Ravings of a
Crazy Cat Lady

Life... the way I see it!

All Blacks First Game of the Season 

Gotta love the scoreline, but to be honest, it isn't very reflective of the way Manu Samoa played the game. They owned the first 20 minutes of the game and really tested the ABs defense. The ABs are fairly notorious late starters to a new season, hence the introduction of the match against Samoa.  But  it didn't take them long to get into the game.

I thought it was befitting that Beauden Barrett scored a double on his 50th outing in the black jersey. Another highlight for the Barrett's  was the inaugural inclusion of 3 siblings in an ABs team.  I just wish Hansen had subbed Scott and Jordie earlier (or Beauden later) so they got some game time together.  


British and Irish Lions Tour of Aotearoa NZ

Enjoying the British and Irish Lions tour of NZ.  There's been some great rugby, and I think it's gonna just get better. 

  • I thought the NZ Barbarians did incredibly well considering the majority of them are part-time rugby players.  While the Lions weren't convincing, they'd only been in the country for 72 hours, so jet lag was obviously a factor.  Bryn Gatland was my player of the day.  What a position for Mrs. Gatland to be in! But to be honest, if that was me, it wouldn't matter who my husband coached/played for etc.  I'm a kiwi through and through and will always support our teams.  
  • The Blues game was awesome.  It was so good to see SBW to play like his old self again.  His athleticism cannot be denied, and although there's a lot of people out there who question him getting a black jersey, I think he proved his worth in that game.  
  • Crusaders, Crusaders... boy, who saw that coming! I actually got to watch that game in the company of NZers, which was a nice change, but we were all a bit thunderstruck with the result.  Yes, the refereeing was poor but that had nothing to do with the slopping passing and catching.  There were a couple of times that the Saders got close to the tryline, but then fumbled the ball.  I sat there thinking that if anybody can pull a miracle win off its the Crusaders, but it wasn't to be.  The BIL deserved to win that game.  They played much better rugby.  And I think it made us realize that we're in for a great series.  
  • Next came the Highlanders game.  Otago University is my alma mater which is why the Highlanders are my second favorite SR team (the Hurricanes being number 1).  What a game.  It was so exciting.  At one point I was positive that it was me who was preventing the Landers from scoring, so I spent a bit of time going from room to room, returning when I heard commotion from the telly.  So thrilled for the Landers.  A great win.  I thought some of the complaints about the refereeing were interesting.  I happen to think Angus Gardiner is one of the best refs around at the moment.  His communication with the players was exceptional.  Especially when you compare his style to the Frenchman, 
In an interview, BILs player, Kyle Sinckler's made some comments about the refereeing they've faced in NZ.  Here are my thoughts on a couple of quotes from the article: 

1. "That is not how things are done up north. They expect the refs to show more understanding." When did "understanding" become synonymous with allowing infringements? Gardener's a great ref. His communication with the players is awesome. If he feels hard done by because of ONE call, then that's pretty lucky compared to some games we've seen lately.
2. "Normally when you have a new front row, you give it time to settle combinations." So, by merely changing the front row, he expects the ref to show leniency, no matter what's gone on before? Boy, that's a can of worms I'd rather not see opened in rugby. And where would that end? That's giving everyone on the bench a free pass for the first however many minutes they're on. 
3. "They had to protect No 1, he said - a reference to his belief that they were getting a rough deal from the officials." Really? In four games they've had Gardener twice (you'd think they'd be used to him by now), and two French referees, Pascal Gauzere and Mathieu Raynal. How have they had a rough deal? I believe the Crusaders had a rough deal - not because of ONE decision, but because of constant infringements. However, I'm not doing to blame a ref for being outplayed on the day. 
Just like all of us, refs aren't perfect. Unfortunately the rules are open to interpretation. Sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn't. As long as the ref is consistent. That's all we really want. I think Gardener is a great ref. He allows the game to flow, he communicates with the players, and is consistent with his decisions.
  • And today, we have the Maori All Blacks game.  I'm looking forward to seeing DMac playing flyhallf and James Lowe at fullback.  

There has been a bit said about Owen Farrell's kick in the British media, so I spent ages going through the rules, and for a goal to be scored it states clearly that the ball must go "between the posts." I couldn't find anything in the rules concerning what happens when the ball goes over the upright, but in keeping with the rules, the defining aspect is that it must be "between the posts". 
Law 6.B.5: "If the ball goes over the crossbar and between the posts, the touch judges or assistant referees raise the flags to indicate a goal" (laws.worldrugby.org).
And as for the Elliot Daly kick, he went to take it from within his range! Isn't that kind of cheating? So a kicker can take a penalty from wherever he wants? Why bother kicking? Just ring up the 3 points!
However, the bit I REALLY loved was this: "the Lions have video evidence to show that the kick was successful."  Well, it doesn't take much to find photographic evidence that the Lions were offside against the Crusaders! Lol (http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-union/international/british-and-irish-lions-tour-2017-highlanders-elliot-daly-owen-farrell-a7790461.html) 

(17th June 2017)

2016...

It's been awhile since I did any raving... well, not in person, but on website anyway!

I've been keeping busy with the theatre.  January was a busy month for Beyond the Veil.  We had Short+Sweet and auditions for our third production, Take the Ground.  

The kids (Gypsy, MacKenzie and McCaw) are good.  No doubt I'll be posting some photos of them very soon - coz I've certainly been taking them!

I've been doing a lot of PD courses through an organisation called FutureLearn.  Honing my shooting and editing skills.  I've been loving it and it's rekindled my love of filmmaking and all things media.   


(10th February, 2016)


أتمنى لكم عيد ميلاد سعيد

(atamanna lakum ‘eed milaad sa3eed)

I wish you a Merry Christmas, from Abu Dhabi.

