Sunday, October 21, 2012

Headsup - Welly-moot next week Sunday 28th! Get ready!

And we have a theme - Trolls!

I will have an announcement to make at the meeting about my favourite project. Feast your eyes on this (mini-) guy...

I will explain all about him at the meeting. In the meantime, here's some reading homework before the meeting.

Also, if you have ordered a T-shirt but haven't paid for it yet, please do so online, or at latest on the day. I'm paying for them out of my own pocket at this stage and this is preventing me from buying cool Hobbit stuff.

And if you HAVEN'T yet ordered a T-shirt, it's a little late but I have ordered a VERY small numbers of spares. Be quick and you may get lucky (but no promises).

Unfortunately, the small number of orders meant I couldn't keep the cost under $20 and the price has gone up to $25. It's still not a lot to pay for a cool shirt, of course!

The meeting will start at the usual time and place - upstairs at the Embassy Cinema at 2:00pm.

See you there!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Welly-moot T-shirts for Nov 28, Hobbit Premiere Day

The Hobbit Premiere is getting closer and closer! This morning, the Wellington City Council made the official announcements for the big day, they can be found here on their website.

The Welly-moot will be there on the day - in what form is still being discussed.

To prepare for the day, we are printing a special Welly-moot T-shirt. The T-shirt is intended for Welly-moot members only - this way I can keep the costs down as I will only pay the shipping once. I do need to know how many shirts I should order though, so please do send me an email with details.

The T-shirt will cost approximately nz$20, and they will look roughly like this:

"Welly-moot, NZ's Tolkien Fellowship; 2012 - The Year Of The Hobbit"
Please order quickly - we would like to have them printed before the next Welly-moot, on October 28th.

Send me an email me with the following details:
  • Your name,
  • Number of shirts
  • Size(s) of shirts; S, M, L, XL, XXL
As soon as I have an accurate idea, I will contact you with my bank details, and I will put the order in. I can't afford to buy shirts with promise-notes, so I will not order T-shirts for which I've not received funds yet.

Today is Monday the 8th; get your orders in by the end of next weekend (so, by Sunday Oct 14th). I will be in touch soon afterwards with more details.

NB - if we can get orders for 25 shirts or more, the costs will go down.

  - Jack

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Welly-moot 1.4, the Middle-earth quiz

Wellington's official Tolkien lovers group met last week Sunday, and it was the day of the Middle-earth Quiz, something we've all been looking forward to!

Before we could begin, we had some business to discuss though.

First point of business was Kris' update on our involvement in the Hobbit Red Carpet Release day. Kris is working hard on getting us a grandstand on the Red Carpet route on November the 28th, and all is going well - we are currently awaiting news from the council about this. So the message is - if you want to have a pretty awesome view on the Grand Day, now is the time to join the Welly-moot!

On a related note, Welly-moot T-Shirts are coming, so watch this space. I'll be working on the final designs for them in the near future, and they'll be available online as soon as possible. The decision was made today that rather than making profit on the shirts, we would sell them at cost, so everybody will have a chance to get one as soon as possible, to wear on the big day. Even if the Grandstand doesn't come off (but it will!), we will still look like a "proper" group!

Kris is also making a big banner/placard to use on the day - the final look and exact wording is yet to be decided but it'll be sure to draw the attention of all the stars as they make their way into the first showing of the first Hobbit movie. :)

Earlier this week, I posted a Call for Volunteers for various Welly-moot projects. We've had a good response from it, and indeed one of the volunteers made it to today's moot, so that was great to see!

The first project - upgrading the "Hobbit Hideaway" paths on Mt Victoria, is well on track - it looks like permission has been given by the Wellington Council for us to volunteer our time, so now we have to decide the practicalities of it all. Welly-mooter Wayne has offered his help since he works as a landscape gardener (when he's not winning Tolkien quiz shows). So I'll be getting more details and we'll have more to report on by next meeting - perhaps even a finished result!

The second project - renaming a New Zealand feature to honour the memory of Professor Tolkien - was also in need of a Champion, or in this case a trio of Champions. Since Martyn has some experience in this (he was involved in the naming of the current Moa Point on Wellington's south coast), he has offered some of his time to look into the matter. I've handed over what I had at this stage, and I will put Martyn in contact with someone else keen on this, who started this whole process - my friend Aaron from Manapouri in the South Island. Aaron has recently renamed various features in the Kepler mountain range for some New Zealand astronomers, so together with Martyn, they should be the right people for this job.

