Sicky today…

February 20th, 2015

…haven’t slept very well this week. Yesterday was Ange’s birthday and I tried to treat it as just another day, but it’s not just another day. It’s another milestone that she doesn’t get to celebrate and we don’t get to share with her.
I am lucky though. She lives on in her sisters and in her daughter. They each display traits that are reminders of her and in that way she will never really be gone.
Love you Ange, miss you bigtime xox

Sat down to watch the oppositions show last night.

July 3rd, 2013

Mandi forewarned me when I sat down to watch it. I’d already figured there would be EQ footage as I knew it was in Chch because of the rebuild etc., but it’s funny how even when you’re prepared for it, it can still smack you in the face and stop you in your tracks.
1st shot I saw, was the Iconic Bar crumbling and me scrambling away from the rubble. When I explain that moment in time to people; they get the seriousness of the situation; they understand the danger of the moment. I don’t think they realise that moments earlier I was desperately trying to free my friends body from under that rubble. That moment in time and the few minutes that precede it will remain with me forever. I won’t say they haunt me but they certainly don’t comfort me.

The very next shot was my car, crushed and flattened by a concrete parapet. Shocking enough in itself but on the tail of the previous image I find it almost comforting.
Mandi doesn’t like that image. It takes her back to that day and the turmoil that surrounded it. It reminds her of the disbelief she had when I told her the car had been crushed. She couldn’t comprehend that it was just gone. When I pointed it out to her on the TV news clips she couldn’t even recognise it. When she finally came to terms with it, it just hammered home to her how close I came to being crushed to death. If that had happened she probably would not have known for days as I had not originally intended to be in town that day.

I was lucky that day, …didn’t feel lucky at the time though.

…now and then, …

May 18th, 2013

I think it’s official (or at least it should be) I must be the most infrequent user of this blogsite there is.
…but I still love it ;-)
For anyone who cares, I will continue to post (infrequently or otherwise) on this site. Some of those posts will be spontaneous and some will be the result of ongoing (if somewhat sporadic) forays in to creative and/or biographical recording. Potluck I guess ;-)

The first 2 seconds you just stop.

September 4th, 2012

September 4th 2012,  2 years since the 7.1 that started major changes in so many lives around me.

At that moment when the earthquake struck, the band Pump had just finished playing at The Southern Blues Bar in Madras Street.  Most had already left.  There were only a handful of people other than band and staff still finishing off their last drinks before leaving the bar.

The first 2 seconds you just stop.  Then when the dust starts falling from the ceiling you suddenly realise “This is real!”  The bar leaners are 2 inch thick solid rimu tops planted firmly on 12 inch diameter posts, 2 people dive under them but most of the others just dash for the door.  I duck down beside the bar, trying to squeeze my XXXL, 6ft, 19st. frame under the 4 inch overhang of the bar top.  It rocks on for what seems like 2 minutes and everytime I consider dashing for better cover it seems to intensify, rooting me to the spot.

45 seconds after it started, it stopped.  There is silence, for an eternal second, followed by a string of expletives from absolutely everywhere.   I would not be at all surprised if the whole city spontaneously swore right at that moment.


In the first few minutes that followed there was no immediate phone access.  The band members decided that going home to check on families etc. was more important than packing up the remainder of their gear (fair enough) so they high-tailed it out the door.  It wasn’t the first “critical” event I had experienced at the bar so I just clicked straight in to “management mode”, checked everyone was ok and started cleaning up.

It was probably 10 minutes before I checked outside the front of the building and realised that most of the rest of town had lost power.  Standing at the corner of our block was like standing in the centre of a pie-chart where 1/4 of the pie is in light and 3/4 is in pitch black darkness.  As I peered in to the darkness, I realised there was a car down the road that had been pummeled by the fallen parapet of the building it was parked beside.  I knew there would be no-one in it as it was the only car in sight and 15 minutes earlier (just before the quake) there were dozens of cars parked that side of the street.  I scanned the top of our building and realised there were also a few bricks missing from our parapet.  That’s when it started to dawn on me that this was indeed a big quake.  I rang home to check on the family, by this time we’d had a few aftershocks, they were all together and ok.  I went up on to the roof to check the parapet, much of it had collapsed on to the building next door and I discovered that I could see down in to the bar.  I rang Nigel and Leanna, (Blues Bar owners) to give them a report on the status of the bar.  Their place got it pretty bad.  I arranged to get some tarpaulins from Bunnings for them and meet up later on to patch up the parapet, then I carried on cleaning and tidying before heading off to my day job.

