Sunday, November 19, 2006

My weekend in crusty cellphone pics

Here's a bit of a photo-log of my weekend's adventure to Kaiteriteri... pictures were all taken with a cheap Nokia cellphone, but most of them came out pretty well though I thought.

The crew by Maruia falls

Chilling by Lake Rotoiti

Some ridiculously cute ducklings

Aforementioned ducklings taking a nap

One of the above having had its nap rudely interrupted...

Mud diving (the original plan was just to play touch; however the mud proved rather too alluring for some)

Sea kayaking in the Abel Tasman national park (thanks Gloria!)

Chilling on the beach near Split Apple Rock (which our guide informed us is in fact a Taniwha egg)

The boys (we ended up rafting together and hoisting a sail to maximise the tail wind...)

The girls

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A book you should all read

Recently I was given 'Velvet Elvis' by Rob Bell as a birthday present from my sister- I'd already heard good things about it but I wasn't expecting it to be this good!
The guy pretty much sums up my beliefs but in a way that makes sense, and that I don't feel guilty about... it's encouraging to know that a guy who's the pastor of a massive church thinks similarly to me!

Here's an excerpt:

Now before various people start calling Rob and I heathens for denying the virgin birth- we're not. He's simply saying that the virgin birth- along with literal 6 day creation, the factual accuracy of the book of Jonah, and various other doctrines- is not the central point of his faith. Instead his faith is centred around the person of Jesus Christ- learning from his words, emulating his actions, and making the most of life here and now. How exactly Christ came into the world is pretty irrelevant when the impact he can have on a person's life is so massive.
Personally, I think the man is onto something... what do you think?

Excuse the image quality- Google Book Search is quite clever at preventing standard Ctrl+C, but they can't do anything about the 'Print Screen' button!

Note to Google & Rob Bell's publishers- since I'm actually promoting the book, how about overlooking the old copyright laws just this once? ;)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

An amusing email exchange...

Not 12 hours after I set up a myspace homepage for mine and Jeremy's embyonic bluegrass project, I recieved the following email from some band in the uk:


it seems your using our band name...

We registered the band name 'Paper Tigers' with the international band registry in 2003. This is a legal and binding claim to the name and exclusive use of it. Authentication of this is posted in World Wide Band and Artist Directory' Annual Trade Publication as well as on a global scale on the online registry & worldwide database of band and artist name activity. Our registration of the name is also lodged with the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. and the British Reference Library in London in the Annual Artist & Band Directory.

If you require any further information on this please go to and search for us or contact Crystal @ bandname

Please cease using the name immediatley to avoid legal action being taken against you. This is a polite but official warning on behalf of us and our record company.


pAPeR TigERs

Being by nature a pigheaded individual, I responded:

Er... when your far-reaching fame extends to Christchurch, NZ, or our plans for world conquest come to fruition, we'll think about it.


To which our new friends rather got their knickers in a knot:

Seems like a a perfectly flawed plan....why start out using a name that you know your going to have to change? hey why not call yourselves the rolling stones...that's a cool name too!.....great sense of seeing the bigger picture, and thinking about changing your name just doesn't cut it, you are falsely advertising your band & causing damage to us in the process ...anyway, we tried to be polite but that obviously has no affect.

Our first full international E.P is scheduled for release in Australia / NZ in December 2006.
We'll be passing this matter on to our label / management and lawyers. I hope you've got deep pockets


pAPeR TigERs

So I thought I'd ask a couple of questions just to see exactly what we were up against:

What exactly do you mean, 'release'? That it'll be available here via your site, or actually in the record stores? In other words, just how big are you guys? Be honest please...
I have no intention of getting into any strife, legally or otherwise- but if we're just playing around Christchurch and you're puddling away in Wolverhampton, I think we can stay out of each other's hair, no?


They came back a little more amicably, but no less emphatically:

Unfortunately 'release' means, in record stores, on itunes & via other authorised internet stores. The fact that you are using our name causes problem for our record sales and as such means you are liable to prosecution...merely search on myspace for paper tigers and the fact you come up is a problem to us.

we are a signed band, contracted to Broken Bottle Music, a UK independent label - soon to be part of the Polydor group....yes we are from Wolverhampton UK, but that is far from the point...I'm sorry about this Greg, its a real pain for you cus it's such a good name and you obviously have great taste in choosing it, but you just can't use it...regardless of whether you are in NZ or not....we have already had legal wranglings with a US artist signed to a major US label who was trying to use the name....and we won...its a black and white case for us...the crazy thing is you can call yourself 'Christchurch Paper Tigers' and that's fine....just not 'paper Tigers'....

