Thursday, June 30, 2005

Wellington Film Fest: What I Recommend

God! Where to start? EVERYTHING looks like a must see. Kudos to Mr Gosden & his team this year.

Disclaimer: My opinion is not infallible, I booked myself to see a promisingly enthralling documentary a few years ago called Hybrid... and it was literally watching corn grow... interspersed with the most boring home movie commentary... I'll try to shield you from its ilk...

Then again, I have seen some wonderful films that did not sound at all promising in the programme.

So... in no particular order... liberally quoting without acknowledgment from the programme... what I'd see if I had unlimited time & money. I give you my 100% guarantee that you will like these movies... or I will call you a dumbass.

Hidden: Big French comedy crowd pleaser. Because it's French, it's "Art" right? This will be good. ALso, it has two of the most ubiquitous, and charismatic French stars, Daniel Auteuil & Juliette Binoche.

Howl's Moving Castle: Japanese Anime maestro Miyazaki Hayao takes on Dianne Wynne Jones children's novel. Will be eye poppingly family friendly.

Rize: For fans of (and anyone curious about) Krumping... a hip-hop dance subculture.

The Child: Young man considers selling his baby on the black market. Expect harrowing thrills, heart-break & heart-warming (guessing here), and superb acting.

The Lost World: Pre-King Kong stop motion dinosaur effects based on the Arthur Conan Doyle novel. Only fragments of this have existed since shortly after it was first released (long story). But this restored version is nearly intact, as it first screened. With a live music original score from pianist Jan Preston & saxophonist Peter Boyd.

Not the cat in the HatThe 5000 Fingers of Dr T: I've actually seen this... freaky-assed movie about a boy who hates his piano teacher. Screenplay by Dr Seuss. Pretty much what you'd imagine & more. Um... if ever there were a movie to legalise cannabis for....

Bombon - El Perro: Heartwarming story about a curmudgeon & his dog.

Little Sky: Heartwarming & heart-breaking story about a guy... and someone else's toddler (not in a dodgy sense, if you get my drift).

Rolling Family: Heartwa... OK, I'll stop saying that. Extended family & their campervan.

The World: Beijing global-theme park & the denizens who inhabit it. ...go-getters, gangsters, social climbers and sleazeballs. But hey, that's show-business.

36,quai des Orfevres: Daniel Auteuil & Gerard Depardieu (what sort of film festival would it be without these two?) as veteran cops vying for the same promotion.

The Ax: Black comedy about an unemployed corporate type who sees a niche in eliminating (literally) his competition.

A Common Thread: Chick flick involving hand-weaving & embroidery. Expect it to be heartwa... and visually sumptuous.

The Intruder: Claire Denis latest. French Art-house at it's finest. Expect to be perplexed about what's going on (yes, this IS a recommendation!)

Kings & Queen: French... tragicomedy, couldn't make much sense of the programme notes in the quick scan I performed, but has Catherine Deneuve. So it must be good.

Look at Me: Contemporary French cinema at its best. Who am I to argue? Young opera singer tries toescape the shadow of her superstar novelist father. Probably very, very amusing.

Phwoar!2046: Two of my favourite beautiful people, Tony Leung & Maggie Cheung (yes, they have both made movies with other people) in Wong Kar Wai's latest (If I read this correctly, this is the sequel to his In the Mood for Love which also featured these two). Also has hotties Zhang Ziyi, Gong Li, Carina Lau. Lucky Tony... HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

Election: Mega-violent triad movie by the looks.

Hari Om: Light & lively Indian road movie. Looks great.

Tony Takitani: Adaptation of Haruki Murakami's short story. Apparently "stylised" isn't a strong enough word...

3-Iron: I've read about this... from the director of the beautiful Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring. A drifter breaks into houses, makes himself at home, and then repairs the appliances & generally makes things better than they were when he entered. Then he comes across an unhappy wife in one of them...

Life is a Miracle: A circus, a love-sick donkey, and a home made bear. Sounds like a John Irving novel. But it's actually mad-cap sounding antics in war torn Bosnia. Really.

The Sea Inside: This year's Best Foreign Film Oscar winner. The true story of a Spanish quadraplegic who fought the Spanish government for the right to end his life. Not nearly as gruelling as it sounds...

The Wayward Cloud: At last! The Art-house sleaze! The story of a Taipei porn star which doesn't sound very titillating.

9 Songs: More Art-house sleaze! Michael Winterbottom's controversial feature about a love affair. Controversial for the hardcore sex... but apparently it's tender, heart-warming & all in the best possible taste.

The Queen of Sheba's Pearls: UK/Swedish sweet, comic hymn to post WWII Englishness. A beautiful, mysterious foreigner (swedish) enters the lives of an English family & she's the dead ringer of their dead mother.

Yes: Sally Potter's latest. Has Joan Allen in it as a molecular scientist so it must be good.

Palindromes: More Todd Solondz weirdness about the terminally uncool in American suburbia.

Undertow: Contemporary Southern Gothic movie thriller. I can't resist them.

4: Right from the programme here "The feral and the heavy metallic vie for dominance in this extraordinary assault on the senses, the year's most transfixingly baffling movie - which among other things, purports to reveal the meaninglessness of the number 4..." No need to read any more, I'm IN! Although I quite like "a howling orgy of decrepitude and decay" also.

Phew... I'll have to start skipping a few I think...

Homegrown - Works on Film & Homegrown - Works on Video: I mean... you HAVE to don't you? Besides, these are always fascinating & entertaining.

Kekexili - Mountain Patrol: Superbly photographed ecological manhunt movie.

Look Both Ways: Very funny sounding Ocker comedy about an eternal pessimist.

Me and You and Everyone We Know: I've read (good things) about this one too - true indie feature about relationships.

My Summer of Love: And this one too. UK comedy drama about infatuation. Sports great performances from its young cast, apparently.

