Over In Professional Land…

March 28, 2011
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I am a messy blogger. I try to be tidy, I try to have a place for everything and everything in its place, but it doesn’t always work out quite like that.

For instance, this blog that you’re reading is called Designomicon partly because I am a designer, and I wanted to write about design.

But then I needed to set up a strictly work related blog. Of course, I’m a game designer, so I write about design on there, but only professional stuff, by which I mean things which either pay or may pay in the future.

Yet rules like the one I just mentioned are only marginally helpful at times. For instance, I just wrote a post on there about presentations (work) but more about the design of presentations, which possibly fits better on this blog. How can I be so terrible at filing!

Anyway, you can read all about it here. I’m so thankful for hypertext.

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Pop Review: A&W Cream Soda

March 24, 2011
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Given that cream soda is meant to taste of vanilla it was surprising to see this can advertise the fact. Was it for the benefit of neophyte pop purveyors or was it an intimation as to the sheer vanillayness of the stuff? Only one way to find out.

A&W Cream Soda - Note the explicit mention of vanilla...

As my last cream soda experience had a crazy colour to it, I expected this one to be the usual, disappointing, pedestrian clear, just on the basis of experience. Instead I found it to have the browness of ginger beer, which is just weird.

It looked more brown in the flesh, like Lipton Ice Tea...

But the colour is unimportant because, upon tasting, I discovered just how creamy a cream soda can be. Amazingly creamy, like fizzy velvet. If you gave your cat a sip of it then it would be robbing your wallet on a daily basis to buy the stuff. You have to send it to rehab, and even then there’d be a 99% chance of relapse.

This is, without question, the best cream soda that I have every tasted.

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Poor At Feline Pill Popping

March 23, 2011
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A couple of months ago I wrote a post declaring that I had become an expert of giving my turbo charged cat its thyroid treatment pills – I was the king of cat medication.

Sadly, I must give up my crown, because I seem to have lost the knack.

I’ve even tried new methods, like coating the pill in peanut butter, which the cat loves, but after some initial success she’s gotten wise, and now just uses her burred tongue to denude the pill of its coating without actually consuming it.

The other day I became so desperate that I tried to warn the cat of the consequences of not taking her medication, like the fact that we’ll have to go to the vet again, who will almost certainly take her temperature once more, and the thermometer won’t be stuck in her mouth, no siree!

But the cat just gave me that ‘I don’t speak English’ stare.


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Ten Minute Gardening

March 22, 2011
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Since buying my super powered secateurs last week I have been attempting to do more gardening. Some of this has just been cutting things back, so that I can walk down the path without being assaulted by branches, like a very, very mild version of Evil Dead, but some has been more like proper gardening.


A bounty of lemons - orange, feijoas and lime just hanging out...


To help motivate me I have come up with a system that I call Ten Minute Gardening. The idea being that I commit to a mere ten minutes of gardening per day. Don’t get me wrong, it’s rare that it’s only ten minutes that I’m outside blundering about like a brown fingered noggin, but I only commit to ten minutes, and let the rest of it just flow.

So far I have cleared the lemon tree of the creeper that was trying to throttle it, harvested a fair old bounty of lemons, reinforced the planter that I built (and still haven’t planted anything in) and discovered that my potatoes are smaller than my little finger nail.

I also cut branches off the tree next to the bay tree and hung them up to dry because I thought they were branches off the bay tree and wanted to harvest the leaves, but then threw the branches away because they weren’t branches, or leaves, off the bay tree. But I don’t talk about that.

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Wellington Dragon Boat Festival 2011

March 20, 2011
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There’s really not a lot I can say about dragon boating that I haven’t already written on my own blog last year. This year though, I was not taking part, I was a mere observer, which allowed me to take a whole bunch of pictures towards the end of the day. Here’s an example of one, but there’s a whole bunch more on my Flickr gallery.

The Dragon Flys powering to the finish...

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Pop Review: Golden Circle Creaming Soda

March 18, 2011

Today it was chips for lunch – chips of the hot variety, fat fries, you know the thing. And when you have chips you have to have pop. Scanning the shop shelves I chose a can of cream soda, actually ‘creaming soda’ to be accurate to the name on the can.


Today's pop for review...