Fiordland Mountains with some unshaven guy

The third project - the Rivendell upgrade - is going forward with great strides. The Greater Wellington Regional Council has been working very hard this week, and Rivendell in the Kaitoke Regional Park has a new path, which should hopefully keep everyone's shoes a bit dryer when it rains.

The Park Rangers have also improved the space around the "Legolas" tree, where Orlando Bloom had one of his most famous publicity photos taken. So many people had used the tree's roots to stand on for their own version of the photo, that the tree had started to signs of distress, and so, a few years ago, the rangers had built a small wooden platform to pose on. This platform however interfered with the "naturalness" of the photos. In the most recent upgrade, the platform has been removed, and a small path has been built to reach around to the same spot, without interfering with the tree's root system, and without being obvious in any photos. I'll post some photos and some examples as soon as I have them.

Also part of this project is a trio of beautiful hand carved wooden "Elvish" informational bollards to guide visitors through the ex-movie set. In the upcoming weeks I will endeavour to get full information and updates about this. Suffice to say that the bollards have already been carved, the locations are set, and we're currently working on the information - in English and Sindarin.

The most exciting project of all though, looks like it's starting to kick off properly as well. We're seriously working towards getting a sculpture in the Rivendell area. Or rather, just outside, to greet Rivendell visitors. More on that later... MUCH more!

Eventually though, the business part of the Welly-moot was at an end, and the Trivia quiz could begin! The source material used was "The LOTR Trivia Game", which deals with questions from the books, and "LOTR Trivial Pursuit", which has questions from the movies.

I had some 50-70 questions ready, but in the end we only had time for about 15-20 or so. Too much time was spent arguing over the finer details or suggesting preposterous answers instead - in other words, having a good time and enjoying ourselves!

", how many members are in the fellowship, no wait... too easy, let me choose another!..."

The final results were large incoherent, although we agreed that Kris answered the most questions correctly, with Martyn in second, and Wayne in third place.

Wayne won third prize

Everyone walked away with prizes though - Kris chose a complete set of five rare original Te Papa Museum collectible LOTR postcards, while Martyn both took home one of the gorgeous New Zealand/Middle-earth maps originally made for NZ Film. The maps were drawn by Daniel Reeve, who of course created pretty much EVERY map for Peter Jackson. Ever. The maps were donated by Wellington Rover Tours (so a big thank you to my boss Scott Courtney!)

Ruben looked very happy with his beautiful Hobbit map, drawn by Daniel Govar, and donated by Middle-earth News Network (thank you very much, Mark Ostley!).

Ruben was second from the bottom! Lucky we had plenty of prizes!

We are looking forward to the next meeting, which may be sooner than you think - September 22nd is of course the birthday of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, so we are working on organising a special party somewhere in the Outer Shire on the day (ie, Mount Victoria). Expect an announcement in the next few days!

  - Jack

Monday, August 20, 2012

Volunteers needed for upcoming "special" projects

We are coming closer to the release of Sir Peter Jackson's first Hobbit movie! The Welly-moot is very excited about this, and especially the announcement that it's now officially a trilogy!

To coincide with the first release on November the 28th, the Welly-moot has a few Tolkien related projects coming up that we could use extra pairs of hands with. If you are keen to have your name permanently added to the annals of history, and aren't afraid of getting stuck in, drop me a line!

Some of the projects are:
  • A Rivendell sculpture - we're working on a gorgeous statue in the middle of one of Upper Hutt's parks, and we need help with some aspects of it, including the fundraising but also (eventually) with the actual sculpting of it. You won't need an artistic bent; we already have an artist in mind, but more on that later. She will happily train anyone willing to lend a hand.
  • We are also in the process of renaming a (currently unnamed) New Zealand geologic feature after Professor Tolkien, and we need a champion to crack the whip behind that. Again, all the difficult work is done (we have the location, and know the contact details of the Geographical Board who can initiate the process), we just need someone to manage to project from our end. This one is mostly just filling out the right forms, crossing the t's and dotting the i's. 
  • Upgrading the paths on Mount Victoria. Does anyone have contacts with the Wellington Council so we can safeguard the trees that the Hobbits hid beneath in the Fellowship Of The Ring (aka, the "Shortcut to Mushrooms")? The current wet season has made a total mess of the path and it could definitely use a bit of work. Also, I'd love to discuss a change of the current mountain bike trail away from the tree roots, and perhaps moved by 20 meters or so. Again, I have all the contact details for most of these people, I just don't seem to find enough time to start this as a project.

There are more projects as well - we could really do with lots of extra hands!

Please email me if you have spare time and would like to make a difference to Tolkien fans around the Wellington region for a LONG time to come!