Whisky: The first Uruguayan sock factory movie you have probably ever seen.

Fiction Artists: One of those clever & hilarious compilations of clips from old movies, this time showing Hollywood's depiction of the tortured artist.

Banana in a Nutshell: I only heard the term "Banana" recently. And now here's a film about one.

Double dare: A documentary about Xena's stunt double, Zoe Bell. and veteran stuntwoman, Jeannie Epper.

Enron - The Smartest Guys In The Room: Yeah right.

Sedition: The suppression of dissent in NZ. Could be an eye opener.

Didn't you kill my brother?The Man from Laramie: I've seen this too. In fact, my dad loved it dearly. The greatest movie star ever, James Stewart, searches for the man who killed his borther in this lush wetsrn directed by Anthony Mann. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

East of Eden & Rebel Without a Cause: Ever wondered if James Dean could live up to the post-death hype? Wonder no more... check out the lesser known Nick Ray films too, they're all going to be great.

Kung Fu Hustle: "Like a gonzo fusion of Tarantino & Tex Avery" (Looney Toon maestro). Ultraviolence. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

High Tension: As the title suggests. A white knuckle ride about a girl & her chainsaw. "One film you won't want to take home to meet mum".

Inside Deep Throat: Documentary sleaze, so that's alright then!.

Overnight: Documentary morality tale about a blowhard who blew his big chance in Hollywood. You won't feel sorry for him.

And that's it! There are many more that I missed that you might quite probably like (in fact, enthusiastic word of mouth always follows several films I decide not to bother with), so do check out the programme, and/or the website.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Heat on Maori TV

STUFF : ENTERTAINMENT - STORY : National Party puts heat on Maori TV:

It's a bird! It's Gerry Brownlee...! No, it's SUPERTED!"'We have serious questions about why Te Mangai Paho (New Zealand On Air) money should be invested in programming that reaches such a small audience.' " - Gerry Brownlee.

Um... because that's what New Zealand on Air is for? Way to go Gerry!

I think Maori TV is great - while I'm not an avid viewer, I'd say I watch it as much as any bar the Sky movie channels I subscribe to.

They've yet to have a major international hit along the lines of say, Welsh Tv's SuperTed... and lets leave that analogy where it lies.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

More fun with Google Maps

Google Maps - Wales

So here's where I spent the first few years of my life. I suspect not much has changed...Risca Town

It's hard to make out, but I think I see the Ebbw River winding South of the town. For one year, we lived on its banks. Local legend had it that the Ebbw was the 5th most polluted river in all of Europe. Whether that's true or not, it DID change colour many times in the normal course of a day, anything from black, through the spectrum to scarlet.

Last time I was there, around 10 years ago, it was clean, and I saw anglers fishing for trout.

Monday, June 27, 2005

SunnyO from space

How cool is this?Smile!

Can't quite make out sheep or even our section, but I can see our street, the Otaki River is pretty much centre, and we're pretty much in the top right hand corner of the photo.

Google Maps

Neither can they drive...

A colleague just reported seeing a campervan full of Lions' supporters wham into a trailer carrying a load of kayaks... minimal damage.

OK, I know there was a more tragic accident over the weekend, so scorn has been kept to a minimum out of respect.

But it was 20 years ago today (thereabouts) - Hey! That might make a neat intro to a song! - that I hired a 2.5 tonne truck to help my mum shift house.

All went well until it was time to return the truck. Following the "return vehicles here" signs & arrows, I coolly cruised up outside of the rental office, completely failing to notice that the awning outside their entrance was lower than the cargo bit of the truck. With a huge clang, my suave progress was arrested & the entire cabin of the truck lifted up in the air... then klunked back down.

Fortunately, no damage either to the truck or the awning. Just a smidgeon of humilation for the driver.

Time to shape up!

Get the weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels down. Get more exercise, eat less, and better, and (dejected, hushed whisper) drink less...

And all this in the next 2 or 3 days, because once I have read this week's Listener article on the parlous state of men's health, I know I will be at death's door...

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Friday, June 24, 2005

So... very quickly then...

The weekend predictions.

M's netball team will whip their opponents tomorrow (although, seeing as this was meningococcal vaccination week, and half the school's been off sick as a consequence, and the ones who did turn up have lost the use of their left arms, the margin may rely on the opponents' team having had their shots this week too...).

But anyway, this team sports particularly venal parents (and you thought I was bad), who apparently only lose because of poor time keeping, poor umpiring, poor etc... it'd be very satisying to CRUSH THEM!

In a sporting sort of way, of course.

Then we're of up to SunnyO, along with some guests this week, one of the girl's from M's team who is in the year 7 rep team, and another family, old friends of T's who have a daughter in M's team. And with any luck, that family's 7 month old labrador puppy, to keep Wilma amused.

We will feast, imbibe, and watch Graeme & Tana's men CRUSH THE ENGLISH!!

In a sporting sort of way, of course.

Then, while all else go to cosmopolitan Levin for the tournament, I will stay, keep the dogs amused, hang my gate, and possibly, just possibly, pen & crutch the sheep.

And that should occupy me nicely for the duration.

Have a good one all!

Lookin' good...

looking good...I splashed out today... I caved to spousal pressure & bought some new reading glasses...

Since my eyes were plasticised, I think I may have mentioned somewhere here that I no longer require glasses for driving, or walking around. However, anything within about 2 metres of me is decidedly fuzzy (I'm told this is because my plastic eyes do not adjust & focus like regular protein eyes do. But then again, it was an unqualified colleague who told me that, so it could be bullshit).

But my opthalmologist told me that now both eyes are pretty much identical I am quite free to indulge in those cheap reading glasses that for so long I thought were utter crap & probably detrimental to your eyesight...

