Monday, July 31, 2006

Happenings 7/31/6

I have been busy. I went to Squaw Valley Lake Tahoe to list for sale the property the company owns. It was fantastic weather and was nice to have a day up there. If you'd be interested in a magnificent home in California within a mile +/- of world class Squaw Valley ski resort, then let me know... $2,998,888 US.

Gregory Johnson and Ted Brown arrived back in cooking California over the weekend, I have now got my copy of "Anyone can say goodbye". It is a great album, and I'd like to remind those of you in New Zealand to buy it. The first single "Now the sun is out" is currently # 2 on the Top AC charts in New Zealand, way to go Greg and Ted.

My folks went to the ACT conference over the weekend and were impressed with what Rodney, the President and others had to say.. It sounds like the momentum is building for ACT in NZ, and that is good for everyone.... Lower Taxes...... Vote ACT.

The War in Lebanon and Israel is still happening.. I hope that an agreement happens very soon.

The Santa Monica Daily Press wrote a well informed front page story on the suicide of my dear friend and US Army Sgt. Ananda Das McClure. They interviewed his bride Laura for the true story which is still very sad to all of us here who know Laura and knew Ananda. Please read it and feel free to comment.
Hurting on the home front

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Happy birthday Paul "Moo" Bartley

Happy birthday Paul CockI Buddy L Bathbags Moo Bartley....

Getting a little older on July 29th 2006.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Would you drink recycled sewage? Toowoomba in Australia is considering it.

Residents of a drought-stricken Australian town of Toowoomba will vote this week on whether they're prepared to drink water recycled from sewage (yummy) the first such scheme in the country and one of only a handful in the world.

The town of Toowoomba in the state of Queensland is DIVIDED about drinking recycled water, although the town has faced water restrictions for a decade.

Local Mayor Dianne Thorley, who is leading the "Yes" campaign, said that without drought-breaking rains the town's dams could dry up within two years.

She insisted the 73 million dollar (US 55 million dollar) plan to pump purified wastewater back into the main reservoir for drinking was safe.
peline to be built to bring water from a nearby reservoir.

"Somewhere, sometime we have got to stand up and change the way we are doing things," she told AFP as the town prepared for the July 29 referendum.

"Otherwise our great grandchildren are going to be living in something like the Sahara desert."

A vocal "No" campaign opposes the proposal, and says there are unforeseeable health risks for the town's 100,000 residents.

"The scientists say it should be safe," said local councillor Keith Beer, one of three members of the nine-strong council that opposes the plan. "That is not good enough for me, for my kids and my grandkids."

Toowoomba City Council says the solution is recycling effluent and pumping it back into reservoirs for drinking a system known as planned indirect potable reuse.

The wastewater would pass through seven cleansing and treatment processes including ultraviolet disinfection, advanced oxidation and ultrafiltration before being pumped into the town's Cooby Dam.

It would remain in the reservoir for up to three years for testing, before being pumped through the town's existing water treatment plant.

Similar schemes are up and running elsewhere in the world.

Since 1976, authorities in Orange County, California have injected purified wastewater into an undergroud aquifer (no tap water for me at Disneyland) and since 1978, the Occoquan Reservoir in North Virginia has been topped up with recycled water.

In Singapore, one percent of supply has come from recycled water since 2003. But opponents say the scale of the Toowoomba project, under which 25 percent of the town's supply would be recycled, is unprecedented.

"Nowhere else in the world deliberately drinks water reclaimed from sewage to the degree proposed by Toowoomba," the No campaign website says. "Any water supply for over 100,000 people should use tried and proven methods. We are not guinea pigs."

Maybe they can recycle the sewage for watering purposes and pipe in water from another place? I would have to buy a lot of bottled water if I lived near Toowoomba if this passes through......

Would you drink recycled water?

***Update*** The residents of Toowoomba voted against the proposal surprisingly enough.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Secretary Rice visits Beirut

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice , left, shakes hands with Lebanon's Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, right, at the government house, in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, July 24, 2006. Rice made a surprise visit to Lebanon to launch diplomatic efforts aimed at ending 13 days of fighting as Israeli ground forces pushed deeper into the country in heavy fighting with Hezbollah guerrillas.

It is good to see that President Bush had her stop off in Beirut first. It really says that the enemy is hezbollah and not the average Lebanese person. I can see that there is diplomacy in action, and the US is trying to prevent Iran stepping in and causing a catastrophe and possibly WWIII. Thing is.... what does Israel have planned? I am sure that the US has helped or at least knows what it is, but once they start they rarely back down until the job is complete....
Maybe we need Israeli troops assisting us in Iraq?

Lebanon had a deal with Israel that they would control or eradicate hezbollah from Israel's northern border, this has not happened and Israel has to go and deal with this by itself.....