I've always loved this photo.  Let's face it, it all happened in this part of the world... maybe not in Abu Dhabi, but certainly in the region.  For me, the stories come to life here.  And while I miss my family dreadfully, it's nice being here for Christmas.  


(25th December, 2105)


  • Meri Kirihimete ki a koutou 

Merry Christmas to you all, from NZ. 

Had a lovely Skype family in NZ this morning.  It's always SO great to Skype but it's also VERY hard to say goodbye.  

Got these images off the Internet: Christmas in New Zealand. 

The tree is a pohutakawa and it's what we refer to as the New Zealand Christmas Tree. December is summer back home so many people escape to the beach at some point during the day, hence the Santa hat and the sand Santa.  And finally, it wouldn't be NZ without a kiwi...


(25th December, 2015)

To blog or not to blog...

I started this website to make my life easier... it replaced the two blogs I had, Zakaia's Zone and Mediated Musings. But it seems that people are still visiting both blogs, go figure! 


(19th December, 2015)


It's Christmas Time...

So the Christmas tree is up... much to the absolute delight to the cats!

When I'm at work, the cats are in the opposite part of the house to the tree.

They are on a strict, supervised visitation regime ONLY!


(18th December, 2015)



Guess who went to the vet...

(16th December, 2015)


Home Sweet Home

On my new (wonderful) MacBook, one of the new screen saver options is a tile configuration.  So I uploaded my favourite photos of home - photos I've taken on my holidays home since living in the UAE.  I guess it indicates how homesick I am at the moment!


(27th November, 2015)


beyondtheveilad.com

Check out the Beyond the Veil website to catch up with all the latest news. 


(27th November, 2015)


RIP Jonah Lomu

When I woke up this morning, all I was thinking about was the opening night for my play... I was devastated when I heard this news.


Jonah took the world by storm.  He was an inspiration to so many.  But the thing that impressed me most about Lomu was is humility.  In this age of selfies and talking oneself up, he never lost who he was.  He never considered himself anything other than one of the team.  And that was the class of the man.  


He will be sorely missed.  Not just in NZ but in every rugby-loving nation.  


(18th November, 2015)


The RWC is NZ's Cup... 

There had been a lot of talk early on in the tornament about what an easy group the ABs were in, with the assumption that it would be difficult for the team to pick up the intensity needed in the knock-out round.  

As a true-blue AB supporter, this never worried me.  In the group games, the ABs looked comfortable... not always great, but comfortable.  I always had the feeling they had something up the sleeve.  

In saying that though... I was nervous during the quarterfinal with France.  And then I was nervous during the semifinal with South Africa.  But there was something different with this AB side.  There wasn't the panic sometimes visible in the past when things weren't gong their way.  They were on a mission, and it showed.  


During the first half in final against Australia, it seemed too good to be true.  But I knew the Wallabies would come out fighting after half time.  And they put up a valiant fight. But once again, the ABs took it in their stride and waited until the opportunity arose for another offensive drive.  


" But it was New Zealand that captured the imagination most of all. They came into the tournament being billed as the greatest team there has ever been. We can argue about that all we want but they proved without doubt they are the greatest team of the moment" 


This team has been magnificent to watch.  Their statistics are impressive (beyond belief really), but what's been just as important to me, if not more important, is the way in which they have played the game and represented New Zealand, both on and off the field.  I LOVE that they all take turns sweeping out the changing room.  This was incorporated as a way to keep them grounded and to show that nobody is bigger than the jersey.  I also love that they invite other teams into their changing room after a game.  To me, this is showing true NZ spirit.  


Proud to be a kiwi, and proud to support the All Blacks. 


Photo and Quote Reference: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-3298198/New-Zealand-34-17-Australia-Blacks-claim-record-Rugby-World-Cup-crown-tries-Nehe-Milner-Skudder-Ma-Nonu-Beauden-Barrett-settle-Southern-hemisphere-final.html

Eligibility on the Rugby Field

Came across this article today: Are the Wallabies becoming too much like the Kiwis?
The article is about the number of foreigners that play for other countries and how it affects the style of the rugby in that particular country.
The writer claims that "International rugby union has long had dubious representative eligibility laws, in my opinion, which should be tightened to be more in line with sports bodies such as football’s FIFA" (para. 13).  And thinking about it, perhaps this is something that needs to be cleared up: "Is there, or should there be, a rule in place that promotes Australian talent to go on and play for the Wallabies? Or is it a case of wanting success at all costs?" (para. 14).  Countries should definitely back their up and coming players. 

"The IRB’s current rules on international qualification require only three years residency in a foreign country or a grandparent from that country. You don’t have to hold that country’s passport to play. Players like Antonie Claassen and Bernard Le Roux, both South Africans, have turned out for France simply because they play their club rugby there and have not previously played for South Africa. Gareth Anscombe has just last week decided to head over to Wales, where ancestry gives him qualification for the Welsh" (http://www.greenandgoldrugby.com/pick-country-country/).

As with everything, it's not that cut and dry.  There are, after all, only so many places in a team, and so many teams in a country.   If a player can't get into a team in his own country, why shouldn't he be allowed to play somewhere else?

(15th August, 2015)

Well done ABs...

After the rugby last week (which, let's face it, could've gone either way after the terrible first half), it was good to see a decent game  today. 
I missed Ma'a Nonu last week so I was happy to see him score two tries today.
Of course it was a big day today... the last game on NZ soil for Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith and Tony Woodcock.  That's a lot of BIG shoes to fill. 
Over and above that of course, today was a special day for McCaw as he took the record for the most test caps.  And wasn't it nice of Brian O'Driscoll (the former title holder) to tweet his congratulations. 

Some Bledisloe statistics...