So I went to the $2 shop & bought 5 pairs... one pair to keep at work, one pair for home, one pair for SunnyO, one pair to keep in my bag, and one pair spare...

And since then I have endured endless whinging that these are not "facial furniture", not "Look-at-me glasses" (important apparently), and not "to be seen in public with me".

However, loathe to go spend hundreds of dollars at the opticians, I have resisted.

Until today.

They have yet to be given the wifely seal of approval, but to prove I am no cheapskate, I went & bought 2 pairs, on special at Farmers, for $11.95 a pair, or $19.95 for two.

Such extravagance.

Reminds me of one of my favourite TV quotes.

STUFF : ENTERTAINMENT - STORY : "Corgan to reform Smashing Pumpkins"

Homer meets the Smashing Pumpkins:

Corgan: "Bill Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins."
Homer: "Homer Simpson, smiling politely."

Take Your Medicine.

What the Doctor ordered."Dr Pico will see you now", said the nurse to the waiting man.

She was pleased to get rid of him. He always came in a good hour too early for his appointment & sat there with a creepy grin, his eyes fixed upon her breasts. Now and then he would lick his lips. Not her type at all. She had better things & people to do.

The Preacherman picked up his bible and entered the doctor's office. Dr Pico motioned him to lie back on the couch.

"Preacherman" said the doctor, "How have you been?"
"Oh, you know" said the man "I have my ups & downs."

"Still preaching the lord's word?"
"Avidly. Devotedly"

"How is Wellington these days? I haven't been home for a while."
"Lambton Quay was rocking when I left, I've been in Bali for a wee while. On some business."

"The lord's business?"
"Everything is the lord's business."

"How about the flashbacks? Still troubling you?"
"Now and then... I wake up thinking I'm up to my ears in mud, under fire.. although I quite enjoy them... good memories.. the drugs, the girls... the ordinance, the GUNS!"

"Calm down, calm down..." Dr Pico was pensive for a moment... "well.... you seem to be doing OK for now... no worse anyway... so let's talk about medication for a moment."

"Ah!" The preacher brightened noticably, and opening his bible, produced a snaplock bag containing a large number of brightly coloured pills, from the hollow cavity within... "I think these are what you're after Dr Pico."

After the preacher had gone, Pico sat there for a while, thoughtfully playing with the bag. Finally, he pocketed the pills, reached over to the intercom, pressed the button and instructed his nurse, "Chantal, cancel the rest of my appointments for the day & join me in the hot tub. The lord has been good to us today..."

Classic movie alert!

Scored Chinatown from Sounds CD store yesterday for $20. Watched loads of it last night while the girls were at Tennis Club. It's still got it...

Chinatown (1974)

M, who is a minor fan of the chick flick Something's Gotta Give, was fascinated (mildly) to see what a young Jack Nicholson looked like (she picked his voice though).

And BONUS! T has never seen it! So I will get the chance to dust it off again soon & watch it all the way through.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

llew Online - Links, Information, Shop, Sklep,


llew Online - Links, Information, Shop, Sklep,


Llew details pages Llew

Not quite sure what this is... but I make an appearance...

Llew details pages Llew: "SunnyO"

heh heh... "Lion!"

Can Blumsky dance?

Sweet Jesus, I can't stop myself now...

Best thing a beleaguered political party (there are a couple to choose from) could do now is get Norm on their list, or into a candidacy for a marginal electorate.

And furthermore!

(Hey, I need to bump an earlier post way down the list before my mum logs on & reads it...)

But I predict that Face to Face with Kim Hill got record audience figures last night (Chromium, please feel free to confirm or deny this), because the average viewer, watching agog at Kate's ensemble (and possibly thinking "Where can I get an outfit like that? - honestly, if she'd had a cap, she'd've been a dead ringer for the guy from AC/DC), saw the promo & thought "Norm!"

How much?

Since I won't comment on politics, consider this a comment on voters...

I've been reading a couple of blogs with differing ideas on the question of tax cuts. Since I passed up my chance to have my say on national TV, I may as well have it here.

How much?

I reckon the average voter... no wait, that's too small a subset... the average citizen of a legal age to vote then, doesn't care how, or if a government will or can pay for tax cuts. I have too low an opinion of the population at large. You wait, the two left at the end of How Normal Are You? next week (and who the hell is dressing Kate Hawkesby by the way? Is this how women look in Auckland these days?) will be morons. The sort of argument that's raging in certain circles will be entirely lost on them.

So a quick unscientific poll to see if I'm right:

A political party announces unspecified tax cuts if elected, and that they will be paid for by mincing new born babies & selling them as pet food.

The average punter asks: How much?


What sunscreen?

Che has a point here... read it for yourself & figure it out though.

Public Address | Club Politique - The Sunscreen Rant

But one example he forgot to mention about banning immigrants, is the danger we'll go back to the barbarian days of white folk owning & running corner dairies in our towns & suburbs.

This must not be allowed to happen.

Reminds me of several years ago, when a very old friend of mine (who had "scored" big time) & I took a day off work, assembled at his place, smoked a truckload of... stuff... and took another truckload of a well known hallucinogenic.

Then we treated ourselves to a day long buffet of deli food we'd both brought for the momentous occassion & watched video tapes of UK's Channel 4 programming that someone had sent him.

At some stage in the day, two middle aged, completely wasted reprobates went for a walk around the neighbourhood. We stood in a public park in Khandallah & gazed over a fogged in Wellington Harbour above which the top of Soames Island poked up uncannily (mind you, a lot of things looked uncanny that day).

Then we agreed that what we needed was MARS bars. So we trooped off up the hill, admiring the local architecture, until we came to the local dairy.

Which most uncannily of all was run by a white, elderly couple. And people, I am not exaggerating when I say that this particular dairy was pretty much devoid of goods. The shelves were empty. The choice was limited. We settled for Moro bars & griped all the way home, then spent the rest of the day finishing off his stash.

