The Parachute Diaries: Closing Thoughts

This was my first Parachute as a twenty-something year old and not a teenager. And yes you do notice the age difference.

Having said that it was probably the most enjoyable Parachute that I have been to.

It wasn’t the biggest or best Parachute as far as the band line up goes.

However it was the Parachute that I have got the most into. The one that I have had the most fun at. And the one that I have been myself the most at.From arriving on Friday not knowing where my mates were tenting, through to chilling with newly made friends. From being crushed in moshpits to having full on moments with God at Kutless and The Ember Days.

Will I go again next year? Well I didn’t buy my ticket in advance despite the great price ($99, instead of the $150+). I will wait to see who is playing and see what else I am doing at the time.

But this past weekend has been what I needed. I needed to find myself again and I did. I needed to be myself again and I did. I needed to rest in God and I did.

This past weekend hasn’t made me a better person. But it has reignited my fire for God. I feel physically tired but spritiuality I have just been woken up.

The Parachute Diaries: Saturday Night: All You Need Is Rock

At 4pm I went back to my tent to quickly sort out some food, one of the most important things about surviving parachute is remembering to eat and drink. I saw two people faint in the mosh pits on Saturday night through getting too hot. While I was back at my tent I got a great opportunity to share a bit of my testimony with some other young people who were hanging around, even got into a bit of talking about science and how God can be unseen and in other dimensions, wickedly cool stuff.

At 4.30pm I headed off to the Palladium to see Magnify play. They were good playing a mix of old and new material, it was a bit strange not see a mosh pit for them though, I was probably one of the few people jumping to them.

Rapture Ruckus was the next band on my to see list. And for the second time this weekend he went off. I had to laugh when two girls in front of me left halfway through his set complaining that they had seen him perform last night and it was the same music (well duh! That is why you go and see band multiple times). I deliberately stayed out of the moshpit so I could save my energy for Kutless later on in the night.

And on that note can I just say that One Square Meal bars are awesome. I was scared of taking them because I thought they may upset my stomach but instead they did the opposite. The bar even explains on the outside of the wrapper how it contains probiotics to help your stomach out.

After Rapture Ruckus I went back to my tent again to sort out some rice for dinner and then rocked off to the mainstage for the night at 8.20pm. Before I could even make it to the mainstage I bumped into a friend from high school who started debating Theology with me and how his Baptist Church Youth Group didn’t like Family Force Five (who happened to be the band performing next on the mainstage) because of something insignificant that they had said at the previously nights performance (probably something about dancing and rocking for God or something).  My response was simple and blunt “look if you don’t like the band you don’t have to see the band” and with that my mate left, haha, sorry but I want to see the band not have a theology argument about the band.

Family Force Five performed a good show on the Mainstage but it was nowhere near as brilliant as the night before. They had certainly toned it down a little bit in both costume and performance. Like Rapture Ruckus I stayed a little bit back in moshpit throughout their set, and I’m glad that I did because the Circle Pits were many and massive.

Family Force Five on the mainstage, Photo Parachute Music
Family Force Five on the mainstage, Photo Parachute Music

Once Family Force Five finished I quickly moved my way through the moshpit towards the front for Kutless. In the end I worked my way up to around the 5th row.

Kutless played a really good set mixing both old and new songs and did well working with a crowd where few people seemed to know their songs. The moshpit for Kutless was intense. The push forward at the start of the set was very painful as circle pits formed behind me. By the end of the set I had moved to the left by about 10 meters just through jumping.

After Kutless had played it was time for the local Kiwi hero Dave Dobbyn to play out of the night. Dave played one of the longest sets I have seen at Parachute over 1 hour 20 minutes all up playing right up to 11.58pm when all music has to be shut off at midnight.

Dave Dobbyn connected well with the crowd playing a mix of old and new items. Th’ Dudes hit Be Mine Tonight went down really well and then Dave amped up the crowd with the final four songs: Language, Loyal, Welcome Home, before closing out the night with Slice Of Heaven, where he left the stage as 20,000+ people screamed ba ba ba ba da da, ba ba ba ba da da.

After this I headed back to my tent chatted with mates until 1am and then went to bed.

