Tag Archives: Jo Bryant

Wordless Wednesday


Life is funny at times.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that the computer will cooperate and this post will see the light of day.

Doing battle with the computer.
Doing battle with the computer.

I am also hoping that soon all will be sorted on the insurance front. It is proving more of a job than I first realised. I think my insurance company must be sick of me. First there was the leak in the kitchen/dining/lounge room. When the inspector came he found that there was also damage from a long ago leak I never bothered to claim. I did not at the time realise the amount of damage it had caused to the flooring under the linoleum in the kitchen. So this then eventuated in a second claim. It took eight months to settle the first claim…now the second is in the works it will be interesting to see how long that takes. I hope it happens a bit faster as I can’t begin any repairs until it too is settled as it seems silly to repair one part of the floor then go back in again.

Then there was the lawnmower. It caught on fire…long story that you really don’t want to hear about, but the repairs came to $700.00+. May as well get a new mower then. Turns out after the excess and the loss of my no-claims bonus it costs me over $700 to claim $700.

It made me a little mad because after years of never claiming…and paying them buckets of money…what do I actually have insurance for I wonder.

But this weekend was a time top put it all aside as The Daughter was home. Which meant I got to cook. I made all the things she likes, and a few extras. One of the extras didn’t quite work.

Day 109 - 19.5.2013

Brown sugar meringues. They came out perfect actually…but a little big. They are supposed to be the size of a biscuit and be joined together with cream. I guess I got a little carried away and this was the result. Next time I will try to make sure they are smaller. In the meantime…I am enjoying an occasional sweet treat.

The break in has seen me going through cupboards and drawers to figure what is missing. During the searching I find myself getting side tracked a bit. I came across a box of old papers/cards/mementos.

With The Daughter home I pulled out a few to show her and she and I had a few laughs over some of the cards she has made me over the years. This one in particular had us both in hysterics. She was quite the little manipulator was The Daughter.

The front...and that is NOT my signature !!!
The front…and that is NOT my signature !!!

Homemade Mothers' Day Card (1)

Homemade Mothers' Day Card

In searching through drawers to figure out what was taken in the break in…and they did take some odd items…I found one item that I had thought gone. It is just a small item. And at the time though it seemed expensive to me it really wasn’t. But that one item has made me so happy to find it NOT stolen.

Day 104 - 14.5.2013

I gave it to my father for his birthday one year. It is old, it is worn, and it does need repair. But it means the world to me that I still have it when so many other items that marked a time in my life are now gone forever. I have decided to get it repaired and cleaned up and wear it myself. As a reminder of that time in my life and that the little stuff counts.

Things such as these make the computer woes seem minor indeed.

Light and culture…a way forward maybe ???

Day 87 - 27.4.2013
Me and the ZORRO hat !!!!!

So while the computer IS co-operating…here is my take on Ailsa’s theme this week. The technique is called BOKEH. After almost 55 years…the light sometimes even makes me look reasonable. Yes this was today’s photo for my 365 challenge. But being on a dinosaur laptop…well I haven’t been able to load it on to THAT page yet. I have really. really developed a HAT obsession.

This week’s theme at the Weekly Photo Challenge is CULTURE. I think this fits for one reason. So much of culture these days tells us that to be seen as beautiful you have to be young. While by no stretch of the imagination do I think I am beautiful I do think we need to remember that each age has beauty. We need to change the culture that diminishes the beauty that age gives us. I look this way because…well there is a line in a favourite movie star’s movie that I think says it all.

If my muscles ache it’s cause I used them. If it’s hard for me to walk up them steps now, it’s cause I walked up them every night to lay next to a man who loved me. I got a few wrinkles here and there, but I’ve laid under thousands of skies on sunny days, yeah. I look and feel this way, well, cause I drank and I smoked, I lived and I loved, and danced, sang, sweat and screwed my way through a pretty damn good life, if you ask me. Getting old ain’t bad Ben. Getting old, that’s earned.


I think she had a point !!!!

As an aside…when I was younger there is no way I would have posed for a shot like this one. I thought I was fat, not too great looking. It is only with age that I appreciate not only how I used to look…but the way I look now. Maturity does have its advantages.

A Dash of Reality

What do you get when you combine a sporting franchise run by an egotistical bozo that is feeling the economic downturn, a female billboard model on the verge of getting fired, and a reality TV show?

A Dash of Reality.

Tauranga based author Lee Murray’s newest book comes under the ‘chic-lit’ heading. So I opened the first page with a bit of trepidation. Reviewing a book of someone I know in a genre that I usually only turn to when I don’t want to tire my brain, and having offered to review said book, well…I wondered if I had really thought this through enough. So, what is A Dash of Reality about?