And in case anyone is wondering, those famous hallucinogenics are not what they are cracked up to be. At no stage did I think I was Superman, nor even that I could fly, I did not see paisley everywhere (aside from my mate's dubious shirt), and pretty much the only thing that happened was that I was unable to sleep for 3 days. However, the ceiling in my darkened bedroom did manage to hold my attention for long periods...

BTW: This was a long time ago, nobody can prove it happened & anyway, I make all this stuff up.

Also.. am I missing something or was sunscreen not even mentioned in Che's post?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Free stuff

Mention of a camera phone reminds me...

If any corporate out there wants to send me free stuff, I'll be happy to enthusiastically endorse it!

What an offer eh? Just call me Free Stuff ho'

Seeking technical advice again...

I've decided what I really need is one of those cellphones with a built in camera.

Doesn't have to be flash (or even have a flash), in fact the cheaper the better! Just needs to be able to text & make calls, and take photos. And be able to email those photos...

A zoom function would be nice though.

Any suggestions?

Batman Begins, the Sequel Prequel

A nice (short) review of BB here.


And a possibly prescient(ological) prediction for the next one: Batman saves Katie from The Scientologist.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


His flatmates called him Pico, because they were Dukes of Hazzard fans, and his real name was Ross. Get it? Heh... one flatmate thought Roscoe P Cotrane was actually Roscoe Pico Train.

So anyway... Pico... I met him when I was in my first job - buying & importing mining machinery. Pico was a psychology student from Otago, working in the summer break. He was specialising in alcohol & drug abuse... quite enthusiastically.

He was a colourful character, resembling no-one so much as the young Dave Dobbyn. He had a host of cool friends, and dozens of ex & unrequited loves. We hit it off & many were the mornings we were still completely trashed from the night before. Ah... youth.

Our manager was an eccentric fellow, and recognising an intellectual when he saw one, he gave Pico, the student temp, the job of formulating a major review of the procuring office. In entirely predictable fashion, Pico began his report on the morning of his last day with us, and had not quite finished it by the time lunchtime & his farewell celebration came around. Shortly before 5pm Pico staggered back into the office, added "I am drunk, and I am leaving..." in a sloping scrawl at the bottom of the page.

Delighted, the following monday, our manager submitted the unchanged report to the typing pool, who dutifully typed it out, and coming to the last line, skewed the page by 45 degrees & typed Pico's parting message verbatim.

Pico's family were also quite colourful. His parents had separated some years before & so he seemed able to play each of them against each other in order to extract cash to continue his research into his specialist subject. His mother was a hugely amusing & dry scot. I never met his father. I didn't meet his sister for a few years, she was in Australia for a while. I did see her photograph in a magazine though, which Pico showed me, she had surprised the family (I'm not sure what they thought her line of work was) by appearing as the headline act in an article about female mud wrestling in King's Cross, in a major Australian magazine. When I finally did meet her, I had to admit, she was not the type you'd have picked for that line of work (aside from being buxom & blonde).

Pico returned to our office for the three or four years he was studying in Otago. In the interim, news of his illustrious progress did filter back from the deep South.

Pico was actually Otago's top psychology student in his final year. His success & notoriety had worked wonders for his romantic life. The night before his capping parade & ball, he'd managed to get a woman he had lusted after for years to come to dinner with him, and promise to accompany him to the capping ball.

They chose a well known chinese restaurant, drank far too much, and decided to do a traditional dine & dash. So far, so good.

The next day, as the capping parade marched past the cheering throngs, an elderly Chinese woman, accompanied by two police officers, stepped out beside the marching students, pointed at Pico, and said "That's him!". Pico was extracted from the parade & arrested in front of his proud parents.

He was out though, in time for the capping ball that night, which he attended with his prized date. To the student community, he was a hero. A legend. Feted by his teachers & peers.

He got really wasted.

Towards the end of the evening, his date was attempting to communicate. Through a thick fog, it dawned on Pico, that he was probably going to vomit. Afraid to speak, he clenched his teeth together & tried to ride the wave of nausea out.

Eye witnesses report that two jets of vomit shot from Pico's nostrils leaving slimey yellow streaks across his date's ballgown. I'm not entirely sure, but that may be the last time he ever saw her.

Later, Pico's friends took him drinking. Someone knew the restaurant where the psychology department were having their celebration supper. Late that night, the august faculty members were startled to find their top student being carried in, above the heads of his peers, naked, and reaching down to scoop the cream & fruit off the desserts table. Dr Pico had arrived.

Years later, I was working with a guy who had studied engineering at Otago at about the same time as Pico was there. I asked him if he knew him. I got a lecture "There are 6000 students at Otago, do you think there is much chance I'd know them all?" I said "He got arrested for doing a dine & dash at the capping parade." The guy looked startled "Him?!! He's famous!"

It's been more than a few years since I last saw Pico. He was clinical psychologist at a hospital in Brisbane at the time, visiting Wellington, indeed, specialising in alcohol & drug abuse. he'd settled down with a lovely woman. Lord, he probably has a brood of Pico jrs by now....

Pico mate, on the very off chance you read this, we remember & salute you!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Was Jane Austen like this?

Mulling every event in her life over... Should I blog this? How can I blog this? Does it need twisting? Embellishing? Names changed to protect the innocent? I bet she was...

So anyway, out of the blue I got an email today from A-list blogger & TV producer Chromium Dipstie.

"Mate" he said "Haven't heard from you in a while, but note from your blog that you are alive & well. Can I get your contact number to talk to you about something work related?"

My interest was piqued... His work? Mine? God forbid, both? A job offer? Had Chromium read my blog about dancing lessons last year? I ran the scenarios through my head. Could I be next year's Norm? No, I'm not famous. Could they need someone to teach Kate Hawkesby? Would it involve Jason Gunn? No, I'm not desperate. Could it involve sitting next to Petra Bagust night after night - mate, I'm in!

