Whilst reading the Herald today I was surprised to see an article on NZ's thriving underbelly which mentioned Jason Boon - a school acquaintance who was brutally murdered and it opened my eyes to a few more of the details which were not spelt out well at the time.

It's enough to provoke a lot of thought, most of which isn't suitable for open discussion, but fundamentally it makes me grateful for the values that my parents taught me and for the person i've become.

It also disturbs me exactly how significant the criminal world out there really is, and how oblivious to it many folks are.

As previously blogged our company (the one Liz and I operate privately) has received unsolicited advertising from 'Pieroth Wines NZ' at least once before. They gain our details via the Companies Office Register.

This has been further validated; Last week Liz updated our details with the Companies Office now we've relocated to Auckland.
It didn't take long to receive more junk from Pieroth, addressed to 'Dear Lover of Fine Wines' at our registered address.

DO NOT EVER TRADE WITH PIEROTH WINES! This sort of harrassment-style direct marketing is rude and obnoxious. I'm not a wine lover, no matter how many times you try to suck me in with your faux-manners!

Most of my previous rant on this subject remains entirely valid. It's postal direct marketing, so it doesn't fall under the UEM Act... It could potentially be argued that using the Companies Register for purposes other than for which it is provided, is in breach of its terms of use. Yeah, that'll stand up to scruitiny... ??

Are people stupid enough to actually respond to these mailouts with enough frequency to make the cost of doing them worth the grief?

Why do I have to live with the fact there's absolutely no way to protect myself from this sorta crap?

Ok here's one that's annoying and frustrating as heck.

We picked up a safety-gate to block off the stairwell of our place. It's a fairly decent brand, and pretty well made - a style similar to a window blind (of the roll up variety).

The attachments are meant to be screwed into the wall.

So I had a go. This was the result of attempting to use the self-tapping screws to _try_ to fit the brackets to the wall.

The instructions were followed precisely. Drill a 3mm pilot hole 5cm deep. The screws are 5 cm long.

Problem is that by the time they're about 3cm into the wood, the work becomes tough and the heads of the screws... well take a look at the outside ones. The screwdriver tip came away covered in metal shards/splinters (one of which attacked my finger)and I definately appear to have stopped trying at exactly the right time.

So what's the deal, oh experienced interweb handyfolks? Is this just a case of cheap screws letting down an otherwise good quality product? Any tips on whether I should pick up 'harder compound' screws?

A brief note regarding Birthday season in the Foster household.
Laura and I both have our birthdays in the same week. I might've turned 30 (and gotten a Mr Potato Head and a great cake) but perhaps more significantly, young Laura turned five years old and starts school tomorrow!. So proud of our lil' monkey and yet it's also the beginning of yet another chapter in life, scary as that is.
Meanwhile Ben and Liz have to wait another 5 months for their birthday season. :-)
Tomorrow we're taking Laura to her first day of school as a family, and it's all downhill from there. :-)

How can we claim to be fans of equal rights and equal opportunities when so many dads get shafted?. An insane situation - C'mon Government, fix it!! (I know Dads who're paying child support, in some cases the terms are reasonable but in others, utterly not!!)

Seriously pisses me off when I read stuff like this, which it appears the government is not paying any attention to whatsoever.

I just hope that he doesn't 'bake' when the flames get too close!

(He's officially called a 'Fryer-fighter'. Har Har Har!)

MSNBC has the photos and some interestingly poorly informed comments on the part of some!

Glad the Pilot punched out ok.
STUNNING photos.

Yeah, i'm getting old in a day or two. :-) So in celebration we had a few friends around tonight for some food and drink, and to share in this remarkable birthday cake that my good wife made for me this week.

What can I say? It rocks. Or Rocked, until we performed a 'front cut'. ;-)

We also found one of the best uses ever for an iPad.

A brief outage to service tonight between 8.30 and 9pm (not all of that time, but some of it) due to an apparent power hiccup affecting Wellington CBD. Took the opportunity to run some upgrades when restoring services. All should now be well.

So yup... we're well and truly here, and I think our Auckland-ness is finally sinking in. :-)
We're baaaaaaaack!

New place to live (Birkdale, on the Shore, a suburb i'm still making my mind up about...)
House is nice, though.
The new car I picked up as a work-hack finally gets infront of my camera:

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