Most titles won:

  1. New Zealand - 43 (including 1931)
  2. Australia - 12

Longest time held by Australia: 5 years (1998–2002) (5 Titles)

Longest time held by New Zealand: 28 years (1951–1978) (12 Titles)

and more recently for the All Blacks, 13 years (2003-2015 (13 Titles)


Interestingly, the Wallabies have not beaten New Zealand at Eden Park since 1986.


References:
Images: https://www.rte.ie/sport/rugby/2015/0815/721444-new-zealand-crush-australia-to-retain/
Stat: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bledisloe_Cup

(15th August, 2015)

The Great Redeemer

Finally, I've uploaded the video of The Great Redeemer. 
You can watch it on the Beyond the Veil website or on YouTube.  Or you can just turn to the 'Theatre Endeavours' page. 
Do me a favour though... don't forget to SUBSCRIBE to the Beyond the Veil YouTube channel. 

(12th August, 2015)

A Wonderful Summer...

The UAE is very good to me... I was reminded of this as I traveled around Scandinavia.  Not the cheapest part of the world, but one of the most beautiful!  I absolutely fell in love with Sweden.  But I must say, Greenland was one of the best experiences of my life. 
I've only just got back from my holiday and I've just got back into the swing of things!
I'm up-to-date with cleaning, washing, and... well, everything except my dissertation! I've been telling myself, "I'll start it tomorrow."  But as yet, tomorrow hasn't come.
But tomorrow is another day!

(7th August, 2015) 

Ramadan Kareem 

Wishing all my friends a very happy Ramadan.

I have been remiss...

Once again I've let life get in the way of communication!

Nothing since May... shame on me! Onward and upward!


(18th June, 2015)


Article in the National...


(27th May, 2015)

Two Nights to Remember...

(23rd May, 2015)

Blue Fever's upcoming show...

 

GREAT music, GREAT dinner, GREAT location = GREAT night...

This is DEFINITELY one not to miss!

 

(4th March, 2015)

 

Beyond the Veil's first production...

 

This wonderful poster was designed by Hana Al Katheeri.  After a few emails and explanations about the play, Hana got it perfectly. 

Season: 25th - 27th March.

Time: 8:00pm.

Venue: Piano Hall, The National Theatre, 17th Street (entrance is behind the Al Jazeera Stadium), Abu Dhabi.

Tickets: Suggested donation (AED 25 Students and AED 50 Adults)

Bookings: Door Sales or email [email protected]

 

(4th March, 2015)

 

The Other WORLD CUP Being Played This Year!


While I was looking for cricket stuff, I came across this.  
Yes, it's a BIG year for sport... (well, at least the sports I like!).  My picks...
Pool A: Australia and England.
Pool B: South Africa and Scotland.
Pool C: New Zealand and Argentina.
Pool D: France and Ireland.  
Four from each hemisphere.  
At least with the games being in England, the time difference won't be so bad.  
I'm getting nervous just thinking about it!

(20th February, 2015)

ICC Cricket World Cup

I could resist no longer! I finally rang Etisalat and ordered the ICC Cricket World Cup channels.

Unfortunately I didn't received the channels in time to watch the NZ vs England game.  And that was one I really wanted to watch!

The coolest thing... the UAE have a team playing.  Okay, not many Emiratis in the team, but it's a representative team nonetheless.  

It's great to see teams like Scotland, Ireland and the UAE do so well.  They aren't known as cricketing countries so it's great to see them being competitive.  


(20th February, 2015)

23 Adult Truths

My brother posted this on FB and I couldn't resist.  While reading through the 23 Truths, I found myself nodding in agreement quite often.  
Well worth a read! 

(20th February, 2015)

AUDITIONS...

More Success for Saleh Karama Al Ameri

Saleh's play, One More Try, was a winner at the Kuwait Theatre Festival recently. 
For more on Saleh's latest success, go to Theatre Endeavours. 

(29th December, 2014)

New on Mediated Musings...

http://www.tlc.com/tv-shows/toddlers-tiaras
Turn to Mediated Musings page to read about the above topics:
  • Toddlers and Tiaras
  • The Reem Island Ghost


(4th December, 2014)

Happy Birthday UAE

https://www.facebook.com/UAENationalDay

43-years ago today the UAE was formed. 
I don't think there's a country on the planet that's achieved SO much in such a short space of time. 
The country never ceases to amaze me.  The roads might drive me nuts at times, but this country's been INCREDIBLY good to me. 
It's enabled me to get a post-graduate degree without going into debt, and I've had experience teaching 3 curricula I wouldn't have been exposed to at home. 
This video was actually from 2010 but it's SO cool I just had to include it!
Anyway... A VERY heart felt happy birthday to the UAE.

(2nd December, 2014)

43rd National Day coming up...

Found myself behind this car on Thursday  and thought it was cool.  There's the usual array of flags over bonnets, but I thought this was quite original. 
This year is the 43rd National Day for the UAE.  If there's one thing that Abu Dhabi does incredibly well, it's lighting.  And as with previous years, the lighting around the city is just wonderful. 
Happy birthday UAE.

(29th November, 2014)

Beyond the Veil

A new theatre company in Abu Dhabi.
For more information, go to the Theatre Endeavours page. 


(17th October, 2014)


Gaffes... From Prince Philip to Tony Abbott

http://www.naplesnews.com/news/world/world-remembers-d-day

These two have a fair few gaffes to their names.  Turn to Mediated Musings to read some of them.

(17th October, 2014)

Rugby Championship

I spent a couple of weekends absolutely glued to my television.  And I was thrilled when the All Blacks won the title with a couple of rounds to spare.  But the game I wanted to see but missed was the one at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.  I was in Armenia when that game was being played. And although I've seen no replays or anything, the fact that there were only two points in it, make me think it must have been an exciting game. 
Well done to the Springbok for the win. 