Anyway, turns out he was looking for someone with a family, in a particular household income band, to discuss implications of various tax regimes...

Sadly, (or perhaps, fortunately) turns I'm not representative enough for the story's purposes. Not enough kids, wrong income.

However, I did suggest a few substitutes... so I really need to blog this so you know should your 15 minutes come along quite soon, you weren't the first choice. You may be the Sophia to my Winona.

In the meantime, please do get back to me when you have that Shortland Street walk-on to discuss. I'll have an agent by then.

Weekend tournament update.

Lovely day in the Manawatu yesterday, following the shocking weather on Saturday (did not hang my gate after all).

Arrived at the netball complex at 10am, sneaked Wilma into a discreet position near the warming up girls & devoted parents, and settled in to watch them lose by one point in each of the first two games.

In truth, we gave it away with bad passes & unforced errors. T actually stood on the sideline & noted turnovers & errors, which told a surprising story. To the uninitiated, a player can look really flash, catching every second pass, appearing to be everywhere, supporters yelling & gushing... and those very same players are giving away more possession than they are winning.

Anyway, the rest of us spent the tournament on the sidelines in time honoured fashion - bitching about the coach.

heh... actually, it was a good day out. Had fortune favoured us slightly, we could have won those games. And we thrashed them (too late) in the third game.

Next week, it's Levin.

Bali, 2005

The man hadn't slept in several weeks. Nor had he eaten very much. The supposed working holiday had gone awry from the moment he stepped off the plane into the humid atmosphere that engulfed the foreigners like a hot, wet towel.

He'd noticed the attractive young woman on the plane of course. She & her companions were just ahead of him as they approached the baggage area. He didn't pay much attention after that, just grabbed his boogie board bag, walked past them & sailed blissfully through customs. "Home free!" he thought. Ignoring a sudden commotion behind him, he ducked out of the airport & made his way to the preplanned meeting point, where his contact, a rich Australian developer, who supplied to the local ex-pat community, would hand over payment for the contents of the bag. The money would allow him to enjoy a few days rest & recreation, before travelling on to Las Vegas, where the remainder would be very handy...

The Australian was pleased to see him & immediately asked to check the delivery contents. The preacher handed over the bag. "What the fuck - Preacherman? Where's my gear?"

Realisation sunk in. In his hurry, he'd grabbed the wrong bag... the commotion behind him...
"Customs discovered it!"
"Then how come you're not in a skanky jail, Preacher?" The Australian suddenly looked quite menacing.

They'd kept him confined after that, telling him he owed them for the gear, and would very likely not leave the premises alive should he not find some way to pay. They starved, and beat him. And worst of all, kept him constantly awake by playing loud Johnny Farnham music.

At a loss as to what else to do, he asked his captors for a phone so he could contact his old Special Forces buddy Albert, in Wellington, to somehow raise the necessary cash & extricate him from this mortal predicament.

Albert was not very happy as it turned out, this wasn't the first time he'd had to bail his unreliable comrade out of a tight spot, and couldn't honestly imagine where he was going to raise the significant sum necessary to prolong his life. But for old time's sake, he agreed to somehow raise the ransom & deliver it to Bali.

Some weeks passed. Finally, the man was taken from his secure premises to another house, possibly nearby, he couldn't tell, since they'd blindfolded him. But sitting around a well laid luncheon table were several dodgy looking men, and Albert. In front of his old friend was a bulging attache case.

The Australian developer motioned for the preacher to help himself to food & drink. The demanded Albert pass the case over.

Opening it, the developer paused... then looked up with all the signs of apoplectic rage across his face.

"What the fuck are these Old man?"

Albert looked nervous, and explained that in the time he'd been given, it was impossible to raise the money, so he'd come up with something even better : "$2 million worth of Big Wellington Department store gift vouchers" which he'd been surreptitiously setting aside over the years for his retirement.

The Australian was beyond incandescent with rage now, his minders were suddenly holding guns.

"You two are dead." he spat, and raised his hand to give the order.

"Wait!" shouted Albert, grasping for something that would keep them alive "They are redeemable at David Jones in Sydney!"

The Australian's arm stayed raised, but there was a definite cooling in the atmosphere. One of the gunmen crossed the room & whispered to his boss: "They have a wonderful food hall"

"The man slowly lowered his arm. Then gestured to his men to put their guns away.

"You're free to go." he said quietly.

Saturday, June 18, 2005


Their coach yelled out "Come ON M! You can play better than this!"

Because I got first class honours in Smart Arse, I yelled out "So can YOU KNS!"

Their coach was not amused.

Anyway. Girls well pleased with themselves. We've never managed to beat them before. We've come close on a few occasions...

Much jocular ribbing of the parents we knew on the other team... Awful weather though...

Hee hee...

Friday, June 17, 2005

The weekend in a nutshell

Mum around for dinner (moroccan chicken with preserved lemons & olives) tonight (got her smelly kitchen pamper pack & Sim City like PC game based on Monopoly - Monopoly Tycoon).

We get to sleep in tomorrow morning as netball isn't until noonish. We're playing arch rivals that we've never beaten in the last how many or so years of trying. But this year's form suggests we can whip their sorry butts. We'll see.

Then up to SunnyO in the arvo to walk the dog, hang my gate & check the sheep.

And then onto Palmerston North for a tournament on Sunday. Not too early either. We're spoiled this weekend... Palmerston's netball complex is one of the better ones too. Wilma & I can watch from a wooded spot near the car parks. Must remember to pack the deck chairs.

So ciao all for now! Have a good one. Will update triumphant scores later.

My hand & willpower wavered...

