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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

#AgChatNZ

At last, thanks to our wee team of four,
AgChatNZ will begin
tomorrow night,
Wednesday 12th March
at 8pm
on the Twitter
following #agchatnz
and discussing
Brand New Zealand
 
 
I know, finally!
 
This twitter bug will lead the way
 
Sophie's handle is @sestanley1
Follow her....
 
Sophie was a Nuffield Scholar last year
and like me believes twitter is a brilliant forum
for farmers to connect with each other.
AgriHQ posted this interview with Sophie here
 
And Colin the tweeting farmer
will be spreading the word and
adding in a few of his own.
Colin is @NZcows
 
Next in our quartet of tweeting agvocates
is Shona Glentworth or as we know her
@implementnz
Shona wrote our first blog post and AgChatNZ topic
on Brand New Zealand here
on our website www.agchatnz.org.nz
 
 Then there's me,
I've been dreaming and pottering along
working slowly towards getting AgChatNZ up and going.
Thanks so Sophie, Colin and Shona for giving it all a nudge.
 
Join us on Wednesday at 8pm to chat about ag stuff in NuZild.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

stuff.co.nz and Simon Cowell

I get my news mainly from stuff.co.nz

It's easy to get there and has the usual amount of daily news,
which is not very much but
enough to keep one informed enough
to have conversations with other stuff readers.
 
I also enough reading The Herald newspaper,
but I like their hard copy rather than their website
firstly, because their paper is delivered to my workplace everyday,
secondly, because there's something nice about reading a newspaper
(but not enough for me to buy my own regularly once I moved to house with no fireplace).
 
What surprises me is the reasonably consistent poor
 quality of language ability and grammar on stuff.co.nz
 
It's poor.
Today's example was over kill with the term (sic).
When you see (sic) in an article it means:
 
sic1
sɪk/
adverb
adverb: sic
  1. 1.
    used in brackets after a copied or quoted word that appears odd or erroneous to show that the word is quoted exactly as it stands in the original, as in a story must hold a child's interest and ‘enrich his (sic) life’
To sum it up,
(sic) means the reporter or writer of the article is
distancing him or herself from the poor language skills of the
subject and/or person quoted in the article.
Nice.
 
So in today's entertainment section*
there is an article about Simon Cowell's new baby boy.
In the article, tweets from Mr Cowell's are quoted.
They are about little Eric with things like this,
"Named after my dad (sic)"
or
""I never knew how much love and pride I would feel,(sic)" he captioned the shot."
In case you missed it,
the (sic) is because Simon failed to put a full stop at the end of his sentence and
a comma at the end of the second example.
I feel this is quite judgemental of Mr Cowell as
I suspect the first (sic) may also refer to his use of a small 'd' on 'dad'.
Some people choose to use a capital 'D' on 'Dad'
but... oh let's go with who cares if you use a big 'D' or a little 'd'.
 
According to how I understand the grammar usage of generic names it should be
a capital 'D' as Simon is referring to a specific Dad,
namely his own.
If he were referring to a groups of dads,
as in a non-specific muddle of dads,
then a lower case 'd' would be appropriate.
 
 
Now  on Twitter there is a certain degree of leeway,
that's the point.
There's leeway on blogs because it's personal,
so quirky twists to language and errors are part and parcel of the nature of blogs.
But as a formal publication, that it will be assumed provides well researched,
c
orrect and current information that is
presented in a interesting and informative manner
with quality spelling and grammar,
thoughtlessness, overzealousness
What I learned a longtime ago,
in the communications business is that as long as you are consistent
in your poor or correct grammar,
then that is fine.
This is to accommodate the changes in how we use language over the generations.
 
But for stuff.co.nz to be sticklers about missing full stops and false commas
when quoting the bastion of poor and creative spelling and grammar, Twitter
but ignoring the very regular errors of spelling in other articles.

What I have realised is that the grammar Nazis are in the articles
directly gathered from overseas.
And the badly spelled articles are by domestic reporters. 
 
Unfortunate.
 
* The range of current events news is pretty limited, so I am forced to read the entertainment page.  It's not so bad I have to read the sports page.
 



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

odd day

I'm feeling frustrated and that's always a good time to post,
 
 
maybe an unwise time,
but let's throw caution to the wind and ride this sucker.
 
Where do I start?
It's been an odd day.
It's my fulla's birthday so that was a good start,
if somewhat underwhelming start,
as in I was more excited about giving gifts than
he was about receiving the particular gifts I chose with care.
Well not quite,
he loved the men's personal grooming set with nose hair trimmer,
and he liked the blue wireless mouse,
but my master piece,
tickets to see the Laughing Samoans,
my fulla's all time favourite comedians that are still alive.
I'm sure he will be more excited when we get to the show in six weeks time
but I wanted him bouncing off the roof now,
not in six weeks.
Still the nose hair trimmer was a hit.
 