(16th October, 2014)


Two New Reviews...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Cards_%28season_1%29


http://www.vatsav.net/notions/scrapbook/reviews/homeland.vsv

Who died and made you the moral and art police? signed Anonymous (of course!)

After a morning of watching an excellent (i.e. exciting) game of rugby between NZ and RSA, I decided to check my emails and received the following from Anonymous with regard to my posting, "Nyotaimori - a misogynist's dream":
"Who are you to dictate what is art and what isn't? The practice of nyotaimori begun with the last emperor of Japan. And yes it is true it isnt widely practiced in Japan it is indeed offered there and not just at sex clubs. I find self righteous people like you who have nothing better to do than criticize and pass judgment on others to be totally misinformed and trying to impose their will where it really isnt needed. To over generalize that everyone doing this is not doing it for art is just ignorant. And why shouldn't people enjoy art as they see fit? Who died and made you the moral and art police?"

I find this comment interesting.  I replied twice to this email.  The first email I replied with said:
"My research (and I did research a lot) shows it doesn't have anything to do with Japanese emperors. If you would like to debate this... Have the courage to leave your name. "

The second reply said:
"Oh and after reading your response for a second time, I believe I never said "everyone" was doing it. 
Also... It's my website where I post my views. Am I trying to be the "art police"... No.  But surely YOU'RE not suggesting I haven't got a right to an opinion??? Coz let me think... Yes, that would make YOU what you're accusing me of!!!!  Thanks for your comments though.  You see, I think debate is a healthy thing. I'm sorry if you don't."

Why did I reply twice?  Well, I was quite taken aback to be honest.   After all... this website is called, "Ravings of a Crazy Cat Lady."  It's NOT called "THE WAY THE WORLD SEES THINGS", or "THIS IS WHAT I THINK SO YOU SHOULD THINK THIS WAY TOO..." 

Believe me, when I post something on Mediated Musings... I research it.  However, as I told "Anonymous", I do reserve the right to have my opinion.  After all, it is MY website. 
Since receiving the email from "Anonymous" (is that the person's first name I wonder?), I reread my posting on Nyotaimori and I stand by what I said.  I think eating food off naked women is misogynist. 
Let me repeat that... I THINK eating food off naked women is misogynist.  I'm not saying this is the opinion of the world, or my race, or my region, or my hemisphere... It's my opinion.  If you agree... COOL.  If you disagree with me... COOL.  But instead of being insulting towards me... start your own website. 
However, in saying that... I don't for one moment think that my opinion is the only one.  Surely that's the beauty of perspective.  What a boring world it would be if we all thought the same thing.  And I would NEVER imposed my opinion on other people.  But as I said previously, I reserve the right to having my own opinion.  Perhaps my great-grandmother wasn't allowed to have an opinion, but I am allowed to have one. 
But, one thing I will say... at least I have the guts to put my name to my opinion. 

(13th September, 2014)

The Perfect Library

If you like reading, you really MUST check out the new blog, The Perfect Library: http://www.the-perfect-library.org/

My friend was given a box containing 100 postcards.  Each postcard is of a Penguin book cover.  So he decided to write (in 500 words or less) something about each postcard.  However, don't be expecting book reviews. 


Penguin Books was founded in 1935 by Allen Lane after being disappointed with the range of paperbacks on offer at the Exeter railway station.  Lane believed that 'good design is no more expensive than bad' and declared that while paperbacks should look distinctive, they shouldn't cost more than a packet of cigarettes. 


Lane got what he wanted... Penguin covers are distinctive.  And while they have altered over the years from their original 3 horizontal stripes, they have stayed true to Lane's original design philosophy. 


(6th September, 2014)


High School Musical

http://www.stuff.co.nz/marlborough-express/lifestyle/arts/10267973/Musical-a-big-fun-production

Went to the combined Marlborough Colleges production of High School Musical yesterday, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  More about the show on my Reviews page.

(10th August, 2014)

Five Deadly Terms Used by a Woman

http://www.intouchmagazine.net/2014/06/five-deadly-words-or-terms-used-by.html

Although obviously tongue-in-cheek, this actually applies to me.
Should I be loathed to admit that?

(9th August, 2014)

SUPER Superugby FINAL...

http://www.talkingrugbyunion.co.uk/waratahs-and-crusaders-into-super-rugby-final-2014/11382.htm

14-0 to the Waratahs in the first 14 minutes. 
Deep down I had faith.  I kept thinking, if anybody can come out of this, the Crusaders can...
And when they started creeping up on the Waratahs score I screamed like a banshee.
I must say that I did count at least 3 (yes, THREE) crooked throw-ins by the Waratahs replacement hooker, Silatolu Latu, and the referee, Craig Joubert, only played the advantage once.  But that's rugby. 
The end... well it wasn't what I wanted. 
It wasn't what I thought it would be.
I thought, after the incredible catch-up game that the Crusaders had to play, they deserved to win.
But alas... it wasn't to be.
The penalty given with only a couple of minutes left on the clock, was a bit ify... but that's rugby. 
And I admit to poor sportsmanship - I did hope that Foley would miss the penalty, and as it was at the end of his range, I thought there was a good chance of him not getting it.  But he kicked well - especially considering all the pressure he was under.
According to Todd Blackadder, "Joubert’s decision to penalise McCaw was a 50-50 call" (Harris 2014, para. 10), but Ritchie McCaw conceded that "he should have known better in that situation" (Harris 2014, para. 10).
So the final score was Warratahs 33 - Crusaders 32, in one of the most exciting Superugby Finals I've seen.
After the hurt subsided, I thought the outcome was probably the best outcome for rugby anyway.  After all, rugby union isn't the sport of the masses in New South Wales; Aussie Rules and Rugby League are more popular.  So maybe this result will encourage people to support the sport more. 
To quote a rugby adage... "rugby was the winner on the day".