A very nice album...As I passed over The Eagles Live in my search for a suitable candidate to spend my shiny new CD voucher on...

Damian Christie claims he'd do the frontmanIn the end I did what I'd promised myself all along & have begun my acquaintance with the highly regarded Straitjacket Fits.

I will be popularAnd seeing there was some left over (cheers David!) and Mrs Llew came home last night raving about some music she'd heard that very day... I put the remainder towards the Phoenix Foundation's Pegasus album.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I seem to recall...

A movie, either The Kentucky Fried Movie, or Amazon Women on the Moon, or something similar.

My memory might be faulty, but I also recall a spoof TV series from one of those movies, along the lines of "Believe it or Not" and the like

A host, possibly Jack Palance, delivers a fantastic tale of the supernatural as though it were real, then challenges the viewer: "BULLSHIT? ... or NOT!" Or something like that.

STUFF : ENTERTAINMENT : BOOKS - STORY : New Zealand's leading news and information website: "Spooked Meeuws flees ghost-house"

Anyway, Kees might consider taking up dancing lessons.

Actually, one of those movies had the funniest sketch - a young lad in a small town trying to buy condoms from a pharmacist who knows his family. WHen he finally plucks up the courage to ask for the items, the pharmacist looks at him disapprovingly, then announces that he is the millionth customer, brass bands march in, and he's on national TV live.

And don't make me have to mention Big Jim Slade...

Suggestions for a present for my mum...

I'm banking she's too busy this week to read this... yes, apparently she comes here sometimes... bit confused I understand about the street preacher. (Who, by the way, I hear is stranded in Bali, after losing his boogie board bag to the woman in front of him at customs.)

So she's retired, reckons she needs to find things to keep her occupied (you wouldn't believe what she gets up to to achieve that).

So I had this off the wall idea - computer software - a game perhaps. I considered something along the lines of Sim City, then she could race the City Council to build Transmission Gully... or something. But I'm not so sure now...

I suspect Lara Croft, or Grand Theft Auto might not be her bag. But if I'm wrong, there's always Christmas coming.

So any great suggestions?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Park Bench Memorials

The Botanic Gardens have dozens of park benches, many of them sport a plaque in the memory of a loved one.

To state the obvious... a park benchI sometimes joke that I spend my walk time memorising which bench is in memory of whom. They're usually dedicated to someone who led a very long & full life, who died some years ago. I'm considering dedicating one to Wilma the Wonder Labby (Wilma of Woburn, to use her formal name), when she passes on to that great Magpie Lawn in the sky - hopefully a good number of years from now...

And so it was disconcerting to find one dedicated to someone I knew, who did lead a full life, but sadly not as long as she should have. Someone I didn't even know was sick until I read the death notice in the paper. But that was the way she wanted it, apparently.

Guys... if you're reading this & want to go have a look, it's at the Southern end of the Soundshell Lawn, near the Fragrant Garden & overlooked by the Treehouse Centre.

RIP Nicky


Been having a few conversations with various people recently about 1) How to make some quick real money and 2) who'd win a prison bitch fight between Russell Crowe & Michael Jackson.

Since it seems Michael's not going to jail now, number 2 is moot. And Russell won't either because he'll settle out of court with the alleged victim.

Which brings me back to number 1. I figure the best & easiest way to make some real money these days, is to somehow get yourself next to Russell Crowe - in a pub might be best, but a hotel lobby seems to work too - and somehow slip into the conversation that you think he's a pussy. And that's it, sit back & accept the tabloid payments & out of court settlement. The deal could be cemented if you can arrange for a mate to video the grand occasion. Go Russ! Sure, there might be a bit of pain & humiliation involved, but it's more selfless than having your kids stay over at Neverland for the same effect.

In fact, I predict that this approach will become an up & coming, genuine profession. David Slack has given that profession a name - Starjacking. And I have already told him that I'll be blogjacking that term. So it seems fair to give credit.

I hope the term catches on.

BTW David: I saw somewhere recently, but haven't time to find it this morning, that the Washington Post also predict celebrity rehabilitation centres. And for the record, I think Jackson might be in with a chance, he's fit, limber, possibly has a mean streak, and as you point out, how many fights has Russ won off the big screen?

But as mentioned, I think Martha could take 'em both.

Monday, June 13, 2005

A great idea that I probably won't put into practise...

SO why mention it then? Because it's a great idea!

I saw this movie once... a short film in a programme of avante garde short films. can't remember what it was called, nor who directed it.

but anyway, it was a series of photographs, landscapes, people, places, kind of like holiday snaps.

And there was a narrator talking about the photos. But thing was, what he was talking about bore no resemblance to the photo on screen.

And then something weird happened to the photo & it bubbled, so it resembled pizza, and then broke apart. And then the next photo came on.

And halfway through, it dawned on me. The narration & photos were out of sync, I can't remember if he was talking about the photo that had just been, or was to come. But suddenly the whole concept, and narration became very, very funny. It was the way it was done.

Also, the bubbling was because he'd filmed a frame stuck in the projector until it melted.

Anyway, I just thought wouldn't it be cool to blog a post & put pictures from the next post to come in, and keep doing that...


Well I thought it might be funny. But it requires a degree of planning & preparation that I'm not prepared to put in.

So by all means have the idea. It's yours. I stole it from some geeky film-maker anyway.

Our little game...

We have this game that starts after dinner & we retire to the lounge to watch TV, music videos or a DVD.

The game is "Guess which channel CSI (or one of its offshoots) is on tonight".

Can a show get any more ubiquitous? Note how they have the same "types" in each.

