2012

New Year's quiz

Which famous singer, who was once a maths teacher, walked across Japan in the early 1980s?

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Living in the material world

From the Wikipedia article on George Harrison:
In a complaint later brought on behalf of Harrison's estate, it was alleged that while under the care of Staten Island University Hospital [where he was undergoing radiotherapy for lung cancer], Dr Gilbert Lederman, a radiation oncologist, repeatedly revealed Harrison's confidential medical information during television interviews and forced him to autograph a guitar. The complaint alleged that Lederman and his family came to visit Harrison and began singing, and that, in laboured breaths, Harrison said, "Please stop talking." Later, Lederman allegedly had his son play the guitar for Harrison. The complaint alleged that after the performance, Lederman asked Harrison for an autograph on the guitar, and that Harrison responded, "I do not even know if I know how to sign my name any more." Lederman then allegedly took Harrison's hand and guided his hand along to spell his name while encouraging him by saying, "Come on, George. You can do this. G-E-O...". The suit was ultimately settled out of court under the condition that the guitar be "disposed of".

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Te Araroa revisited

Back in August 2007 (yes, this blog really has been going that long) I wrote about Te Araroa, the proposed walking track running the length of New Zealand. I mentioned that it was due to open in 2008.

Well, today, some three years behind schedule, it was officially opened. In this story on the Radio New Zealand website, the chief executive of Te Araroa Trust, Geoff Chapple, who conceived the idea of the track, is quoted as saying he'd like to see all New Zealanders make it their goal to walk it.

"I remember Mao Zedong saying every Chinese has to see the Great Wall at some time," he says. "Cultural goals are we'll put it up as a goal: walk New Zealand in your lifetime."

The official Te Araroa website is here.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Road Cone Exhibition

The other day I took my camera into central Christchurch for the first time since the earthquake in February. My main aim was to take some photos of the Road Cone Exhibition for Erik, but I also took a couple of photos of buildings inside the "red zone".

This is Clarendon Tower, which is awaiting demolition.

And this is Rydges Hotel, which is currently inaccessible but due to reopen in 2012. In the foreground is the plinth that once supported the Scott Statue, which toppled and was damaged in the earthquake. There's a picture of what's left of the statue here.

So, on to the exhibition, which featured over 40 cone sculptures by Certificate in Design students at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT). The venue was under a large tree in the Botanic Gardens.

Below are just a few of the many fine pieces on display.