References:

  • Harris, B 2014, 'NSW Waratahs win first Super Rugby title with 33-32 victory over Crusaders', The Australian, viewed 3 August 2014, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/rugby-union/nsw-waratahs-win-first-super-rugby-title-with-3332-victory-over-crusaders/story-e6frg7o6-1227011434552

(3 August, 2014)

Eid Mubarak


(28th July, 2014)

Many a time...


Actually... this is how I feel after every school holiday!

(27th July, 2014)

What They're Playing For

SuperRugby Cup
Bledisloe Cup

Championship Cup

World Cup

While looking up all the different rugby trophies contested by the Southern Hemisphere teams, I came across this photo: "The New Zealand Rugby Union celebrated the All Blacks victory in the inaugural Rugby Championship with a public display of the team’s bulging trophy cabinet in Wellington" (Markwick 2012, para. 1).

This was actually the first time all three trophies had been in the same place, at the same time.  I've just got my fingers crossed it wasn't a one-off!

 

References:

  • Image 1: http://www.ehowzit.co.za/sport/rugby/super-rugby-semi-final-preview-crusaders-vs-sharks/
  • Image 2: http://www.espnscrum.com/onthisday/rugby/story/101509.html
  • Image 3: http://www.taringa.net/posts/deportes/15416547/Rugby-Championship.html
  • Image 4: http://rugby.isport.com/rugby-guides/an-overview-of-the-rugby-world-cup
  • Image 5: http://nzallblacksrugby.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/all-blacks-put-their-trophies-on-display/
  • Markwick, C 2012, 'All Blacks Put Their Trophies On Display', All Blacks Rugby, viewed 27 July, 2014, http://nzallblacksrugby.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/all-blacks-put-their-trophies-on-display/


(26th July, 2014)


SUPER Superugby


So this is table of the competition since the beginning of the SANZAR era began in 1996.  Before then there was the Super 6 (1992 - won by the Brisbane Reds) and Super 10 (1993 - won by the Johannesburg Lions; 1994 - won by the Reds; 1995 - again won by the Reds).

When SANZAR (South African, New Zealand and Australian Rugby) took over the competition it started at the Super 12, then it increased to the Super 14 with the Western Force (Perth) and Cheetahs (Bloemfontein).  In 2009 it expanded to the Super 15 with the Rebels (Melbourne) joining. 

Each of the three countries involved have five teams in the competition now:

South Africa: Bulls, Cheetahs, Lions, Sharks, Stormers.

New Zealand: Blues, Chiefs, Crusaders, Highlanders, Hurricanes.

Australia: Brumbies, Force, Rebels, Reds, Waratahs.


Of course, as a South Islander (from the Crusaders catchment) I particularly like the tables on the left.  These tables are from the SANZAR era of the competition so the statistics are from 1996.
From 2016, SARU (South African Rugby Union) have been granted a sixth team for the competition.  This solved the internal problem of having six franchises playing for five positions in the competition.  The additional team will be the Kings, based in Port Elizabeth. 

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Rugby

 

(26th July, 2014)


Saleh Karama Al Ameri

http://www.albayan.ae/our-homes/mirror/1201708093763-2008-02-08-1.615190

I went to a fabulous play reading with Resuscitation Theatre at the Emirates Writer's Union (National Theatre, Abu Dhabi) a couple of weeks ago. 
A VERY interesting new play by Emirati playwright, Saleh Karama Al Ameri, The Great Redeemer. 
Last Wednesday we workshopped the play and discussed the nuances.  Luckily Saleh was there to answer all of our questions. 
Turn to Theatre  Endeavours for more info.

(20th July, 2014)

MacKenzie...


Ever such a cutie...


(18th July, 2014)


World Cup Final

Boy I thought Argentina was going to take it... 
One of the things I particularly like about the German team, over and above the team work, is the fact they don't spend a lot of time rolling around on the ground trying to get free kicks. 
However, I've supported Argentina since the days of Diego Maradona, so at first,  I was a bit conflicted as to who I wanted to win. 
I thought Argentina defended incredibly well.  And let's face it, they were unlucky.  But I guess that's sport - sometimes the calls go your way and sometimes they don't. 
But I did think Germany looked like they were biding their time. 
All in all, a great end to the competition. 

(14th July, 2014)


World Cup Semi-final... WOW

In the sweep stake at work, I tried my best to swap Costa Rica for Germany at the beginning of the tournament.  I lived in Germany for three years when I was younger and have had a soft spot for the country ever since.  But alas, I wasn't allow to swap.  But that didn't stop me supporting them. 
There's probably nothing more that can be said about this game. 
Like everybody watching, I was astounded.  Four goals in 20 minutes... I don't think there would've been a person on the planet who predicted that.
And while I felt sorry for Brazil, I was hoping Germany would win heading into the game. 
And how exciting... Germany in the final.  I just hope it's Argentina that's there with them... 

http://www.wardoon.net/?nid=14857


(9th July, 2014)


Ramadan Kareem

http://weheartit.com/entry/group/50504537

For all those celebrating, I wish you a peaceful and blessed Ramadan.

(30 June, 2014)

Home Sweet Home

Yeah... going home for summer.  Well not all of it, after all I no longer teach at a high school!  It's been a couple of years since I've been back and I'm REALLY looking forward to it. I wasn't going to go back at first - was considering an African safari - but changed my mind a month ago.  And I'm thrilled I did.
(Image Reference: www.internations.org/new-zealand-expats)

(14th June, 2014)

Ah... Teaching

Found this on FB and thought it was hilarious. 
When I shared it on FB, the number of teacher's that 'liked' it was quite funny.