When I was a kid we had a pop van (a flat bed truck, covered in crates full of bottles of fizzy nectar) that would cruise by the house dispensing tooth decay and glee once a week. Sometimes we would get a bottle of cream soda, and it would be green. Amazingly green, like carbonated lime cordial, with the taste of cream soda – so nothing like lime cordial apart from the green hue.

Ever since those halcyon days I’ve been buying cans of cream soda, always with the hope that, when I cracked the ring pull and poured out the sparkling goodness inside, it would be beautiful, lurid, jade green. Emerald pop with a creamy taste.

Today’s can almost delivered that dream. For sure, the contents certainly didn’t pour out transparent, as they usually do. But nor were they exactly green either. A kind of off-green they were, more an amber. Not unlike wee.


Almost green cream soda...



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It’s Time For…

March 17, 2011
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Yes, here in New Zealand the mighty feijoa crop is upon us. The the feijoa is, without question, the only new fruit I have added to my regular repertoire of er… fruit, for over a decade.

I didn’t even know the fruit even existed when I first came to New Zealand, and I remained blind to it for over a year after that. Then, one day at work, amongst the bounty of fruit bought for us to prevent scurvy, I spied a shape I had not seen before. I took this funny looking fruit and returned to my desk.

Later I was quizzed, by one Ian Gillespie, about my penchant for this “feijoa”. I declared my ignorance about the fruit and was soon told and shown the proper spoon-based eating practices by Andy, whose office I squatted in the corner of.

Ever since I have looked forward to the all too short feijoa season. Although, that first season did come to an untimely end, when the aforementioned Ian Gillespie took up one of the pens on my desk and rammed it into the heart of my last feijoa.

Luckily I wasn’t there to witness the brutality, one day Gillespie, I will get my revenge… unless I already have, in which case can you remind me what I did?

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Happy Baffled

March 15, 2011
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For some unknown reason my Mars Rocks! blog has notched up about a thousand views today. This is by far the most views in one day that I have ever had… ever. Naturally, I am pretty chuffed, I’m just baffled. It might just be that yesterday’s cartoon had some weird kind of resonance…

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No Tool Like A New Tool

March 14, 2011
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Today I was forced to go and buy me some new secateurs (yes, I did have to look up how to spell that). The reason for this investment was to chop back a plant that insists on rampaging across our drive, making car parking tricky and alighting from the passenger door downright dangerous.

Having taken these shears into action against the plant I have fallen in love with them, and not just because they cost nearly three times more than I thought when I picked them off the shelf in the hardware store. Although, the shock-at-the-till price is probably part of the equation, because the reason for my obsession is that they’re so damned good at cutting things.

This has led to all kinds of impromptu pruning, right into this evening, where I cut a swathe into a section of foliage that can only be described as ‘The jungle… on the cliff’. Yep, they build houses on steep land round these parts.

This gleeful cutting frenzy reminds me of the time when I was a kid that my dad taught me to use his hand drill. Brill, I thought, now I can drill holes in things. I started with wood, but that was too much like hard work. Looking around my eye fixed on the soft rubber of the hose pipe, which I promptly perforated along its length. It was a joy drilling those holes, each one so rapid to bore. If only everything in life was as easy as drilling those holes or using my super secateurs.

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It’s Got To Be Live!

March 13, 2011
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Last week I found myself feeling enormously grumpy that I missed the space shuttle Discovery landing for the last time. I watched Atlantis touch down last year after what was meant to be her final flight (she actually got scheduled in for one more) and after that I planned to complete the set. But returning to New Zealand on Wednesday I entirely forgot about the imminent return of Discovery until a few  hours after it actually happened, at which point I watched it on the internet.

Discovery has its wings clipped...

But I really wanted to watch it live!

I’m kind of getting over the irritation of this event now, even though Discovery was named after one of James Cook’s ships and was, by all accounts, the most accomplished of the shuttle fleet. What actually helped me begin the healing process though was the realisation that being able to watch events like this live is really quite a staggering thing. When I was a kid we watched very few events like this live, we had to wait for the news to come on, then we’d have to watch all the boring bits and then we’d get a little sliver of the event we cared about.

So, I’m pretending that I was back in the 80’s last week and I couldn’t watch what I liked, when I liked. I even put a sweat band on for good measure.

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