I hope everything gets sorted soon, but good on Secretary Rice for working with Beirut first.

File note: Doesn't Lebanon's Prime Minister Fuad Saniora look like previous Auckland Mayor John Banks?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Greg Johnson: Anyone can say goodbye

Gregory Johnson who has been living in sunny Santa Monica California for the last 5 years, has just released in NZ his new album "Anyone can say goodbye". He recorded it here in USA with his trusty and talented friend Teddy Brown, and it is very very good indeed. His previous album which I believe is Platinum in NZ was released in USA by Baria records a month or two ago to much acclaim.

Anyone can say goodbye is already jumping up the charts in New Zealand in it's first week of release, and the first single "Now the sun is out" is getting plenty of airplay.

Greg and Ted are currently touring NZ promoting the new album, and are due back in the USA to begin a rigorous touring schedule that will bring them much success.

If you are in the USA buy "Here comes the caviar" from Borders or

If you are in NZ, take advantage of the early release of "Anyone can say goodbye" and buy it before it sells out.....

Below is a list of songs you will find on "Anyone can say goodbye". I even hear that if you look in the back cover you might see mention of ME?

1. California's Fine
2. Anyone Can Say Goodbye
3. Venom
4. Now the Sun Is Out
5. Mountains
6. Horses
7. New Car Smell
8. Star Of the Show
9. Maybe Your True Love
10.When the Rain Comes

Keep up the good work Greg and Ted.......

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


SO George W Bush said sh%t, watch his ratings increase next week....

Winston upset the NZ media in DC, but he did manage to get meetings with the guy that may well be the next President Senator John McCain, and Secretary of State Dr Rice. I'd say Winston did a good job. He is a smart guy, and I am sure he impressed them all. Certainly good to have Senator McCain pushing for a free trade agreement, and Dr Rice having the time to even talk to Winston at this time.

Isreal are dropping bombs in Lebanon, will this lead to WWIII? I certainly hope not. Iran should be quiet and stay away. I would like to think that the issue will be sorted promptly, with the release of the Israeli hostages...... Something really needs to be done in that part of the world.... It seems that it will take generations for the hatred to disband..... Why can't we all just get along?

The weather is very very hot in the USA at the moment.... I wonder if there will be blackouts (like in Auckland) due to excessive power use for A/C? Maybe it is a good time to build more nuclear power plants?

Has anyone heard about Bin Laden lately? Will Saddam finally stop his hunger strike?

What is the deal with Don Brash's approval ratings? Is ACT planning a massive comeback? Will it work?

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Interesting photo, can you name all of the leaders? I hope that they managed to get down to business and get some serious work done.... It is entirely possible as Newt Gingrich says that we could well be heading into WWIII.....

That would not be good.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

An exciting couple of weekends... #2 Las Vegas

On Thursday I picked up my friend Ryan from Calgary at the Los Angeles airport, and we promptly drove to Las Vegas after stopping at In N Out burger for a #1 combo.

As with the road trip to Prakash and Priya's wedding the week before, I was very happy with the fuel economy of my car, which made it to Vegas in less than a tank of fuel.

We got to the Mandalay Bay on the Strip in about 6 hours, as the traffic was horrid and I guess we left at the wrong time. The others that were meeting for the UFC fights on Saturday were held up in Calgary, so Ryan and I went to the casino and met with a former colleague and friend of mine Mat Simper for a buffet dinner Vegas style. We then proceeded to go to Rumjungle club for a quick beverage... Thursday night was a bit quiet.

The others were there from Calgary on Friday, so we went to the beach pool and to the Luxor Hotel for a lunch and the world largest marguerita. Friday night was interesting, a couple of the guys were a bit up on the casino, and they certainly enjoyed the free beverages while gambling. I had spent my $40 budget, so I was a bystander for most of the gambling time, although I quite like the free drinks, and the wheel of fortune one armed bandit machine is very tempting, although the house normally wins.

I took this photo of the Vegas airport from my hotel room. The planes that you can see parked up are the unmarked 737's that ferry workers from Vegas to Area 51 which is the top secret US Airforce base about 80 miles north of Las Vegas. I would like to see what the military has hiding out there...

On Saturday I drove up the strip to look at a piece of property that is for sale in which I have been working on selling. The outside temp was about 42 C. Phew

I then proceeded to go to Henderson Nevada where Mat Simper lives. He lives in a great subdivision and it is about 20 minutes from the strip. We hopped in the car and proceeded to drive to the Hoover Dam which is on the Nevada Arizona border. It is an amazing piece of construction and as you can tell Mat seemed to be impressed too.

So we crossed the Hover Dam to Arizona and took some great photos of the dam and surrounding areas.... Here is the proof I was actually there.