Image Reference:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152408401668376&set=a.208989758375.131641.18091563375&type=1&theater

Bath Day at Casa Cvitanovich

It NEVER ceases to amaze me how dense Mack is (and I say that loveingly as his mum!).
So after cleaning my apartment after my games night on Thursday, I decided it was time for the cats to have a bath.
Gypsy was on to me... so I had to coax her with cat nibbles.
I got her in the bathroom and got started... all under the watchful eye of Mack.
He was sitting on the smaller laundry hamper, happily watching Gypsy being bathed.  None the wiser.
After Gypsy was washed and dried, I merely walked over to Mack and picked him up and put him in the bath.
And the funniest thing... he seemed quite surprised that it was his turn!
Oh the joys of parenthood!

(7th June, 2014)

Roxy's New Home...

Doesn't she look happy?
This is a photo of Roxy in her new home. 
One of my students very kindly made the offer of adopting Roxy, and boy am I grateful.
I see photos of Roxy and her new life very other day, and yes... she is happy in her new environment.
She's even become friends with one of the family dogs!
Isn't that amazing... especially when considering the length of time she spent at my house and the precarious relationship she had with Mack and Gypsy. 
I really can't voice how happy and relieved I am.
If I didn't have any other cats, I would have kept Roxy myself. 
But three cats is a lot for a one-bedroom apartment. 
I really do love this photo of Roxy.  She looks comfortable in her surroundings.
I am very grateful to my student. 
Prayers really do get answered. 

(8th May, 2014)


Who Wants a Cat?

This is Roxy.
If you remember, she was the stray cat I was feeding every so often.  Then I found her on the stoop after she had been hit by a car.
She had four fractures to her pelvis.
But I'm happy to say that she is better now - after 5 weeks of cage-rest in my living room.
I took her to the vet today to get her spayed and then the next thing is to find her a home.
She is a lovely cat.
VERY affectionate and loving. 
She sits beside me on the sofa and often just gazes up at me. 
She chats away while sitting beside me, but isn't demanding at meal times.
She would make somebody a GREAT pet.
I can't keep her coz I've got two cats already and I think she prefers not having feline company.
Any takers? Email me.

(12th April, 2014)
 

Family Photos....

Gypsy on the  balcony

(11th April, 2014)

Mack on the balcony
Gypsy and Mack

Bath Day for the Cvitanovich Cats...

Gypsy


(11th April, 2014)



Gypsy

Mack
Mack

Bath Day at Casa Cvitanovich

Roxy
MacK
Gypsy

Bath day is ALWAYS an interesting day at Casa Cvitanovich.

Gypsy, Mack and then Roxy.

And you know what... Roxy was even better behaved than Mack!


(14th March, 2014)


From this to this... Air New Zealand

http://loyaltylobby.com/2014/02/13/air-new-zealands

Air New Zealand's new inflight safety video has caused controversy.  Have the witty, quirky videos of the past been replaced with a blatantly sexist approach at making safety videos entertaining?

Turn to Mediated Musings for more.


(21st February, 2014)


Roxy in the Hood

Picked up Roxy on Saturday morning from the Vet and brought her home.  She's settling in well.  Seems happy and stress free.  Which is quite an accomplishment considering the welcome party Gypsy and MacK gave her!  They sat in front of the cage for ages playing face off with her. 

I'll allow them to associate when I'm at home, but when I'm at work or rehearsal, I'll separate them.  Gypsy and MacK are going to be spending quite a bit of time in the other end of the apartment!

Roxy's home at Casa Cvitanovich is a cage.
It feels unnatural to have a cat locked up in a cage but if that's what it takes to ensure her pelvis heals... she'll be in that cage for the long haul.
She's had her shots and all that's left is getting her neutered.  But that won't be for a while yet.  At the moment, it's R&R for Roxy. 
She needs to recuperate and get better. 
And hopefully Gypsy and MacK will allow that to happen without causing her too much stress!

(15th February, 2014)

Worst Day EVER...

Had the WORST start to the day...

I had been feeding a lovely natured black cat for around 2-3 months.  Elvis would visit every other day and although he was always hungry, he never struck me as being desperate.  I always figured he was somebody's pet - but somebody who wasn't a real cat person. 
Anyway, I hadn't seen Elvis for about 3 days.   But I NEVER expected to see what I saw leaving for work.
It was about 6:45 and I was exiting the building, and Elvis was laying on the stoop, not moving.
I thought he was dead.

There was a gold and white Persian sitting beside him which I thought was cute as - it was nice to see Elvis had company while waiting. 
I tried to pick him up but his back legs were like jelly.  They just parted, like the Red Sea.
I put him back down and rushed back upstairs to get my cat carrier.  By this time I had called the vets and was arranging to take him in.
So I got him to the vet's and the nurse who lives upstairs didn't hear my banging on the door or tooting on the horn for what seemed like an eternity. 
But he finally came downstairs and took the cat and my details.
I cried most of the way to work. 
The cat was OBVIOUSLY in a VERY bad way but managed to climb the 8 or so stairs up my stoop. 
I kind of felt like he came to me for a reason. 
Anyway, I got a phone call from the vet around 10'ish... Elvis, who is actually a girl, had either been hit by a car or kicked, and was in severe shock. 
They couldn't do anything until she'd calmed down and they gave her enough fluids. 
The next phone call I received (after deciding on a name change to Roxy) was to say that she was doing much better and that they'd planned to do the x-rays later that afternoon.
I was heading into the vet clinic after work to pay the account thus far, and by the time I got there the x-ray had been taken.
The poor little thing has a fractured pelvis - broken in 4 places.    The vet said the fracture could mend by cage-rest or she might need surgery. 
She said the orthopedic specialist needed to view the x-rays in order to advise me.  God I saw the x-rays and the pelvis looked awful. 
I got a text later that night saying the specialist recommended surgery, but that cage-rest (as long as the cat doesn't jump around) would also be good.  After speaking to the vet, we decided on cage-rest.
So what started as a HORRIBLE day, ended with some good news.