When Melanie, a billboard model, is given a month’s notice she comes up with an unlikely scheme to keep her job and catapult herself in to the realm of famous people. You know the ones, people, that when someone says their name everyone know who you are talking about.

A reality TV series is born where a bunch of everyday New Zealanders will take part in six running events that ends with a marathon and one winner who will get cash for the charity of their choice.

Melanie has more in mind than just cash for her charity. Winning will mean staying employed, paying the bills, being the face that everyone recognises. Sounds simple doesn’t it?  Ahhh…but we are talking about a Lee Murray book where nothing is as simple as it first seems.

As well as a few corporate douche bags who seem intent on making Melanie’s life hell there is her family. An absent father, a mother who seems preoccupied with appearances, a stepfather who calls her Flakey, a stepsister who would rival either of Cinderella’s stepsisters, and finally a stepbrother who I actually liked.

Luckily Melanie has Jack, her boyfriend and biggest supporter. Melanie’s best friend Janeen’s disabled daughter Caro is also Melanie’s goddaughter. I was so glad that there were at least a few nice people in this girl’s like.

Once or twice I found myself wanting to shake Melanie, and wondered how anyone could do something that dumb. Then I remembered that in my lifetime I have seen a lot dumber things done by a lot smarter people. I have to be honest and include myself in that category. I have also met a few of these people. The ones that seem terribly one sided until you take the time to look deeper and realise they are just as insecure and flaky as you are.

What is also nice to see is a book set in New Zealand as I know it. Too many times books like these are set in such a generic locale that it could be anywhere, or they are written by someone who has never set foot in the country they are writing about. A Dash of Reality has a distinctive New Zealand flavour in the setting, the humour, the language and the way its characters live and interact.

Chic-Lit sounds like an easy genre, but to get the right mix is a little more difficult than it looks. Too light hearted and I get bored, to deep and it crosses right out of the genre. Luckily for me I really liked A Dash of Reality. Is it War and Peace? Thank God no! That book may be considered a masterpiece but I have never got passed page ten. Every genre has its place. Chic-Lit, when done well can be a great read. A Dash of Reality is done well.

If you find yourself interesting in running, at the end of the book are some tips on starting. And Lee should know. Not only is she an award winning writer, but Lee has competed in 18 marathons, a bunch of half marathons and an ultra marathon.

Where you can find Lee

Related posts

Article first published as Book Review: A Dash of Reality by Lee Murray on Blogcritics.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Cars and Trucks

For more cars and trucks click on the image below.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine

Ever since my girl Jackie got sick she has been different. Oh she’s still grumpy as all Hell, but these days she’s become a snuggler with her Mum. The grumpiness is reserved for anyone who comes too close to what Jackie now considers hers and hers alone.

“How many times must I say it? These legs is MINE !!!!!!”

“And if we could have a little quiet please !!!”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine

A lot can happen in eleven hours…

I don’t know about you – but I love my stats. I love seeing who comes and goes on my blog, what they visit, where they are from, how they get there. So far today this is what has been happening on my blog.

Can you see yourself anywhere on here ??? Let me know !!!!

In the last hour and a half I have had visitors from.

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Good Lord some of you are demanding !!! Just to keep Rommel happy here are the latest views !!!
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Hatfields & McCoys

Kevin_Costner_DF-SD-05-08959_cropWhere Kevin Costner is concerned it doesn’t take much to get me excited. I am completely and utterly biased about the man. He has Demigod status in this household. So, that said…if you don’t appreciate the genius that is Kevin…leave now and forever hold your piece.

Just recently Kevin won an Emmy Award for Best Actor in the mini-series Hatfields & McCoys. I recently had the pleasure of watching the series and was thrilled to see his work recognized.

The Hatfields & McCoys is the biggest feud involving two families in America which took place during the 1800s.

The mini series is the second most watched program in cable television history. In case you’re wondering…High School Musical 2 is number one.

While the feud took place along The Big Sandy River that divides Kentucky and West Virginia, and the Appalachian Mountains, the actual filming took place in Transylvania, Romania, just outside of Brasov with the Carpathians representing the Appalachians.

The cast and characters are as follows:

Kevin Costner as William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield
Bill Paxton as Randolph “Randall” McCoy
Tom Berenger as Jim Vance
Matt Barr as Johnson “Johnse” Hatfield
Jena Malone as Nancy McCoy
Damion O’Hare as Ellison Hatfield
Sam Reid as Tolbert McCoy
Powers Boothe as Judge Valentine “Wall” Hatfield
Andrew Howard as “Bad” Frank Phillips
Sarah Parish as Levicy Hatfield
Lindsay Pulsipher as Roseanna McCoy
Ronan Vibert as Perry Cline
Joe Absolom as Selkirk McCoy
Noel Fisher as Ellison “Cotton Top” Mounts
Boyd Holbrook as William “Cap” Hatfield
Tom McKay as Jim McCoy
Mare Winningham as Sally McCoy
Michael Jibson as Phamer McCoy
Greg Patmore as Good Lias Hatfield
Max Deacon as Calvin McCoy
John Bell as Audie
Nick Dunning as Preacher Dyke Garrett
Katie Griffiths as Alifair McCoy
Joy McBrinn as Aunt Betty Blankenship
There’s more but it is a big cast. So I am sharing the ones that made an impression on me in this series.

