May 6th, 2005

ian

Even with massive computing power

Even with massive computing power, it's not always possible to post regularly to LJ. It requires motivation and not being totally slack about it.
Even so, I was surprised to see it was so long...
Wednesday night was another O'Shea Shield practice. I'm greatly encouraged, as Chris's speech has improved beyond recognition since I heard it on Monday. Every year that I've done this (this is the fifth), there has been a point at which the delivery has shifted from OK to tremendous. I'm just not keen for it to be just a week and a half before the main competition.
Thursday morning was our Toastmasters AGM, which was ably run by David, our club president, whose presidential report was slightly longer than it should have been, though I won't complain as quite a bit of it was acknowledging my contribution to the club over the past however many years. October 1998, you work it out. Our new president, Rachel, is originally from Chester, so the club is in safe hands. Three british presidents in three years...what does that say?
It's clear from looking at my friends entries that there are a lot of Brits there , encouraging me to vote for this or that party. I'm not voting this time, but I will next time! I was taken with the picture in the Economist of the posters reading "Bliar", showing that political cunning is alive and well.
Headlines to look out for in Friday's press run along the lines of
"Double celebration for Blair"
"Electors give Blair a special birthday present"
or
"Tony's birthday disappointment"
"No birthday party for Blair"
depending on what happens.
Today, I'm off to Tauranga, home of New Zealand's favourite maverick politician, brilliant in opposition but disastrous in government. One described in a confidential Australian diplomatic briefing as "a loose cannon", Winston is the man who is an embarrassment to the Government party, whether he's in it or not.
However, I will be there not as a politician but as a Toastmaster, as our convention is there this weekend. This will be the last one I attend, of course, though Invercargill in November sounds like it could be fun.
I'll be flying WLG-AKL-TRG from 1 o'clock and returning on Sunday the same way. My rusty trusty laptop will travel with me, but it will be as much to see how wireless and roving work as anything else. Watch this space: if it works well, you'll see posts from me throughout the weekend. If not, you won't!
toast

(no subject)

No sign of any wireless service, so I'm perched on a seat at Vodafone, as is my wont at such times.
Looks like Blair will be back, but with a reduced majority, though it might be quite different by the time I get to Auckland...
They serve a fine foccacia sandwich at the cafe here at the airport, which should sustain me for a while to come.
I have discovered that I have no means of getting cash with me, as I have started to get rid of some cards and not replaced them yet. I don't want to draw cash against an otherwise innocent credit card, as that will result in far too much interest. So I'll be using credit and charge cards for most of the weekend, unless I can get to my bank somewhere before it closes...which seems unlikely.
I haven't seen any Toastmasters yet today, but I did spot one of my co-workers out on the road as the bus passed by my office.
That is all.
toast

28.8 in Tauranga

In Wellington, I met up with a few other Toastmasters just after my last posting, and in Auckland I explained why we are going back. Clive introduced me to a lady as "a Toastmaster from Masterton Club" and while this may well have been true, it certainly wasn't the whole truth. Four of us shared a taxi van into Tauranga, after one eventualy arrived.
I'm now connected to the net in a hotel, which is cool! Less cool is having to spend time on the phone to TelstraClear to find out what access number I needed to use, and connecting at 28.8 kb isn't thrilling either. So here I am, typing away with appropriate music in the background.
While I've been away, Ben Chapman has held Wirral South, while Tony has held onto the country. And as far as I can tell, all the seats on Merseyside except Southport seem to be Labour. One other exception is a seat that doesn't seem to have been decided yet. I'm sure it never used to be that red...except that Blair isn't red at all.
The landing at Auckland was the bumpiest I have ever had at Auckland, but about the same as a normal day in the capital. And the flight to Tauranga was on the smallest plane I have been on since we left Vanuatu.
I'll probably go wandering over to the place where the convention is taking place, Baycourt, in about half an hour. There won't be much going on there for a while. The evening festivities start at 7. District executive at 5, but I no longer sit on that august committee.
  • Current Music
    Wonderful - Smile - Brian Wilson
toast

0.00kb in Wellington

We're very happy that our next door neighbour has a phone now, but not happy that when Telecom NZ installed it, they disconnected our TelstraClear line. However, Telstra can send someone out on Tuesday...this is not acceptable.
Viv, David, Matthew and Christopher can't deal with that long without a telephone line and internet connectivity. Once you've been through voice recognition hell, Telstra will eventually talk to you and then have someone lie about a team leader calling you back. This has now happened twice. We're not hopeful about a quick resolution to this.
Ideally we'd get a Telecom engineer and a Telstra engineer out togethe and have them discuss it with other civilly. Is this ever likely to happen? It is theoretically possible...

Meanwhile in Tauranga, the convention has finished for the night quite early. It was a casino night with funny money and a blind auction afterwards. I ended up with a useful card device which contains tweezers, needles, scissors and the like, which I probably don't want to take in an aircraft cabin with me. Not a bad evening, but showing evidence of some very odd practices in the "casino" environment, leading to some people having a nominal $380m from a $3m base for the evening. This ain't going to happen in real life.