(10th February, 2014)


Goodbye 2013... Hello 2014

Looking back, 2013 wasn't a bad year at all.

  • Finished my MA and was accepted for a second Masters.
  • Was fortunate to be involved in a wonderful theatre festival of plays by Emirati playwright, Saleh Karama.
  • Started my new job and am enjoying it immensely.
  • Spent Christmas with family.  

 

Now what will 2014 bring??? Well apart from the fact it's WAY TOO early to answer that one, it wouldn't be fun if one had the answers this early on!

Anyway... happy New Year to one and all.

 

(1st January, 2014)



Bath Day at Casa Cvitanovich

It's a monthly ritual at my place.  The cats need to be bathed... they're indoor cats so they're not rubbing up against trees etc in order to lose excess hair, so a monthly bath keeps everything in check. 
Of course with MacKenzie being new to the whole bath experience, he has a lot to learn about bathroom etiquette!
Gypsy on the other hand, was VERY well behaved - just stood there while I did my thing. 

(20th December, 2013)

Christmas Season

However, I found this on FB and it really made me smile.  (Hope it doesn't offend anybody!)
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152014455436273&set=a.76386576272.97514.656871272&type=1&theater

I'm sure we've all felt like this at times.  Perhaps not particularly with regard to Christmas, but for some it's human nature to try and out-do everybody around them. 
Anyway, it tickled my funny bone! 

(7th December, 2013)

Hierarchy Established

Gypsy in her self-proclaimed position of power



(13th December, 2013)



Welcome to the Newbie...

On the 31st October, Gypsy and I welcomed a male into our lives... (not sure who was more surprised at this, Gypsy or me!).

Name: MacKenzie Dhabi
Birthday: 2nd July, 2013

 

He's affectionate.  He's cute.  AND he's a Scottish Fold (hence the name!).
When I took him to the vets for his shots, she couldn't stop laughing at the fact that I've found both of my cats on the streets... not overly surprising in Abu Dhabi, but the fact they're both uncommon breeds (an Egyptian Mau and the Scottish Fold) makes it quite strange (and me the luckiest cat owner on the planet!).
See the 'Feline Friends' page for more photos.

(4th December, 2013)

The America's Cup, is Still America's Cup (kiwis will get it!)

Congratulations to Oracle Team America.
What a GREAT comeback to beat New Zealand 9-8 in the America's Cup.
Congratulations to great kiwi sailor, Oracle chief executive (kiwi) Sir Russell Coutts.


Don't really wanna be consumed by sour grapes, but how can little ole' New Zealand compete against the vast wealth of the other teams. 

Just as well there's lots of places available for kiwi boat builders, sail makers and sailors on the other boats: NZ-designer-No-blank-cheque-from-Larry However... well done Emirates Team New Zealand. You really did do us proud.


Image Reference: http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/americas-cup/9198871/Punter-puts-10k-on-Team-NZ-to-lose


(26th September, 2013)


Near capsize of ETNZ

Here's the (very) dramatic footage from the near capsize of Emirates Team New Zealand  in Race 8: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoOjcDf_dJA&feature=youtu.be


Now I'm not a sailor (been on a couple of catamarans in the Marlborough Sounds, however my role was purely that of  spectator not as a sailor!), but I think the kiwis coped really well with the near disaster.

Must say, I think Team America was a bit mean putting a penalty on the kiwi boat.
Poor sportsmanship?
Or just wanting to win at any cost?

Image Reference: http://news.easybranches.com/2013/09/16/almost-a-game-changer/

(21st September, 2013)

Emirates Team New Zealand

This picture is off the Emirates Team New Zealand  FB page (https://www.facebook.com/EmiratesTeamNewZealand).
While the commentary team on the live footage think that ETNZ (Emirates Team New Zealand) have lost momentum and that Team America are going to win the cup, I still believe in our boys. 
Funny how any errors the NZers make are "BIG MISTAKES" while Team American (can't call them Americans coz there's not enough of them on the boat) make judgement calls that go a bit awry.
The commentary team are also quick to mention (and have done so on numerous occasions) how Team America have won the last 3 races.  But they conveniently forget to mention how that translates to having only 2 points on the board.  I guess being caught for cheating doesn't go with the all-American image they're so desperately trying to promote (which is in itself a laugh considering the mix of nationalities on their boat!).
Oh well, we're just a little country on the bottom of the planet... if they have to blow their own trumpet while trying to take away our mana, good luck to them!

(21st September, 2013)

The Louis Vuitton Cup is OURS...

What a wonderful day for New Zealand sailing... emirates-team-new-zealand

Of course, the Louis Vuitton Cup is only stage one of the competition.  The next stage will be sailing against the America's Cup holders, Oracle.  And of course, that won't be easy. 

Image Reference:

http://americascup.tumblr.com/



(30th August, 2013)

 

The Bledisloe Cup is Ours... (AGAIN)

The second round of The Rugby Championship was televised this weekend.
And the score... New Zealand 27, Australia 16.

So NZ extended their hold on the cup to 11 years (having won it and held it since 2003).

In a nutshell (especially for non-rugby people), the Bledisloe Cup was donated in 1931 by Lord Bledisloe, the Governor-General of NZ at the time.  It was designed in NZ by Nelson Issac but made in London.  And if you didn't already notice... it's the largest cup played for in rugby. 