1. The alpha male - played by respected character actors (and David Caruso). Workaholic. Arrogant. Melancholy.
2. The alpha female, who enjoys a degree of unconsumated romantic tension with #1.
3. The 2nd string female, who is a hottie, but purportedly was a science geek at school. She speaks in a weird & unidentifiable accent (what's with that anyway?). Also may have romantic ambition for the alpha male.
4. The 2nd string males - there are two, completely opposite types. Possibly have a character flaw (gambling) that can be mined for a few episodes).
5. Crusty, but surprisingly sensitive & amusing cop. Seems to be assigned to this crew exclusively.
6. Lab technician. Gender is unimportant. Must have unruly hair, and a few character tics. Ultimately rewarded for good DNA sampling by being allowed to work in the field.

The other thing I don't get is that these CSI forensic types get to interview the suspects - is that likely? And generally do all the cop work that no way would they be allowed to do - break the bad news to families... etc etc.

Anyway... compelling aren't they?

To Kill a Mockingbird

A few weeks back I was in The Warehouse buying up large of their really cheap dog toys & treats. I also spent the best part of an hour going through their DVD section & sale bin.

By golly, some of those DVDs are so cheap it is well worth taking a punt. There are no end of A-Z grade John Wayne movies, tedious Elizabeth Taylor fillers, and even a large selection of 3 Stooges supposed comedies. It's a reminder (much like Turners Classic Movies programming), that far more than now, a big classic movie star (like Wayne, or Taylor), made hundreds of movies, yet are justifiably only remembered now for a handful of classics. The rest are forgotten for a reason.

Anyhow, I came away with:

The Shooting - an odd Western starring a very young Jack Nicholson. It's in my book of Cult Movies & for an outlay of something like $5.95, I figured I should really have a look. I haven't yet though.

The General - old Buster Keaton silent classic. I saw & wrote an essay on this at University. Based on a true story, it follows train driver Keaton during the American Civil War, chasing & recovering his beloved stolen train, and slightly less beloved kidnapped fiance. It is in a word, brilliant! I believe at the time it was the most expensive movie ever made. Mostly because he trashes a rail bridge & an entire train in spectacular fashion near the end.

To Catch a Thief - the Hitchcock classic with Cary Grant & Grace Kelly. And unbelievably, this has dated somewhat. In fact, the first half is so camp (I think mostly because of the Edith Head designs worn by Grant), it is distracting. Monacco & Grace Kelly look great though. This was the only DVD that cost me over $10.

And To Kill a Mockingbird - I'd never seen this movie, nor read the novel from which it sprang. But the girls just happened to forget to go get a mindless comedy on Saturday night, and I'd packed this away with the laptop.

And it is magnificent! A few scenes reminded me of that Southern Gothic classic Night of the Hunter. But it's nowhere near as dark & creepy as that. And that might only be because, like NotH it's told from the point of view of a 6 year old girl & her brother, and the scene where Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch sits on a chair outside the jailhouse & confronts a would be lynch mob (it reminded me of Lillian Gish, looking for all the world like the Grandma in the Tweety & Sylvester cartoons, calmly rocking back & forth on the verandah, cradling a very large shotgun, waiting for Robert Mitchum's evil preacher to turn up... she's got him sussed... one of the very best scenes in one of the very best movies I have ever seen).

Anyway... Peck is suitably stiff & staunch (and possibly so wooden as to be his era's Keanu) as small town lawyer, solo dad & American icon, Atticus Finch, taking on the job of defending a black man accused of raping & beating a white woman. It's the kids who are a revelation (Mary Badham & Philip Alford), the little girl on whom it all centres especially. These are not cute kids (not overly anyway), they're quarrelsome, mischievous, argumentative, resourceful and intelligent. And we see the whole story (and some other peripheral, but important events) unfold through their eyes.

There's also what amounts pretty much to a cameo by Robert Duval, in surely one of his earliest roles, playing Boo Radford, the reputed village idiot. He plays a pivotal role in the movie, and rounds out the children's lesson about discrimination.

I'm willing to bet that some scenes were taken direct from the book, the script has that intelligent feel to it and doesn't spell things out for the moronic. There are little vignettes of the kind that I tend to associate with novels from the Great Depression (The Grapes of Wrath is full of them) - like when the title's reference is explained - I had to think pretty hard about what they were getting at... or the things left in the tree for the children by Boo... or when Atticus is persuaded to shoot the rabid dog... you know these moments are important, even if it's not obvious why. Or maybe I'm just slow.

Not explaining that very well. So let's move on....

Anyway... if you haven't seen it yet, To Kill a Mockingbird is an absolute & intelligent pleasure. Who knows, I might even read it once I start & finish Isabelle Allende's new Zorro novel - isn't that a very cool cover?

33-21 & the Adventures of Hooterman.

Another dicking.

This week, I was the official timekeeper for all 3 courts at our venue. We were given a list of instructions (easy) and a gas powered hooter thing that makes a very loud FWAAARRRPPP!! sound. The girls tested it at 7.30am outside home & must have impressed the neighbours.

I was up at a brutal hour to walk Wilma so we could be at the game by 8am

And we arrived – first game at 8.30am. Got myself all sorted, my phone’s stop watch ready to go (they did supply a timer, but thought I’d use what I know) by 8.20am.

Then a lady turned up and asked “Have you unlocked the toilets, put the protectors around the poles on all 3 courts & hung the signs up?”

“Um… no? Those aren’t on my list.”

And all hands to the pump to get all that done! Then at 8.30 sharp, the lady suddenly said “You have to toot that from down the drive so Court 3 can hear it.”

And so I dropped what I was doing & sprinted 100 yards down the drive with the hooter, held it up high & it went “pffffffftttttttt”.

Oh shit. Testing must have used up the gas. So I went sprinting back up the drive, grabbed the spare canister, sprinted back down & “pfffffffsnarpfffttt”.

Bugger. The lady turned up then & blew her whistle till she was blue in the face. Then she said “Have you started the timer?”