I would normally go home for a few hours sleep before starting work at 9.30, but considering I’d stayed at the bar nearly 2 hours longer than normal to clean up, I figured there might be some clean up required at Bunnings before I started work.  The sky was just starting to light up as I drove down Madras Street from the bar and I was too focussed on the road (and it’s newly acquired undulations) to notice much of the damage to my surroundings.  I arrived at the store at the same time as the complex manager and the operations manager and the 3 of us entered the building together.  Everyone must have had similar lines of thought because within minutes half the rostered team were there and it was still more than an hour to opening.  We did our best to open, but apart from the logistics of doing sales without power in an eftpos reliant society, the aftershocks were prevalent and the decision was made to close the store for safety reasons.  I was low on petrol and realising that most petrol stations between work and home would have been affected by the earthquake I took the long way home to try and find a service station that was working.  This meant that I circled around town, going through the lesser affected suburbs.  As I surveyed these suburbs I was relieved to see not nearly as much damage as I had feared.  When I got home and walked in to the lounge I was shocked.

The television was showing the damage around the city.  I had been right in the middle of all that and yet somehow oblivious to it all.  I had realised the situation was serious and yet had no idea of it’s enormity and impact.  I don’t know why I was fortunate enough to come through that situation unscathed.  Nor do I know why, when the 2nd major  earthquake struck on February 22nd, I was even more fortunate to survive once again being so close to the centre of all the chaos that ensued.  But I am glad that I did.

I got a wee bit of a fright this week.

September 1st, 2012

I went to the doctor on Tuesday:

  • I’ve been coughing up phlegm since Saturday.
  • My knee has been bothering me, so I put my case to the Doc for that knee replacement surgery that was recommended 4 years ago.
  • My diabetes medicine is almost finished so it’s time for more blood tests.

Antibiotics were the obvious fix for the phlegm issue.

Doc agrees it’s time for surgery so he’s scheduling some up-to-date xrays and arranging a referral to a specialist.

He wrote me a prescription for the next 3 months, and got his nurse to take some blood tests.  She said that if necessary she would get in touch with me when the results come back, but if I don’t hear from her that means everything is OK.  I heard from her.  She rang me the next day and said that my doctor would like to see me ASAP.  She explained that my blood sugar levels were a bit high and the doctor would like to speak to me about them.  I asked how high they were, she replied “62.”

Now, I know that I’ve been a bit “naughty” of late as far as foods go, so I wasn’t expecting miraculous “sugarfree” results, but considering I was diagnosed as diabetic because of a 9.5% blood reading, my most recent reading was 7.5% and our target is to get between 4 and 6%, I was almost floored by a reading of 62.  I thought that most people were comatose by the time they got anywhere near 40%.

I was hesitant to share this news with Mandi.  She was both unimpressed and worried, and was anxious for me to see the doctor so we could find out what was happening.  I saw him the next morning.  He voiced his concerns about not having gained control of my blood sugar levels and I confessed that I’d had 2 or 3 weeks of “indulging” in treats to offset the stress and discomfort of my knee.  He seemed to think that would explain it, but I still thought 62 was extreeeeemely high.  That’s he when he explained that the scale has changed!!!  My current reading is 62 mmol/mol.  My previous reading was 7.5% which equates to 58 mmol/mol.  He showed me the comparitive scale and I could see that 58 and 62 were actually either side of 7.5%.  Using % only, my readings would have been rounded to 7.5 and 7.8, by using mmol/mol they can more easily identify subtle changes.

So whilst my blood sugar levels are still a concerrn, they’re not critical as I thought they were and I feel that I am more able to control them especially considering how “indulgent” I have been lately.  That said, last nights cocoa rice was indulgent, but certainly not as excessive as I have been lately and tomorrows Fathers Day treat will be my last for a while.  I’ve got 3 months of meds then I’m back to the doctor to show him how much I’ve improved.  My target is to get down to between 20 and 42 mmol/mol.  If I can be in the mid or low 40’s by then I’ll be happy that I’m heading in the right direction.

mmol/mol = milli moles per mole, conversion chart/diabeteschart



A simple yet thought provoking line from the movie “Love and Other Drugs”

May 11th, 2012

“…you meet thousands of people and none of them really touch you. And then you meet one person and your life is changed forever. “

…a year on

February 22nd, 2012

I went for a drive earlier tonight.

I made a point of parking the car near the outskirts of the town that was.

I got out and walked up to a street corner that was bordered down one side by the wire mesh fences that have kept most of us out of town for the last year.

I stood and looked up into the night sky.  I watched as the spotlights circled through the sky above our once bustling city.  I cried.