Thoughts on the new Toll Road

Okay the Northern Gateway Tollroad opened yesterday and until midnight tonight it is free to drive on. I found this out when I got back from Parachute so went for a quick spin this evening.

These are my thoughts:

  • For a $2 toll it would be worth traveling on as it cuts out a lot of hills, time and distance. It probably pays for itself through the amount of petrol that it saves.
  • However the toll road itself is not hill free, it may be smooth but some of those are hills are still steep.
  • They have had to move an insane amount of dirt to build the road, and I don’t know much about protecting the environment all I saw was bare cliffs, it needs some major landscaping and regrowth.
  • Tunnels are a little bit over hyped, they are short, and nowhere near as cool as the Terrace Tunnel in Wellington.
  • I was laughing at the turn around point at the end of the tunnels for rubber neckers like me who just went on it just to check it out.
  • I object to it being labeled State Highway One. The State Highway network should be free to drive on, by having it tolled it is effectively a private road, and therefore should not be officially considered a part of the State Highway network. But that is a minor rant.
  • Overall, a nice road, and good time saver, but very over rated.

Two new live albums

I got both Skillet’s Comatose Comes Alive and Rapture Ruckus’s Live at World’s End Live CD/DVDs yesterday.

What a contrast between the two albums.

Skillet’s album is fantastic. I mean more then fantastic. The DVD of the film is just amazing, lots of postproduction effects and a really good selection of songs accross their past few albums, and a one hour 20 minute show.

Rapture on the other hand is a 40 minute, 10 song show which is interrupted every second song by Parachute Music putting in a mini promo or message about something, I didn’t buy a live DVD to get advertising breaks. However the show itself is awesome.

Both albums also come with an audio cd version of the respective concerts which is good for the MP3 Player.

Google Street View NZ

I can see my car!

And so much for invasion of privacy. If you are walking down the road and are in a compromising position, why didn’t you think before you got into the situation. Google Street View isn’t making get caught a new thing, just a new way for it to happen.

Left or Right. There is no centre.

This is a summary graph of the political polls over the past three years. Look at the recent end. National is dropping. But so is Labour. Who is rising? The Greens and Act. What does that mean?

a) The minor parties matter!

b) A vote for Act or National will result in a right wing government. A vote for the Greens or Labour will be a left wing Government.

The choice is yours! This election is not all over. It is not a done and dusted result. It is wide open and your vote matters.

Rock the Vote. November 8 2008.

Day Eight: Ruapehu Take Two

Because of some changes in plans I got to go skiing for a second time!

Don’t be fooled by the nice photos below the day started in much worse weather.

I left Wanganui at 6.30am to drive to Ruapehu and I arrived just before 8.30am. The weather was average to terrible driving up to the mountain. Snow in lots of places (not as bad as a week ago though) and lots of rain.

When I got to the base of mountain the upper mountain lift facilities were on hold. Because of this I decided to wait at the bottom of the mountain for an update on their opening status. This wait lasted almost a whole hour before I decided to head up the road at 9.20am.

In my hour of agony and dilemma I came very close to heading around to Turoa as it had more facilities open then Wakapapa. I was lucky that I didn’t though because it was only open for two hours before the weather packed in and closed the ski field.

Anyway back to the story. Like last week the road up to the ski field was closed unless you hired chains for your car. Chain hire costs $25 and there was quite a queue of cars waiting for chains to be fitted. I paid for my chains at 9.20am and then waited until 9.40am for them to be fitted. At 9.30am while I was waiting, and after I had paid, they decided to open the road up until Day Park 10. But no because I had already paid for chains I still had to get them fitted and go up the now open road on them.

This was a minor pain in itself but never mind chains are very helpful on mountain roads and because I was on chains I would be able to go to one of the higher and closer car parks when I got up the mountain. Sweet! However, when I got up the mountain I was directed to park at Day Park 10 despite having chains and arguing with the parking attendant. (I was told later he was wrong and I was right.) I was not happy about this for two reasons. The first is that I was made to hire chains that I did not need, and secondly I was forced to park low down on the mountain just because I was 2WD and the parking attendant was blind to the fact I had chains on!