Please make your desicion quickly as I am on the phone to our management company as we speak, and need to clarify if you wish to carry on using the name and face the consequences of that action.


All this talk of management, lawyers and labels from a band with only 400-odd myspace friends- not to mention the fact that they apparently considered themselves in the same league as the Rolling Stones- had me smelling a rat (or at least a bluff) and so I responded:

Dear Wolverhampton Paper Tigers,

Having consulted my lawyer, I would like to invite you to consider the following points.

1) In order for one legal entity to prevent another from using their name, it needs to be proven that the prior has obtained 'good will' with the public and that that the latter is unfairly profiting from that good will. Given the respective status and popularity of our respective bands, I do not believe this to be the case.

2) It's also possible to get off if the secondary party can prove that they came up with the name independently, with no knowledge of prior's existence. Again given the above point, I think this is a reasonable claim. We actually got the name from a Thrice song (as, I suspect, did you) but that's beside the point.

3) We, as a legal entity, do not in fact exist outside of Myspace. Notwithstanding the now blurry line between social networking sites and reality, this poses a slight problem for you and your litigious intentions... who exactly are you going to sue? Tom?

Given these points, I can only conclude that your blusterous threats of legal action are nothing but an ambitious bluff; a 'Paper Tiger', if you will. With that in mind we have decided to continue using the name 'Paper Tigers' until such time as we can think of something better. If this still rankles your panties, we would respectfully invite you to change YOUR band name, as suggested above.

Furthermore, I see that our Myspace Friend Count now exceeds yours by a factor of some 80,000 to 1. Dare you argue with figures like that?

Warm regards and best wishes,
Paper Tigers

... to which I'm yet to recieve a reply. Watch this space!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Microsoft: Very Stupid

To reinforce the point made by brehaut I thought I'd share this gem... why on earth would the status of archaic and nearly obsolete browser that I haven't used in months prevent me from using another app? Also, what the heck does '81000362' mean?

Monday, July 17, 2006

And now for something a little more light-hearted...

Pointers to pointers to printf()-like functions;
Unary minus and nested conjunctions;
Integers, booleans, characters, strings;
These are a few of my favourite things;

Standards compliance and css layouts;
Tableless tables and javascript fadeouts;
Drop shadowed boxes and other such bling;
These are a few of my favourite things;

SQL queries on multiple tables;
Linux, Apache, mod_rewrite enabled;
Robust web servers that rapidly ping;
These are a few of my favourite things;

When a bug strikes;
Fatal errors bite;
When my coding's bad;
I simply remember my favourite things;
And then I don't feel so mad;

(I didn't write the first verse)

Friday, June 30, 2006

Another rant

So the other day, I went to and signed up to sponsor a child. As I was setting up my AP, I was struck by the sheer ridiculousness of it all- here I was, feeling pretty good about the fact that I was signing up to give... er, $10 per week. $10?? I often spend that much on lunch! Now, I understand that for some people- students and the like- $10 is quite a lot. My flatmate told me a few years ago that he had a 'frivolous expenditure' budget of $5 per week- so not everyone is in a position to give even that much. But for someone like me, with a decent job, no loan, and no dependents, $10 is a pittance.

So little.... yet so much.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Kids these days...

When I was 13, I was pretty carefree. In fact, the most pressing concerns on my mind usually involved food- by which I mean food for me, not for starving Africans or anything like that.
For most 13 year old kids, managing their finances means seeing how many CDs/burgers/sugary treats they can buy with their weekly pocket money- so I was somewhat surprised at church this morning when a 13 year old girl by the name of Lizzie got up to share on the topic of financial freedom. Ten minutes later, I understood. This girl had, since the age of 9, been saving her money and collecting funds from her family and friends to send to a missionary organisation called Freeset that takes prostitutes off the streets of Calcutta and employs them in a factory making jute bags. For $300, they can take a girl of the street and set her up with a job.
She spoke so articulately about how God had placed this particular part of Calcutta on her heart and given her the opportunity to make a difference there that you would have thought she was 30, not 13.
It was without a doubt the most inspiring thing I've ever heard in a church.

