Happy Birthday To Me

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Congratulations to me, I survived another year and still hanging on in there. Do you ever get to your birthday and look back over all that has come and gone in the time that has passed and begin to wonder what will come and go in the same amount of time ahead ? I’m pretty sure I’ve passed halfway so I doubt I’ll have that luxury ( if I’m still here in 2060 then I’ll make sure to come back and update this ), but hopefully my kids will.

I can tick off the world’s highlights from my time kicking around – man on the moon, the fall of Saigon, Madonna being labelled a one hit wonder for Like A Virgin,  colour Television, Microwaves, DVD players, Star Wars, the world teetering on the edge of WWIII in the early eighties, the Space Shuttles, the death of John Lennon, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Tiananmen Square, Desert Storm Part 1, 911, Desert Storm Part 2, and Curiosity landing on Mars.

Then there are many that most people outside of New Zealand probably won’t be familiar with – the Springbok tour, the Rainbow Warrior, the first McDonalds in New Zealand opening, Bastion Point, TV getting a second channel, Peter Jackson when he was still making movies like Bad Taste and Meet The Feebles, Rugby World Cup 2008 defeat, Rugby World Cup 2012 victory ( though they both pale compared to Auckland losing the Log of Wood to Waikato in ’93 ), Pike River, Aramoana, and Erebus to name but a few.

Technology has made blinding progress. In fact when you think about it model kits by comparison haven’t really advanced at all. They got more detailed with more parts, but we still essentially make them the way we did when the first Tamiya Panther rolled off the line. I wonder how long that will last. How long till 3D printing means it will be easy to make any kit of any subject as long as there’s a master or a set of CAD plans.

I’ve always been a sucker for those “The World Tomorrow” programmes, but none of them ever get it right. I doubt we ever will have flying cars. Not because the technology won’t be found but because do you really want to put some of the people who are out there on the roads into something that adds a third dimension on top of no physical roads of any kind to guide them ? But other technology ? Do I really want to know ? I already feel like my kids are a part of a totally different world to the one that I inhabit.

I would like to know where modelling will be in 50 years time but I suspect it won’t be really all that different than what we have now with the exception that there will be much more of everything. It does make you wonder though if on some forum in 2050 there will be someone telling some young person that the old 2012 DML kits “are nowhere near as good as today’s kits but they still build up okay”. Because you just know there’s going to be people who still have a few unbuilt ones floating around in their stash.

But right now I’m going to enjoy the moment because the older I get the more I seem to appreciate every year that I get. And I did just remember that if I want to get all the kits in my stash built at my current rate I will still need to be here in 2060.

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Today Is ANZAC Day – Time To Remember Our Fallen And Those In Harm’s Way

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For those not familiar with it ANZAC is Australia New Zealand Army Corp and ANZAC day is our version of Veterans Day or any of the other special days that countries have to remember their fallen. Here the day has long been linked with our servicemen in WWI and in particular Gallipoli, though of late I’ve felt that it was time we tried a new day with a new name. It’s not that I wish to forget the memory of those men, it’s that sometimes I feel like so much focus is given to Gallipoli in the media on, and leading up to, ANZAC day that it seems that we want to remember them at the risk of forgetting the others.

I think it’s time that a day of remembrance came to mean remembering all who have fallen in wars, regardless of their uniform, because if we stop and think of all the young lives lost, all the sons, brothers, and fathers ( and on occasion daughters, sisters, and mothers ) that never had the chance to live a long and happy life then just maybe we won’t be so hasty in sending off the next lot and we won’t have to leave space on the various memorials to add more names in future wars.

Today as WWI passes from living memory our young people don’t have the same understanding of ANZAC day as my generation and those before me. To them it is an old man’s war, a historical event that exists in a few pages of a book in history class. Previously this would have made me go off on my usual “young people” rant, but today I’ve been thinking that maybe it’s we that have to move with the times. Maybe it’s time to let “our” wars pass from the spotlight so that the youth of today can connect with young men still dying in a quiet and distant war.

We’ll always remember them, and our fallen, in the same way as we always have, but eventually just as those who knew the war are passing from living memory, so too will those who knew someone who knew it also pass. Eventually it will be a war that exists only in books, much as something like the Napoleonic wars do to us today.

That said on the day ( I’m writing this a few days beforehand ) I’ll be at the memorial ( that’s it at the top ) for the dawn service to remember my Great Grandfather, Gunner Walter George of the Royal New Zealand Artillery and my Grandfather, William Graham of the U.S. Navy. Both came home but both did something that we should never ask our young men to do again, they went of their own free will to fight in a war they knew little of.

It is also my wish that all our boys in Afghanistan come home safely, we’ve already lost too many there.

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