Then I got a phone call from my mother.
The last few weeks or months have been a bit tense between us.
I read a quote yesterday about organising your wedding:
Don't fight with your mother. The relationship between the daughter and the mother can be difficult during the planning. The mother always think it's the daughter's wedding but that it's the mother's party. So it's incredibly important to maintain that connection between mother and daughter to make it into a fun, productive wedding instead of the struggle filled with fights.
 
 
Well we didn't actually fight but my mother opted out of the planning,
probably because she wanted to be more involved,
but she opted out in the second week of planning,
we didn't even have a date by then.
Then she complained that she hadn't been included.
I do have family that usually sides with her who confirm my side of this story.
 
Anyway, I digress.
This morning she phoned because last Friday
she had a go at me,
throwing out some pretty seriously nasty quotes from other family members
to suit her point of view and ill temper.
 
She has been unwell and is not happy, at all,
which is why I had left work early to pick her up
to take her to her chemist to collect her medication.
That is leave work early,
drive to the other side of town,
past the chemist,
to her house,
back to the chemist,
then back to her house,
all in the Friday evening rush hour at the end of my work week.
It was probably made it worse that I refused to answer her
cause I'm done fighting over things that really are not her business
or things that she can not express in a adult manner.
(adult manner does not mean naked or x-rated,
I just had a flash of one of my mature in age, not in conduct workmates laughing at that term).
Anyway she apologised,
which I think may be the first time ever she has done that to me.
She has done the "I'm sorry but..." type thing before.
Or the classic apologie with a side of insult of "I'm sorry you feel that way but..."
 
So I come to work,
when all I really want to do is stay home and cook with my new recipes for the giant marrow my (different, more mature) workmate gave me.
I'm not sure why he gave it to me but
I'm enjoying the challenge of finding something to do with it.
 
That and play Farmville2,
all day.
 
 
I get to work and notice that I could do with a face wax.
I get to work and my office is a mess.
I get to work and can't get the air con at the best temp.
I get to work and need to do an asset audit on items in my work car.
Of the four assests that should be in my car, I have two.
 
Maybe just being at a job that should be cool but isn't quite is my frustration.
 
#firstworldproblems
 
Now excuse me I have to go buy my husband a birthday cake.
I thought he didnt want one.
It turns out he just didn't want a yummy marrow chocolate cake
so he will have to have a cheapo store bought sponge.
Icing if he is lucky.
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Questions please....

I’m not sure if it’s a case that I have just had two weeks off for a bit of a summer hol over Christmas that has caused me to think quite deeply into things.


I got married last March, not very long ago at all, it seems like for forever but for good reasons.  So here’s the deal (have to stop saying that – a New Year’s resolution maybe (how long can you call them resolutions rather than goals? Is there a date that you need to move on from resolutions to goals?  Goals sound far less noble than resolutions don’t you think?)), I've realised not long after we married that people seemed to think it was ok to pushily progress your life along in the most invasive and nosy of ways with questions.

Because we organised our wedding in six weeks, we didn’t get the whole “when are you getting married” palaver. When you get engaged have flipping game plan people!  Sort out a date quick smart and just go with it.  That will styme questions quick smart. A wedding is just a day with a really big party (that’s relative – double entendre… boom!).  It’s the marriage that counts.

But even in that short time I was amazed as many people, many, many people offered their unsolisited opinion on what we should or shouldn't do for our wedding.  Some were horrified that I was wearing, and did wear an 'old' dress of mine.  Some were horrified our guest list was limited (by location and short notice).  Some were horrified that we were doing everything so budget - I do not use the term horrified lightly.
My fulla's duck face, yes my husband is an egg but a lovely egg.
Once married, it’s “when are you having kids?” and I imagine, when number one comes along the question chases after number two baby.  I however am of an age that people are a little cautious about asking that plus we moved to an area that not many people know us.  For the record I have three grown step children and one delightful one year old grandson aka the nephew (we aren't quite ready to be grandparents in our very early 40s).
 
Another aspect to my realization is that my mother asks the most blunt and invasive questions.  I’m not sure if she did this before I got married but  in the last 9 months she has said some monumental, what the heck style statements and questions.  Yesterday she asked me if I had regular periods. I think what she meant was am I monitoring my start dates in case I’m pregnant (I try to give people the benefit of the doubt).  What I heard as an underlying tone was “have you started menopause?”. You can see where my mind is but not a super bad way.  I kind of want my body to either get pregnant or make it impossible – either/or, just sort it. 
 