1 Timothy 4:12:
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Long time no blog

Hi folks. If you thought this blog had been put out to pasture, think again... it was simply on an extended hiatus due its owner's growing disdain for all things computer related, which in turn stemmed from the increasing repetiveness and frustration factor of said owner's job. Today however, said owner has decided to expend some work time on the blog, which has the twofold benefit of 1) enabling owner to create a new post without extra time spent in front of computer, and 2) helping owner avoid work. (Note to boss: just kidding, I'm on a break)

Right, that's enough rambling descant in the 3rd person for one post. So what have I been up to? Here's a brief overview:

- I'm in the process of forming a band, currently entitled 'Paper Tigers' with Jeremy, Dru, Kris and a guy called Tane whom I don't know but who is, by all accounts, a fantastic musician. We're playing at the Canterbury Uni battle of the bands this friday night at Bentley's in the UCSA if you feel like coming along.

- Last Saturday I went to Auckland for the wedding of my friends Chris and Nicole, which was a wonderful celebration of life, love, family, etc- until some moron cut from Brooke Fraser's sultry 'Without You' to a hardcore Mumsdollar song while all the oldies were slow dancing. It was my first, and most likely last, experience as a wedding reception DJ. At least it wasn't the first dance...

- I have finally invested in the guitar amp of my dreams, well... not exactly... but something close to it. Note the minimalist front panel- I'm now a firm believer in the maxim that tonal quality is inversely proportional to number of knobs. mmmmm...

Monday, April 03, 2006


There's nothing better than a chilled Monteiths, especially when you've earned it by running from Sydenham to Cracroft reserve (on the Port Hills) and back.

That is all.

Friday, March 24, 2006

My currently somewhat unfulfilling existence

For those that don't know, I've just left Luminous. No fall outs, no animosity, I just decided it was time to move on. So now I'm back in Christchurch for the year- and for the first time in 3 or 4 years, I'm not in a band. This whole turn of events leaves me with a few dilemmas.

I already have a great job, so that's one problem solved. I have plenty of people to play music with too, so there's another one down. The remaining problem, however, stems from the very nature of my job. I mean, its fun, and challenging, but at the end of the day, what am I achieving for the greater good? Building websites is clearly not a bad thing, and may even be considered an admirable pursuit- depending on the nature of the site I suppose- but are the starving children of Africa and the oppressed women of Iran, and their ilk, recieving any benefit? I somehow don't think so, and neither are the needy right here in Christchurch- in fact, it often seems the main purpose of my work is to help people sell stuff.

So here I am, lubricating the cogs of capitalism, while the world around me continues to go down the tubes. What can I do? What should I do? Any ideas?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Band updates

Our NZ tour is over! We capped it off with an interesting weekend, playing at the Jetset Lounge on Saturday night (a bar in central Christchurch) and then Avonhead Baptist Church on Sunday evening. For 3/5 of the band, Saturday was the first time playing outside of a church setting or school, so there were a few nerves and a fair bit of apprehension beforehand. In the end though we just rocked out and had a great time.

Earlier the night had been kicked off in riotous fashion by an Alternative and Experimental Rock Band called Tragedy of the Commons (dig that minimalist website design). With Tony and Matt W laying down a tight-as groove, Matt B ripping the fat lead breaks, and Jeremy doing his best to brain Matt and Tony with the headstock of his guitar, these guys went off. Great songs, great stage presence- definitely a band to watch.

Sunday night was a great way to end the tour, with about 150 people packing out Avonhead Baptist. Given that the ABC sound system can barely be heard over a dripping tap, we got our friend Shane to bring in his (several thousand watt) system- which meant we could really go for it. We finished the night with a really cool worship time and I think lots of people were moved and encouraged.

Thanks to everyone who came to one or both of the gigs, you all rock!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

A life lesson...

In somewhat anti-social fashion, I leave my family at their restaurant table, and head for the bar to catch the end of the cricket. I am only somewhat distracted by the racket going on around me, as what I later learn are a group of shearers make merry. Idly, I start pondering the apparent gulf between myself and the other people in the room- privileged middle class versus working, white collar versus blue. I wonder how I can possibly relate to any of these folks, and find myself quite emphatically concluding that I can't. I might be able to make a difference in their lives through some indirect means, but no sir, if I try to talk to them about anything beyond the frivilous they'll scoff in my face.

How wrong could I be. I was too gormless to start a conversation myself, but I accidentally found myself face to face with a girl and she made the first step. After she assured me that she wasn't hitting on me, we made small talk for a while- she was surprised to learn that I knew the location of her home town, Tuatapere, as my aunt and uncle used to live there; I was even more surprised to discover that she remembered them. Then I mentioned I was in a band, and that we often play in churches. "So you're a christian then?" Why yes, I suppose I am...