My favourite characters, other than Kevin of course, were Jena Malone [Lydia in Pride and Prejudice], and Noel Fisher. Both were riveting characters in the series. Nancy McCoy was a manipulative little bitch in the series and Jena did a wonderful job with the complexities of the character. She is certainly an actress with a lot of potential. And Noah as Cottontop was priceless to watch. Cottontop is the mentally disabled bastard son of Ellison Hatfield and Fisher’s portrayal was wonderful to watch.

Hatfield Clan

There has been some criticism of the series for taking poetic license with some of the facts. People please, this is a drama. It is not a documentary. If you would like to know more on the discrepancies Christopher John Farley’s article ‘How realistic is Hatfield’s and McCoys?‘ is quite interesting to read. For my part I took this series for what is was. A dramatisation of a piece of American history.

The locations are great, the cast does a wonderful job with their roles, the writing is tight and moves this along at a great pace. There is plenty of action, a lot of drama, love, hate, romance, humour and it’s just a great piece of television to spend a few hours on. In my opinion it deserved every one of its Emmy nominations and those it won could not have gone to a better series.

Images sourced from Wikimedia Commons

Related posts

Taking a walk…

This is where I walk Chevvy.

And sometimes what I am lucky enough to see are the herons.

I know it’s a little shaky, but you try filming with a Demented Fox Terrier on the lead.

You Got to Be Kidding!: The Cultural Arsonist’s Literal Reading of the Bible by Joe Wenke

I have been looking for a book such as this for a very long time. Christians would probably be advised to read no further. Joe Wenke takes an irreverent look at the Bible with You Got to Be Kidding, not just asking questions but stating, through examples, what most atheists believe, that the Bible is so far fetched it is actually humerous.

In it, Wenke dissects God’s behaviour in such a way that leaves you wondering if God, or any of the people who wrote the first part of the Bible, were on some bad acid trip through most of the Old Testament. He points out some pretty vengeful behaviour from God when he doesn’t get his way. Even when God gets his way he still pulls a few stunts that in light of the Ten Commandments leaves this atheist wondering what his problem was.

What I loved most about the way Wenke writes is that he frames most of the thoughts I have had at some time or the other. The title ‘You Got to Be Kidding’ articulates it perfectly. As an atheist there is a lot that leaves me scratching my head when I read the Bible.

Up until now most books that look at the Bible and delve in to some of its more fantastical parts are written in such a way that if you don’t have a scientific bone in your body you are left a little bewildered. Don’t get me wrong. I think Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have written great books regarding the validity of God and Creationism. But they can be heavy going to a layperson.

I particularly loved Wenke’s chapter ‘Unanswered Questions’, where he asks questions about some of the Bible’s stories. Why was it okay to for Solomon to have 700 wives and 300 concubines and yet still write proverbs about adultery? If the Wise Men were so wise how did they end up needing directions? What happened to Joseph? Seems like an important character, Jesus’s stepfather after all. So where did he go?

Actually, thinking about it this is maybe the perfect book for Christians to read. Why? Because it explains in very simple terms exactly what an atheist thinks when reading the Bible. At least what this atheist thinks, and I am probably thinking quite similar thoughts to the rest of the atheists out there.

If you think about it, most atheists have read the Bible. We don’t agree with it, but our disagreement doesn’t come from ignorance. It is usually an informed opinion we arrive at after looking at Creationism from many angles. Personally not one of those angles made a lick of sense to me. It would be nice if Christians would at least return the favour and read books like Wenke’s [or Dawkins and Hitchens] without calling them evil, that they would at least take the time to understand an atheist’s viewpoint.

You Got to Be Kidding is in my opinion the perfect book for that. It is a well written, light hearted look at the questions most atheists have about God and the Bible. At 164 pages it is great if you don’t want to be weighed down for a month with a book.

You Got to Be Kidding will be released on October 1st, 2012

Publisher: Trans Über LLC

ISBN: 9780985900205

About the author: Joe Wenke was born the oldest of eleven children in a strict Catholic family in South Philadelphia and attended a long line of Catholic schools including the University of Notre Dame where he received a B.A. in English. He received an M.A. in English from Penn State and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Connecticut.A former corporate speechwriter, he is the owner of a leading event marketing company.