Images of 2011

The Texas Forest Service undertook controlled burns to get rid of fuel on the mountains around McDonald Observatory in the Davis Mountains of West Texas, which were experiencing widespread forest fires. Here, Black Mountain is burning. The Hobby-Eberly Telescope dome is at right. (Frank Cianciolo/McDonald Observatory)

ISAF soldiers leave the Intercontinental Hotel at the end of a military operation against Taliban militants who had stormed the hotel in Kabul. Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, sparking a five-hour battle with Afghan commandos backed by a NATO helicopter gunship in an assault that left at least 10 people dead. (Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images)


A massive tsunami sweeps in to engulf a residential area after a powerful earthquake in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture in northeastern Japan. (Reuters/KYODO)




Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo throws during the eighth inning of Game 1 of baseball’s National League division series against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)


Lightning flashes around the ash plume above the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano chain near Entrelagos, Chile. The volcano in the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle chain, dormant for decades, erupted in south-central Chile, belching ash over 6 miles (10 km) into the sky, as winds fanned it toward neighboring Argentina, and prompted the government to evacuate several thousand residents, authorities said. (Reuters/Carlos Gutierrez)


The year in review

My year in review…

Moment of the year: getting married of course!

Woman of the year: my wife- an amazing woman who puts up with my idiosyncracies

Man of the year: Nigel- he is the funniest bloke alive and also the most reliable and faithful man of God

Favourite film: Toss up between The King’s Speech and The Help. Honourable mention¬† goes to The Adjustment Bureau

Favourite album: Audrey Assad The House You’re Building; simply beautiful, warm, inviting, evocative worship.

Favourite book: Pacific Legacy: Image and Memory from World War II in the Pacific– hard to believe such barbaric things happened in such beautiful places

Favourite sporting moment: England winning the Ashes, All Blacks winning the World Cup and West Ham smashing Man Utd 4-0 in the cup.

Drink of the year: Stoke Gold from Nelson. Maple Tea from Canada is very nice too.

Favourite place: McKenzie Country in September was pretty special, especially seeing Aoraki/Mt Cook for the first time in perfect weather. However it goes to the Matukituki Valley beneath Mt Aspiring; scenic grandeur clothed in ethereal light at the end of the day and with no one else around. Stunning…also it had the coldest river I have ever set foot in.

Least favourite place: Palmerston North- nice people but soulless and anodyne. Seeing three pregnant women smoking in the first 10 minutes of being there told me all I needed to know…

Best purchase: Giant Trance X2- has provided me much mountain biking joy in recent months..and a few scars

Worst purchase: socks- they never seem to last. Maybe i have weird feet…

Scary moment of the year: seeing a bus clip a family crossing Willis St- i was convinced i would see 3 people die in front of me. Blessedly, they were ok but terrified

Most energetic moment: chasing the 2 punks who legged it out of a taxi in front of me without paying. They were shocked when I chased them..and more so when I caught them. The driver got his money…

Worst company to deal with: Student Loan Company UK- as much use as a fork in a sugar bowl. R&R Sports; great help when I buy my bike from you, then you bugger it with your ‘servicing’

Best company to deal with: Westpac are quite lovely and sort things quickly. Air New Zealand for their usual high level of service. Revolution Cycles on Northland Rd- they can teach R&R many things…

Favourite work related thing: I have had some brilliant students this year who have been a huge encouragement

Least favourite work related thing; marking is so tedious. And people who don’t do the things you ask of them

Least favourite NZ thing: the shocking rates of child abuse beggars belief

Most favourite NZ thing; seeing the country come together for Christchurch after the earthquake

Money Marlins

The Florida Marlins have been re-named as the Miami Marlins. Maybe the Miami should be switched for money?

In 2012, they will move into newly constructed Marlins Ballpark in Little Havana, Miami, and in the last few days the Marlins have signed All Star pitcher Mark Buehrle ,  All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes and All-Star closer Heath Bell.

While it may mean some success on the field, they will however look dreadful in their new uniforms, which look like a 4 year old has been let loose with a box of crayons.

Just goes to show that having lots of money does not equate to having class…


Following Saturday’s shake, we had another this morning of 4.2 about 10km west of Porirua and 30km deep. Was the same as Saturday’s in terms of noise and movement but less intense. Still not nice and worse being in the office here on the waterfront where you feel it more.


Fairly sizable quake rocked Wellington on Saturday night- epicentre was 30km away in the Cook Strait but it was 60km deep. Still, it made the house rumble and sway and then was followed by a very severe jolt which was pretty alarming. Some minor damage was suffered by waterfront buildings but other than that, everyone and everything is ok.