After receiving several more emphatic assurances that I wasn't being hit on, I found myself being bombarded with questions- Why hasn't God answered my prayers? Why does God allow pain? Why, if God loves us, is the world such a mess? Why should I believe in something I can't see? Am I a bad person because I smoke dope?

So there I was, engaged in a deep philosophical discourse on the meaning of life and other topics most christians are too scared to properly discuss, with a person I had subconciously written off as being beneath said topics only minutes earlier. We ended up talking for close to an hour, exchanging various personal stories and the like. I couldn't adequately answer most of her questions, but I shared the gospel- not exactly your standard black book version- but the gospel none the less. She said she believed in God, but struggled for this reason and that to accept the christian way. I told her fair enough- it isn't easy, but encouraged her to keep seeking God. When she eventually had to go, she said it was really encouraging talking to me. I hope she was half as encouraged as I was!

The moral of the story? Don't EVER let yourself think that it's not worthwhile talking to a person. No matter who they are, and who you are, you can still make a difference. You never know what effect one conversation can have. And, every christian should spend more time hanging out in pubs.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


I've been through the Wellington plenty of times- but never spent more than a few hours here. Today I got to have a bit of a look around, and now I understand why people rave about it... very artsy and cultured, and the central city is so much nicer than the mega-malls we have in Christchurch. Not that I'm interested in shopping mind you.

Today we played at Tawa college at lunchtime, and Wellington Primal in the evening- both went really well, although our rendition of Coldplay's 'Clocks' at the school gig was a little sketchy. That'll happen though when your drummer has never played the song in his life and the band hasn't played it in nearly a year. After the Primal thing a few of us went down to the waterfront to loiter and eat pizza- good times. Then, we got (ahem)lost on the way home...
No, seriously, we weren't lost, we just took the wrong motorway and ended up in Lower Hutt rather than Johnsonville. Then we got to Johnsonville and realised the place we're staying wasn't there, it's actually in Churton Park or something. Tim (our resourceful drummer) was locked out, since we had the key... but, resourcefully, he decided to go for a run when he realised we were going to be a while.

Anyway, it's 2am so I'm going to hit the sack.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Bono a prophet?

Eugene Peterson (who authored The Message bible translation) thinks so. You can read about it here:

For those with limited time on their hands (although I'm not quite sure what you're doing on my blog if that's the case) here's an excerpt:

"Is U2 a prophetic voice? I rather think so. And many of my friends think so. If they do not explicitly proclaim the Kingdom, they certainly prepare the way for that proclamation in much the same way that John the Baptist prepared the way for the kerygma of Jesus...Amos crafted poems, Jeremiah wept sermons, Isaiah alternately rebuked and comforted, Ezekiel did street theater. U2 writes songs and goes on tour, singing them."

Friday, February 10, 2006

Well, here goes...

Ok, so I've decided to start a blog. I've been meaning to do this for a while actually, I'm reminded everytime I think of something that could conceivably go in a blog. Of course, now I'm actually starting said blog, I can't think of anything interesting to write. So here's a bit of a summary of what I've been up to for the last few weeks:

Parachute- My band, luminous, got to play twice on the palladium and once on the Life FM stage- the palladium was fun, but too big... 9000 capacity, we had 500 people max. The Life FM stage was an acoustic set/ interview that actually got broadcast live on Life FM, so that was cool.
After parachute, we stayed in stinking Hamilton for a few days... it was hot as heck and more humid than most Chinese rice cookers... we managed to escape to Raglan for a day but the elements conspired against us (no surf, and it rained). We played at Hamilton Primal on the Thursday which was cool, and then back to Raglan for the weekend- this time the weather was good (although still no surf)- we played at an awesome church called Raglan Surfside- great people and their band was incredible, probably the best worship team I've ever experienced- very inspiring.
From there we headed to Auckland for a few days off- I managed to get plenty of work done which was good, I'm still working for IBDG in Chch, just doing it remotely and only 20 hours a week while I'm on tour.
In Auckland we played at a youth event at Greenlane church, and did a couple of events with one of the Chinese churches which was really cool- Chinese people are great. They took us out for some authentic Chinese food- chicken feet, cow stomach lining, fungus soup etc. Mmmmm...

Now we're staying with some friends at Lake Rotoiti (the northern one that is) en-route to Wellington, where we have something like 6 gigs in 4 days- we'll be back in Chch on the 20th.