I was pregnant for 10 weeks a few months ago.  We were thrilled and happy (until I started freaking out about future income as I am the one with the larger, reliable income).  Being a periodic obsessive person (I get distracted too easily to be constantly obsessive - as you can see by all these bracketted additions)  I reveled in taking weekly pregnancy tests that had two lines until there was only one.  That sucked.  As did having a job interview the morning everything went south a few days later (I got the job so silver linings and all that).  What sucked more was being in a different city, even a different island to my husband so I just survived it on my own (I took myself to the Temple and that really helped emotionally). 
 
I was home the next day to really enjoy the joys of miscarrying.  Maybe that was when the blunt questions started.  I was asked some medical type questions by my mother at the time that made me feel like I was making everything up (like I have a history of being over dramatic – not ever). 
My realization (for the purposes of this text heavy blog post) is that people ask the most invasive questions and offer their opinions with little regard for how they may impact another.  I couldn’t imagine being a celebrity, being asked these sorts of questions by complete strangers for the consumption of hoardes of complete strangers.  I mean seriously whose business it is if someone is gay or not, pregnant or not, looking crap in a post-Christmas bikini other than your own?
All I can say is, if I have ever asked you an inappropriately timed, ill advised, insensitive question please forgive me as I try to not be offended by those who ask me. 

But, seriously, where do people get off?  Really.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Ngaroma

Now there's a placename you will be familiar with.
If you were to google Ngaroma
you will come up with not much;
a natural cosmetic company called Naturally NgaRoma
which used to be in Ngaroma but has since moved;
some road maps;
and the annual rainfall in Ngaroma
(The link is here cause it probably is the most interesting).

Ngaroma is not anywhere I can describe
other than generally, non-specifically just a little
north of the central North Island.
They farm sheeps and beefs and deers there.
The people are straight forward, salt of the earthers and,
frankly you have to ask,
what was I doing there?

Well we have a pest eradication project in
the Rangitoto Range (above) planned for next year so
my workmate Hazelnut who is responsible for community consultation
organized a community open house in Ngaroma.
We like to see what the community has to say about our efforts
to protect agriculture in their neighbourhood
by killing as many TB toting possums as we can.
Some people think we are trying to kill anything that moves
but really the poison we use can only kill animals
of a certain size,
of possum in size in fact.
Anyway this is not what I'm posting about.
 When you travel around the back country
there are interesting and special people resident
in many of the locations you may stumble upon.
Now these people are not always that evident until you stick around for a bit
or are welcomed into the community
or are turning up to tell people something they will want to discuss.

As Hazelnut and I drove into Ngaroma
(Ngaroma doesn't actually have a grouping of buildings
so as you'd know you were in Ngaroma)
 we flew passed a swanndri coated figure waving to us
from the side of the narrow road.
She was such an apparition that
I actually checked my rear vision mirror to see if she wasn't a ghost.
She wasn't.
We carried on, arriving at the Ngaroma hall
(Very nice hall, ideally suited for weddings and lazy BBQs)
and with a view like this who can complain
(that house across the road is for sale if you are interested)


But within 30 minutes the weather kicked in
and two solid hours of rain started.
Solid rain means heavy, relentless rain
the redeeming grace was that it was pretty warm.
Except that I left my car windows open a wee bit.


Our Ngaroma ghost lady arrived just before the rain did.
She proved to be very, very interesting.

I do enjoy in a curious way talking to people
who have mental health issues
(except my uncle cause that is way too close to home).
The Ngaroma ghost lady appears to have lost the plot in 1984.
Though it is entirely possible she helped call the 1984 election
which saw Prime Minister/dictator Robert Muldoon disposed
in favour of some of my favourite politicians.
I suspect not.
The Ngaroma ghost lady had plenty of theories
about lots of key events in New Zealand history.
It turns out that one of my committee members is responsible for
the Crewe murders of 1970
Thank goodness I wasn't born then or I may have been implicated myself.
This feeling of guilt has probably contributed to his cocaine habit.

The Nagroma ghost lady spun some pretty fantabulous yarns.
Most involving police drug squads and sky hawk planes.
Much of what she had to say was based in truth and reality
but in her head had spun out to the extreme.
All the same, she was quite fun to chat to
and when I gave her a ride home
she seemed to appreciate it.

You can never tell who you will meet in small towns.
The Ngaroma ghost lady was a treat to meet unexpectedly.
Should you wander off the beat track and to Ngaroma,
I'm sure she will be there and
will fill you in on the local drug gangs and
the bad habits of the locals.