  - Jack

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Headsup: Wellymoot Trivia Contest, August 26th! Free Entry - All welcome!

So, you think you know your Middle-earth? Keen to be tested?

As previously announced, the next Wellymoot meeting will be held on August the 26th, upstairs at the Embassy Theatre, starting at 2:00pm as usual. Instead of a topic for discussion, this month we will be holding a trivia contest, although I would envisage that the contest will quickly escalate into a heated debate.

I will bring a lot of questions from various sources; The LOTR Trivia Game, which deals with questions from the books; LOTR Trivial Pursuit, which deals with the movies; and my little book "So You Think You Know The Lord Of The Rings?" (by Clive Gifford), which deals with the movies again. I might also sneak a few questions from "The Unofficial Narnia Quizbook" in there, so be warned! If anyone else has trivia material, please bring it, or alternatively, self-made questions are even better!

Trivia: The game box has a cover designed by John Howe!

There will be some prizes, hopefully enough for everyone who takes part. I will donate some LOTR map posters of various descriptions, and if anyone has "spare" LOTR items they no longer want but think they might be suitable as a prize, then PLEASE, bring them in! They will be gladly accepted! And if anyone reading this is unable to come to the meeting, and would like to donate to the cause, please drop me a line, I'll be happy to collect from any Wellington address.

The meeting, as usual, will be free entry, and open to all. The questions will range from very hard to really easy, so everyone will have fun!

Full details here.

See you there!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Welly-moot 1.3 (July 1, 2012)

The third official Welly-moot of 2012 went very well last week. Kris had organised the meeting this time, as I had just returned with Alex from our trip to the Netherlands, and we were still thoroughly jetlagged. The moot-theme was "Weather", the requirement was "Bring your imagination", and Kris kept us on track.

(anti-clockwise from the left) : Wayne, Martyn, Kris, Jack, Todd, Charlene, and Mervi

After a relaxed start, catching up with each other and introducing new member Ruben to the group, we first got updated on the latest Wellywood rumours. Then, Kris got us started on the topic. Luckily we'd had quite a bit of interesting weather lately, so it all seemed quite relevant!

Discussing the weather are Charlene, Todd the Oliphaunt Rider, Jack, and new member Ruben

How do hobbits get through a cold winter? What would they eat? Would they have access to all modern cooking methods, or is it mainly stew, with a brace of conies added every so often?

There seemed to be an awful lot of corn being grown in the Peter Jackson's Shire - was it for hobbit consumption, or was it intended as pig-swill?

One of the conclusions we came to was that Hobbits would spend most winter days in the great halls, singing and dancing, and eating and drinking (and smoking!), so probably not much different to any other day, except indoors. Hobbits live the good life, it seems.

Kris, Martyn, and Wayne the Rohan, all deep in the discussion

Peter Jackson's movies appear to use the weather to convey various moods. It's often raining in the movie when the main characters are losing hope (think: Bree, Helm's Deep), and when hope returns, so does the good weather. Gandalf appears at the breaking of dawn at Helm's Deep - and Strider is revealed to be a good guy just as the rain stops in Bree. I don't believe this is a coincidence, and there are no doubt other examples of that in the movie.

It was a very friendly and happy meeting. A big thanks to Kris for setting the topic (and keeping us to it), and thanks to everyone for attending!

And to those who couldn't make it - the next meeting will be on Sunday August 26! We will have trivia quiz about anything related with Tolkien and his world.  Looking forward to seeing you!

  - Jack & Alex

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Winter's Tale of Tolkien - July 1, 2012

As the northerlies sweep down over the hills and the southerlies chill us to the bone,  cradle a mug and let your mind wander over Middle-earth. Imagine a small group of rangers - or a lone one - out in the snow-covered wilds, tracking orcs or watching over the Shire; sit yourself down in the Hall of Fire at Rivendell and listen to songs and stories; join Thror, King under the Mountain, for a feast such as only the dwarves can prepare;  carouse with the goblins, or lurk with Gollum, in smoking, stinking caves somewhere hidden and dark; celebrate Mid-winter and the return of the light in the halls of Men; enjoy your well-stocked larder, barrels of ale, and a pipe by the fire in your hobbit hole.

How would a winter's day be spent in Tolkien's worlds? We shall spin some tales of our own at our next moot. Bring your imagination and coin for coffee and cake to the cafe upstairs in the Embassy Cinema at the end of Courtney Place, Sunday, July 1, 2:00-4:00-ish.

Sing "Tra-la-la-lally,