Anyway. I couldn’t be bothered waiting for a bus so I walked the kilometer or so up the road to the Top of the Bruce. Here I hired gear and passes. The upper mountain was still on hold so they were only selling lower mountain passes. GRRRR I thought. By this time the weather had cleared a lot. After getting my gear sorted I headed out to head up to the top of the lower mountain. Well I ended up in a queue for this chairlift for close to 45mins! By this time it was approaching 11am! Yes I had been on the mountain for over two and a half hours and I hadn’t even got to go skiing yet.

When I finally got onto the chairlift they decided to open the Upper Mountain. When I had purchased the lift passes they had told everyone if the upper mountain opened everyone would have to go back and pay more. However, everyone on the mountain, including myself just headed for the upper mountain lifts without the extra passes. We had had enough waiting! There were at least 100 of us wanting to go higher up the mountain and it was not our fault they hadn’t sold us the right passes so thankfully the ski field operators saw the sense in letting us go higher!

After all this the weather cleared and the skiing was great. I skiied for just under five hours and now two days later I am still paying the pain for it. Sore legs, knees, bruised side and motion sickness is still mucking about with my sleep. But it was great. And fully worth it. Except for the chains!

Check out the reflection in the goggles. Nothing but snow and sky!

Note to self: When taking photos remember to smile!

To go off the edge or not. That is thy question.

Snow. Snow and more Snow!

Defend the Defenseless

Psalm 82:3-4a

“… You’re here to defend the defenseless, to make sure that underdogs get a fair break;
Your job is to stand up for the powerless, …”

(The Message)

Massey University dumps on International Students


Massey University dumps on International Students

From 2009 all new International Students studying at Massey University will face an immediate 6 – 7% average increase in tuition fees and ongoing annual tuition fees increases due to a removal in fee Grand-parenting for International students.

Fee Grand-parenting of tuition fees for International Students ensures that students do not face tuition fee increases throughout their course. Massey University introduced fee Grand-parenting in 2005 to give International Students stability in their finances while they study.

“The decision by the Massey University Council last Friday to remove these protections for students’ financial wellbeing will severely hurt international students” says Albany Students’ Association (ASA) President, Brad Heap. “This decision was made entirely behind closed doors; students had no knowledge of this move and the University did not consult with a single student on the changes.”

“Massey University has decided to put profits before pastoral care of students and I find this disgraceful. You would expect the University to have a social conscience and protect their students not dump fee increases on them without consulting them,”said Heap.

MUSAF is committed to ensuring that the University treats all students as individuals and does not treat its International Students as ‘cash-cows’. MUSAF will continue to work with students across Massey University’s three campuses to ensure that the University actively consults with students and in the meantime urges Massey University Council to reverse its decision.


Bali Nine Executions: Inhuman, Unjust, and just plain sick

This is how Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran will be executed.

Chan and Sukumaran will be taken from their cells with the minimum of warning, driven to a deserted beach or jungle clearing and shot without ceremony by a firing squad.

No one will be told in advance of the date or time of their executions.

Australian reporters have been told that the deaths of Chan and Sukumaran will be carried out by a squad of 10 men drawn from a paramilitary police unit called the Mobile Brigade.

Under strict secrecy demanded by Indonesian law, they will be told several days in advance and allowed to see close family or friends, or to make final telephone calls.

But the times and places of their execution will not be disclosed.

Decoy convoys could be used to fool relatives or the media staking out the prison on the day of execution.

Bagus Wahyono, who selects the execution squads after watching them shooting dolls, told the Sydney Morning Herald only two rifles, selected at random, will have live rounds.

The others will fire blanks to ease individual consciences.

The only other witnesses will be a religious representative, a doctor and one of the trial prosecutors.

The newspaper said Chan and Sukumaran will be dressed in white aprons with a red cross marking their hearts, and would be handcuffed to a post, tree or chair.

A hood will be drawn over the heads, and the order to fire given.

A final shot to the heart or temple may be required.

This is not an execution, it is murder. It is murder for fun. It is murder for the sake of having some target practice. It is murder, it is premeditated. It is murder because NO ONE deserves to be killed in this way. It is just sick and the international community needs to make a stand against it. Unfortunately the international community seems to have lost its legs in the past few years.