Maybe it was because they served as a reminder of the 2 devastating earthquakes that had changed our skyline, or maybe it was because their time has come.  It was predetermined when the decision was made to have these 2 beacons, that they would be extinguished on the anniversary of the 6.3 that destroyed so much of our city.

Light signifies hope and it has been comforting to see these lights shining in our night skies over the past few months and think that there is hope.  But the time has come to move forward.  Hope is much like a Dream, it can give you purpose, but until you act upon it, it has no substance.  So many of us have lost so much to this terrible tragedy that has put many of our lives on hold for the last year, but there is hope, and I, for one, am ready to move forward.

I let the tears flow, and I resolved to give substance and meaning to my hopes, my aspirations, my dreams.


An interesting, yet profitable, night at the baize

February 2nd, 2012

Last Friday night was a good one for me.  4 of us played in the first of the regularly scheduled Movers and Shakers tourneys that are in PokerStars Home Games tab and I took the prize money.  An hour later the knockout tournament started and only 3 showed up to play, but with an entry fee of $13.50, that meant $30 to the eventual winner and a $2.50 bounty on each player.  I weaved my magic ;-) and claimed all 3 bounty’s as well as the purse.  That resulted in a $57.50 payout for the night; after expenses (entry fees) I was left with a $38.50 nett profit.  Not enough to make a living off but enough to make it a worthwhile alternative to twiddling my thumbs on a Friday night.

Alas, Monday night was a different story.  Tahu showed up, Olly did too but he didn’t realise he had to register with Home Games first and was still hanging around waiting for an invite half an hour after the game had finished, and Big Jase was busy being industrious with Farmville.  To make things worse, I got called away from the computer just as the game was about to start.  Mandi played the first 10 minutes on my behalf, and going by her description of the hands she played, I probably would have played them the same way she did, but the fact is when I came back my chip stack was close to $300 and Tahu’s was about $2700.  I managed to stretch it out a bit but was never able to get back on an even footing (he’s to good to allow that) so it was virtually inevitable that he eventually won.

Tonight I had a wee tiki tour around the other PokerStars Home Games clubs and ended up joining 2 of them.  Both have close to 300 members so consistent turnouts are more likely.  I’m still waiting for acceptance/confirmation to On The Mac, it seeems to be Australian based with a large number of regularly scheduled tournaments.

The other club is called High Hand Jackpot and it only has ring games.  This would normally not appeal to me BUT the thing that makes this club different is:

  • if you win a hand with 4 of a kind or better, they credit your account with $20.
  • if you were dealt in on a hand where someone else wins with quads or better (even if you fold pre-flop), they credit your account with $10.

There are some conditions but nothing exceptional:

  • winning hand must go to showdown
  • winning hand must feature both hole cards
  • no collusion to play hands soft

I spoke with the host of this club.  It’s being done as a promotion so it will probably only be there for a few weeks.  Once a week they run a search program for all the club games that have featured wins with quads or better.  They check the details and all payouts are made on Tuesday.  I sat at the first table to play with $8, blinds were 5c/10c.

After close to an hour of play the player to my left had pocket 9’s.  There was a 9 in the flop and a 9 on the turn and at the showdown he revealed his quads.  The problem is that he never bet post-flop.  He won 48c from that hand, but under normal circumstances most people would have bet following the flop to represent the set of 9’s, then after the turn even if they decided to slow play the hand they would have bet after the river especially considering he was positioned on the button.  I don’t believe they’ll pay out for that one ‘cos he definitely soft played the hand to make sure it went to the showdown.  If they do, I’ll get $10 even though I folded pre-flop.

Close to an hour later, and my stack was dwindling, I had $2.91 remaining.  I had JK so I decided to play.  From the small blind with 1 caller I raised to 50c.  Big Blind and early caller both called. Flop was 6 A 6.  3 checks.  Turn was Q, I check, Big Blind bet 50c, the other guy folds, I’m left wondering did he slow play the flop or has he just paired the Queen.  My straight draw urges me to call.  The River is a K.  I’m paired and I’m tired, I make the decision without hesitation.  If he has paired his Q I’m a winner, If he has paired his A or tripped his 6, then it’s bedtime anyways.  ALL IN.  He calls instantly and reveals his hole cards, 6 6.  So he takes the pot $6.32 minus rake plus he gets to look forward to an extra $20 next Tuesday and I, and everyone else seated at the table, get to look forward to $10 next Tuesday (and depending on how strict the hosts are I may even get $10 for the other one)

…so I sat down with $8, left with nothing, but I still made a profit!

Poker Night; the first of many I hope

January 15th, 2012

Last night I hosted my first online poker “Home Game”.

