Spring and other things

The winds are back, there are lambs bouncing around the paddocks, and I got to watch a sparrow doing his little dance for his ladyfriend in the poplar tree outside my window at work.

In other news, by early October, *both* of the CBD’s largest used book stores (and several of the smaller ones as well) will be within coo-ee of my work pod — Quilters is moving from the Parliament end of Lambton Quay to Ghuznee Street, practically around the corner from Arty Bees. My wallet is doomed.

Also, the commercials US Cellular was filming in Wellington back in June (featuring tentacled buildings and gigantic shadow-puppet rabbits) are apparently showing the US now, and can be seen on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDTtP-eg1ek

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3O-dMD4-U8

Let em know if you see them “in the wild” !

What did you do on Saturday?

We had a few friends over. Activities ensued, including:

Three men walking around with rifles looking for bunnies, one dude with a chainsaw merrily chopping down a cherry tree, multiple decapitations, a flaming forge furnace and the clash of hammers on hot steel, gardening, archery, a cute little girl walking around with a petting a severed head, a bowl of fresh blood being briskly whisked, spoon carving, goose herding, and MIG welding.

Nobody got hurt. And alcohol was not even involved until after everyone was done.

All in all, a successful day. But rather tiring.

What is pandemic?

As everyone already knows, Swine Flu is officially a Pandemic. I find the public impression of the word “pandemic” very interesting. People seem to assume that if bodies are not littering the streets, then calling it a pandemic is just some sort of media hype.

Here in NZ Swine Flu is now *the* flu. It has taken over and become the season strain this year, so they have stopped testing in most cases and health officials simply state that if you get the flu, it is probably the pandemic strain. (And a depressing fact is that one way to tell what strain of flu you have is to take Tamiflu- if there is any effect it is Swine Flu. Every other TypeA flu in circulation in NZ is now Tamiflu resistant!)

Many of my friends have already had it. Having just returned from a weekend retreat with 40 friends, I wonder if we had an unknown carrier amongst us. I guess I will know in 72 hours. There was plenty of talk while we were there about who had already had it, and how lucky we are (so far) that the flu remains mild. Only about 20 people have died from it in NZ so far.

And then I got home last night, and found out that a friend of mine here in Wellington had died, probably from Swine Flu. He was, as medical people would say, a person suffering from many other medical complications that made him more vulnerable to infection. Over the last 2 years I had visited him in hospital many times as he went through the rigours of many rounds of chemo, and then a bone-marrow transplant. He went into hospital to deal with an unrelated medical problem last week, became symptomatic, and died a few days later of a Type A influenza. (I was not going to be so rude to ask his mother who told me of his death if more tests post-mortem had confirmed it was Swine Flu.)

The poor kid was only 19. I really hope he goes to the heaven he believed in.

EDIT: Funeral was yesterday (Thursday a week after he died). About 400 people attended (family, church, school, and the myriad of clubs he was involved with).  Turns out he died of the “normal” (not swine) flu. He was 18 years and 5 months old.