I tell you, it was hot out there, but they tell me it was a mild day.

Knowing how hot it was, 41C, doesn't that water look inviting?

So we hopped back in the car and headed back to the great state of Nevada. It was very exciting driving over the Hoover Dam. The Government is constructing a new bridge to bypass the dam, so it wont be much longer you will be able to drive over Hoover and take pictures like this...

I then went to Mat's place and watched the UFC fights on pay per view. I went back to the hotel and got up very early this morning and drove back to my place in just over 3 1/2 hours.

That was my weekend..... I had fun.

An exciting couple of weekends... The Wedding

I have had a magnificent couple of weekends in the last two weeks. Last weekend I was invited to the traditional Hindu wedding in San Jose California of my friend Prakash to his now bride Priya. I drove up to visit my friend Mat from NZ and his Italian girlfriend Claudia just south of San Francisco on the friday night so I could be at the wedding early on Saturday. On the way up I encountered a scrub fire on the side of the road.

This is a random photo of a plumbing van I saw on the way to San Jose.

What an amazing experience the wedding was, the wedding celebrations go on for 3 days and there is dancing and negotiating and partying and singing and celebrating.
It is basically separated until the last day of the ceremony with the bride and groom having their own celebrations. On the first day there was a ceremony where all of Prakash's family and friends spend a good amount of time putting various paint like substances all over him for luck. Afterwards we quickly visited the brides party where there must have been 1300 people. We witnessed some formalities then had to sit in a room while all the ladies from the brides side trys to trick Prakash into eating and drinking trick food. The idea is to pay them off and leave. After a while Prakash and his entourage of which I was involved payed the ladies $330 and quickly departed.

We then went to a party and dinner at another function and there was lots of dancing, throwing of money and eating. I had the honor of making a small speech in front of everyone. Luckily it was after midnight and most people had had a few drinks.

The next day was the official wedding day. The friends of the groom wore turbans and since I am a friend of the groom I wore a turban too.... It fitted nicely and was surprisingly cool. Having the turban told the brides side that we were there to protect Prakash during this particular ceremony.

Prakash then hopped on a carriage which was towed by a horse and we then began to dance and wave our hands in the air in front of Prakash on the carriage. We had a drummer with us and I am thinking that traditional Indian music must have had a hand in the creation of techno... We all had lots of fun as you can see.

After the horse ceremony, we then wait till the brides party comes to the horse and carriage to "convince" the groom that now is a good time to get married. There was a lot of negotiations and a few tricks..... It really was interesting. In the end the bride came out after a ceremony that had Prakash once again get partly painted and covered in string. This time the brides party had to pay the grooms party and I am thinking that maybe Prakash made an advance on his original payment of $330.

We then went in and had a small tustle with the brides party over a pair of shoes and the party began....

There was time when Prakash and Priya sat on stage with the religious person who came from India to perform the wedding.... After that was finished and it was quite some time they were officially married. We then got changed and came back for a massive feast, more speeches, lots of dancing and some beverages....

Prakash and Priya's wedding was a really special occasion and I am very happy that I was invited. I met lots of good folk and yes.... We did manage to have an afterparty which virtually lasted all night.

The next day it was time for goodbyes and I made it home to Santa Monica in just over 4 hours.

ITALY wins the world cup soccer.

Italy does it 5-3 over France on penalties... Congratulations

Juan Pablo Montoya to NASCAR

Rob Good: I am disappointed to learn that Formula 1 will be losing one of my favorite drivers to NASCAR next year. Juan Pablo Montoya has secured a deal to drive for his former boss Chip Ganassi in NASCAR for the 2007 season, and may even be in #42 car sometime this year after the F1 season is finished.

Montoya’s only stock-car experience came in June 2003 when he and four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon “exchanged” race cars for an exhibition at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Montoya drove Gordon’s Chevrolet while Gordon took a spin in Montoya’s F1 car.

Juan Pablo's switch to NASCAR comes on the heels of reports that former Formula 1 World Champion and another of my favourite F1 drivers Jacques Villeneuve, an Indianapolis 500-winner himself, has expressed interest in driving in the series. Both the newly-married Villeneuve and Montoya are at the end of their current F1 team contracts with the conclusion of the present year's campaign. Most veteran observors did not feel Montoya was being courted to continue at McLaren/Mercedes with reigning F1 champ Fernando Alonso coming to the team in 2007. imagine Jacques and JPM in the same NASCAR team.....

2007 is going to be an interesting year in motorsport that is for sure.

Good luck to him.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Why does this have to happen?


These folk put their lives on the line for the country and come back to this.... I find it to be a massive slap in the face for them. If the govt can spend Trillions on the war, can they not make sure that there is some more support for the troops when they get back? Isn't that logical?