I would call it a success except for the fact that I didn’t win, worse than that I was the first one knocked out of the first tournament.  I lasted 4 hands!  In my defence I had 4 playable hands, it’s just that in 2 of those hands there were others with better playable hands! (note to self: QQ will not beat JJ when the board is showng, 9-10-Q  –  K  –  A)

The night featured 2 tournaments that ran concurrently and a regular ring table with 5c and 10c blinds.  My mstake was playing all 3 tables at the same time!  Whilst this can be done, there was only one other person at the ring table (so there was virtually no down time) and six others at each of the 2 tourneys.  Consequently I was rushing between tables and not studying the play closely enough.

The first of the tourneys was a straightforward winner-takes-all tournament.  The entry fee was $5.50.  $5 for the prize pool and 50c to PokerStars for allowing us to use their poker site.  Six players in meant a purse of $30 for the eventual winner.  Nek minnit (x 58) Mike (aka Mad Dog Fos) was that eventual winner and he had the grace to come and share his winnings at the ring table where Andrea (aka Lipstix_Won) was busy chipping away at my stack.  I was just glad for the respite (she’s ruthless that girl).

The other tourney was a knockout tournament for play money (kindly donated by PokerStars).   It cost $655PM to enter: $500PM for the main prize pool, $125PM for the bounties and $30PM to PokerStars so they feel good about hosting us.  The bounties are rewarded to a player every time they knock someone out of the game, hence knockout.  Reeling from having just been knocked out of the first tournament, I had much pleasure taking the first scalp and sent k1w1rocker packing so he could concentrate on the other tourney.  The remaining scalps however, were all claimed by bump89 and although I managed to claim the chip lead a few times, victory was eventually his.

Many thanks to those who were able to take part in Poker Night; the first of many, I hope.  All those that have already joined the Movers and Shakers have been made administrators in the hope they can attract others to the club.  It would be nice to see the regular Friday and Saturday night tourneys become a well anticipated fixture.


You are invited to join my private poker club for Home Games online.

– If you don’t already have it, download the free PokerStars software from
– Open the main poker lobby, then click on the Home Games tab
– Click the ‘Join a Poker Club’ button
– Enter my Club ID number: 580931
– Enter my Invitation Code: chchcity

That’s it!  Once I’ve approved your membership request, we’ll be ready to start playing Home Games online together.

If you want to find out more, visit



Life is not meant to be fair.

December 6th, 2011

If life were fair, good things would come to good people and people who break the rules would suffer the consequences.  People who lead dangerous but exciting lives would live the action packed existence that they strive for, however short that may be.  Whereas those that choose to do all the right things:  work hard, achieve well, marry, buy a house, raise beautiful children, accumulate friends just through sheer and genuine niceness would live long productive and rewarding lives.  If life were fair only fat people would have heart attacks, only smokers would get lung cancer,  only drunk drivers would suffer disfigurement and amputations.  If life were fair good people wouldn’t be prone to random, nonsensical occurrences that take lives.

If life were fair my dear nephew, who was taught from a young age to “Always be the best you can be, because as long as you’re trying your hardest then nobody can ask anything more of you.”, would still be alive today.

But life is not fair.  If anything, it is random.  We may wonder what point there is to striving to live a good, purposeful life.  Especially when we witness what can only be described as a crime against humanity (When a young man strives to live a good life and by all accounts he is achieving such, when that young man suddenly dies, so many others are suddenly affected; THAT is a crime against humanity.)  I know there will be some that take the attitude “What’s the point?  Why make the effort to do all the right things, to live a decent life and set a good example?  Especially when it can all be taken from you in an instant!”

The answer is simple:  Because we should; if only to give meaning to those before us who have done so.  To prove that life IS a blessing.  To show that they DID make an impact in this world!

Life is NOT fair, but maybe it’s not supposed to be.  Maybe THAT’s the point.  We shouldn’t expect life to be all cookies and cream just because we’re nice people that do nice things.  We should expect to have to strive to achieve so that we value and appreciate what we receive as opposed to taking the good things in life for granted.  Life is NOT fair.  Sometimes I wish it was, but I do understand that things can’t be how I want them to be simply because that’s how I want it.

There are so many things in life that can be such a struggle to understand, but one thing I am aware of is that nobody has a greater influence on my life than I do.  Despite the unfairness we sometimes witness and are subjected to we still have more control on our own situations than any other force of nature or God.  I will strive to live what I consider to be a worthwhile existence simply because I can.  I will do so because I refuse to accept any defeatist notion that I am at the mercy of lifes cruel and unfair whims.  I will do so as a sign of respect to all those who have had a positive influence on my life.  I will do so as an example to those I love, that life is ours to live.

Ia manuia lou malaga – safety and well being on your journey