  • New Zealand has won the Bledisloe Cup 41 times
  • Australia has won it 12 times.
  • The longest time Australia has held the cup is 5 years from 1998 - 2002 (5 titles).
  • The longest time NZ has held the cup is 28 years from 1951-1978 (12 titles).


Image Reference: http://www.3news.co.nz/Plenty-of-hype-around-All-Blacks-V-Wallabies-Bledisloe-Cup-Test-2013/tabid/415/articleID/309295/Default.aspx


(24th August, 2013)


First Rugby Championship Game for 2013

Watching the opening Rugby Championship pre-game broadcast and the following things have been made apparent:

  1. The Aussies haven't won the Bledisloe Cup since 2002 - that's 11 years the All Blacks have had it in the cabinet.
  2. The panel of experts (headed up Englishman Jim Rosenthal, with Englishman Jeremy Guscott, Welshman Scott Gibbs, and Australian George Gregan - wonder why there's no kiwi! Actually since watching rugby on OSN I've NEVER seen a kiwi on the panel!) speaking from Dubai's Media City, are as anti-New Zealand as they were during the World Cup.
  3. The panel like the fact that kiwi Robbie Deans is out and that Australia now has an Australian coach.

So far in the programme, the New Zealand team has been called "a beast", "old", "aging" while Australia are "young", "hungry."  An interesting difference in use of language.  Why? Well, (and I'm trying to be objective here, AND I'm not the only person to have recognised this) the panel always plays down New Zealand.  If Wales, Scotland, English or ANY other rugby nation makes an error - it's discussed factually.  However, if it's NZ that makes a mistake... well, get the claws out!

The panel has just been discussing the new scrummaging rules and the final words before the ad break, "please guys, no cheating."  It's not the first time I've heard the OSN panel call the NZ'ers cheats.  It's not rocket science (or a state secret) to acknowledge the different game played in the northern hemisphere as opposed to the south.  The southern hemisphere teams have always played a faster, tougher game of rugby - and this has often been called 'cheating' in the northern hemisphere.  Now if this was the case (and remember Mother England has said these things looking down her nose at us) why have they modified their game to be more similar to ours? The realisation that this is the way the game is (and should) be played these days? Being tired of losing to southern hemisphere teams? Let's face it, the aerial ping-pong of the northern hemisphere teams is the rugby of the 70s! The fast, running game (i.e. OUR game) is way more entertaining and in these highly commercialised times, bums on seats is what matters (whether those bums are watching from the stadium or at home).


 (17th August, 2013)


What? I'm Getting a Brother?


(10th August, 2013)



Kneading the Dog...

Sorry it's SO dark.  In hindsight I should've turned on the lights!

I find it quite funny that Gypsy has a tendency to knead the (toy) dog.  Often when I come home from work, I find the dog all over the apartment.  Even stuffed under the entertainment unit!  I see this as her attempt to establish (or rather maintain) her position of authority in the house).  Interestingly, the dog's removal off the the sofa ALWAYS occurs AFTER I have made a big thing of patting the toy (and obviously thereby making her jealous).

 

(11th February, 2013)


Hello...

Well... after about 2 months (or if it's not two months, it certainly FEELS like two months) of TRYING to post on my blogs (Zakaia's Zone and Mediated Musings) so I've finally swapped my loyalty!


Although I received 5,896 hits on Mediated Musings (http://mediated-musings.blogspot.co.nz) and 2,629 on Zakaia's Zone (http://zakaias-zone.blogspot.co.nz/), after a lot of perseverance with blogspot (and trying to contact them over, and over, and over, and over...), I decided that if I can't post new information for family and friends... it sort of defeats the purpose of having blogs. 


Why a website now?

Well, I created a website for the Drama Department in my last school (http://eismdrama.webs.com/) and liked how easy it was to use.  So here's website number 2... the second installation of Zakaia's Zone.  


(2nd December, 2013)


Khalifa Gypsy (2013)

All Blacks 22 - Australia 0

Well the Bledisloe Cup is ours again.

 

Israel Dagg celebrates after scoring the only try of the game.

 


That score is amazing... even more so because it is against Australia.   


Reference:  All-Blacks-produce-dominant-display



(25th August, 2012)



Al Barsha Gypsy (2012)

RWC Final

From the opening haka to the end-of-match celebrations...

It's been a LONG time coming...  the moment we have all been waiting for

.



 (11th July, 2012)


England Wearing BLACK?

Not sure what's up with England wearing black at the RWC.  I know imitation is the highest form of flattery, but I do think it's rather disrespectful to the ABs.  Especially considering the RWC is on our turf.  They wore their usual white strip in the game against Georgia tonight, and they actually looked like England.  I much prefer them in the white jerseys.

(11th July, 2012)


RWC Opening Ceremony

Get a load of this...Rugby-World-Cup-Let-the-games-begin
This is a better site: Flash-mob-haka


The opening ceremony made me very proud.  It was spectacular.  I LOVE how anything like that always involves children and ordinary citizens as opposed to bringing out the big names like other countries tend to do.  Well done NZ.



(11th July, 2012)


Al Bateen Gypsy (2010)

Muror Gypsy (2009)

NZ Cats (2004)

 
THE TEN PEOPLE I'D INVITE FOR DINNER:
Jesus, Saladin, Leonardo da Vinci, William Shakespeare, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jnr, Karl Marx, Che Guevara, Marilyn Monro, Oscar Wilde.
Who would you invite?
 
 
 
WHAT I'M PRESENTLY WATCHING:
  • NETFLIX... 
  • The Americans
 
WHAT I'M PRESENTLY READING:
  • Take the Ground by Saleh Karama Al Ameri
  • The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell