We just went and saw Charlie Wilson’s War, which as written by Aaron Sorkin, the main guy behind the West Wing, and so I should have know that it would be funny, involving and cleverly political.

It was a damn funny piece of movie making (the opening scene has the protagonist sitting naked in a jacuzzi with another guy and 3 naked girls, trying to ask a guy who’s trashed on cocaine to turn the volume up on the TV so he can listen to something that’s just caught his eye) but the more you look at it the more you realise that it uses the humor of the social situations to mask the seriousness of the underlying story and it’s messages, giving them the chance to sneak into your brain while your guard is down.

Turns out it’s about America’s short sightedness (initially not wanting to fight the Russians because they didn’t want to seem too overt in their actions, and then having backed the Afghani’s in driving the Russians out, withdrawing all support and leaving the country to those who would eventually flood America with heroin, and blow up the world trade centers).
And how one man can change things, if only for a little while.

Weak at the knees

This is seriously the coolest thing ever!!!! Imagine the applications for this!

(You might want to skip directly to the middle to aviod the interesting but slightly dry description of how it works, to the bit where you see it in action).


Yesterday Simone and I went and pre-emptively spent some of our baby bonus on a new TV.

There is a running joke in the medical community that the baby bonus is actually the wide screen plasma TV bonus, seeing as that seems to be what a lot of the younger, lower socioeconomic new parents reportedly go out and spend the baby bonus on.

We’d been looking to upgrade for a while as the old TV was 10 years old and would be next to impossible to get working with either digital TV or a computer/hard disc based home media and recording system (which is also on my to do list).

Once we got it set up (it only just fit into the existing TV cabinet and took a bit of fiddling to get the cables all in the right places) the problems that I have found is that I feel uncomfortable sitting and watching the TV because it seems almost too pretty. The picture is so crisp, and all the new high definition digital channels are frankly breathtaking.

We didn’t really spend all that much money in the grand scheme of things (we only spent a small proportion of the potential baby bonus) but with the new technologies a little goes a long way, and I kind of feel uncomfortably extravagant sitting watching TV in 32 inch crystal clear digital, when our old analogue TV did an adequate job most of the time…

Career change

Well today marked a change in both Simone and my careers.

I started my first day as an orthopaedic registrar (no more ward call – Yay!!!) and Simone began a career diversion as a one year lady of leisure (well perhaps not an entire year, but until the baby arrives at least).

I got to operate all day, and Simone got to sleep in until 10:30am.

Still I also arrived home to a cooked dinner and a martini (both of which had been part of a recent running joke between the two of us), so I can’t really complain about her getting to have a sleep in.

Hail to the King Baby

A while back I watched a little doco on the town of Parkes in New South Wales, and it’s annual Elvis¬† festival. Now the Doco was a pretty mediocre thing, but I rather liked the festival notion, and given that I’ve wanted to go to Parkes for a while anyway (its home of one of Australia’s largest radio telescopes, made famous by the movie “The Dish”) I though that a road trip to see both things might have to be on the cards at some point.

Anyway. The festival is on again and if you believe the locals, Elvis lives in Parkes.

(And a little note to any members of the Bells who are reading this, I reckon we should do this as a Bells Camp in a year or two…)

Sir Ed

It’s funny how much Ed Hillary became such an unassuming yet indispensible part of the psyche of the New Zealand people, such that having never met the man I still feel like I knew him, and feel…¬† I think disappointed is probably the best word, that he has died. It would have been nice to have him around forever, no matter how naive that sentament may be.

He was one of those people who everyone is aware of, most people like because of their humble demeanour coupled with selfless good deeds, and who has left a disproportionately large gulf when they finally died.

I think most people if you asked them would say that to New Zealanders Sir Ed was kind of like the fun great uncle that you seldom saw but when they showed up always had a grin, and good story, and a sturdy knee to bounce on, and who was thought of fondly when they were away.

So unfortunately now there is not much to do apart from smiling at his life, and continuing to think of him fondly.

Juvenile political activism

The other day I stumbled upon a website about a New Hampshire mother who was using her state’s political significance as an opportunity to get photos of her baby with every candidate in the current US presidential race. Some of the photos are quite funny. Barak Obama seems to have the touch, but Rudy Guiliani just looks startled at the fact that the baby is crying. Possibly the best ones are of the baby with Chuck Norris and Mike Huckabee. Perhaps she was just having a good hair day or something.