And I realised then that somehow in the frantic rush, I’d lost my phone. So I sprinted back up the drive, started the timer (subtracted a minute) & had 19 minutes then to get the hooter going & find my phone.

Luckily, all fell into place after that. And the hooter must have needed to settle down, because it worked a dream from there on in. I didn’t get to see much of the first half, but parents told me that within the first 5 minutes, we were down 7-0… The opponents were dark horses, we hadn’t played them before, they’d had some losses, but our canny analysis of their previous form & that of whom they’d played suggested they might prove a challenge. Luckily, after a bad start our girls made an amazing recovery & by the time I was organised & in a position to catch up with what was going on, we were 6 goals ahead, winning the game ultimately, 33-21.

The Rep tournament on Sunday was at Paraparumu, so we went up to Sunny O on Saturday afternoon to save travelling time in the morning.

The tournament did not go so well though, as last week. Ah well, you have days like that. I didn’t actually attend, I stayed at Sunny O to keep Wilma company & patched up my stock pen – extended the fence & started to hang a new (recycled) gate. Sadly, I broke my only 15mm drill bit & so it won’t get completed till next week. No worries though.

Next week, the tournament is at Palmerston North, so we’ll stay up the coast again & I’ll have the chance to finish it up then. The beasts probably need crutching. Which isn’t actually as disgusting a job as you’d imagine. Once you catch them. And so long as you’re wearing gloves… Hence the need for a secure pen.

But while I’m on the subject – anyone watch the final between the Sting & the Magic on Friday? If you were only listening to the commentary & didn’t know the score, would you have thought that the Magic was being completely outplayed? I dunno about those commentators sometimes, particularly Brendan Telfer. They’d obviously decided at the outset that the Sting were going to whip the Magic, and it wasn’t till well into the third quarter that they seemed to adjust their mindset to match the scoreboard. In the first play of the game, the Sting had the centre pass, it was immediately intercepted by the Magic, who scored. During & after this play, Brendan & Julie Townsend told us how wonderful the Sting’s defense was looking. Hello, hello? The Magic then scored from their own centre pass, while the commentators reiterated how well the Sting were playing. Good one guys.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Today's belly laugh

The DomPost's diary section has a piece about life imitating South Park. I've never seen South Park, but now & then I think I probably should watch it.

Apparently in 2002 they featured a mock TV show called Russell Crowe: Fighting Around The World.

In it, they had the world's greatest actor sailing around the world on an old tugboat named "Tugger", beating people up for perceived insults.

Brilliant. Colleagues here have raved over that episode since I mentioned it earlier.

The Grinch that stole dancing...

Public Address | Random Play

OK, he's right. So here are some more thoughts on That Dancing Show inspired by Mr Reid.

This sort of programming isn't keeping us stupid, it's just revealing how many of us are really stupid anyway.

How come not one of these journalists has blagged Jason Gunn, nor even asked why anyone is giving him work anyhow? Was Michael Barrymore unavailable? We could have asked Barrymore his thoughts on the Barmy Army.

I could do without the weekly "Norm is the sexiest hooker I've ever seen" gags. I just don't believe it. And no-one had the guts to say it about Georgina Beyer...It's the ears...

Is it really important enough that people write poison pen letters & make abusive phone calls to Tim Shadbolt's office? Wonder how many of them voted for him. Morons.

What can we expect from series 2 (it's inevitable)? Many more unlikely sportspeople of different codes. I'm already on tenterhooks to see how Hamish Carter & Sarah Ullmer do. Or those twins, that'd be a hoot, they'd have to find identical twin dance partners for them surely? Or that guy who seems to be our only racing car driver - the one on every 2nd TV advertisement. (Sorry, having a blank on the names at present - such is the power of advertising I can't even recall what he's touting).

Or Mark Ellis... he'll already have his agent plugging for it, I bet. Expect to see Ben Lummis dancing. Rodney Hide may be at a loose end too, and might be next year's Norm.

Damn, I had much more to say but I have to go interview Dancing with the Stars contestants to find out what they think of the Barmy Army.

Even better than poking nipples! I AM No. 1!!

Yahoo! Search Results for shit in the sauna


Friday's photos...

Although none were actually taken today...

Latest from the cable car

Slightly later


From Magpie Lawn

Also from Magpie Lawn

Last week's cool sunset

Last week's cool sunset #2

All were from various points in Kelburn. The sunsets were from our back porch.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Younger brother might remember some of this...

The current Lion's tour of NZ quite naturally brings to mind some memories of our rugby mad father. Significant family events were typically planned around rugby tours - our year long return to the UK coincided with the All Blacks 1972 tour of Britain, and our first colour TV was delivered days before, I think, the 1977 Lions tour of NZ.

If family holidays coincided with any major games anywhere in the world, a trusty short wave radio was packed & my dad would get up at any hour necessary, to diligently tune into the appropriate static ridden station half way across the world.

In fact, I do recall a holiday either at Himitangi, or Waitere Beach - it was cold & frosty & possibly blowing a gale & raining - anyway, I remember it wasn't very nice outside. I cannot remember who Wales would have been playing at the time, but dad got himself up in the middle of the night, attempted to tune in the ever present shortwave radio, which at this stage I think, was missing its aerial, failed, and was seen by our mother, outside in the cold & possible storm, wrapped up like a mummy, jumping up and down in excitement, with the radio in his hand and a wire running from the broken aerial to the clothesline.

Dedication doesn't come near describing his fervour.

I also recall one particular game, and a process of elimination leads me to suspect it was the 3rd test in Christchurch, in 1977, between the Lions and the All Blacks. The Lions won it 13-9, but it may have been closer at some stage. It must have been the 2nd half & the ABs were awarded a penalty right in front of the posts. Bryan Williams was playing full back instead of wing & stepped up to take the kick. The crowd were silent.

Suddenly my dad stood up & abruptly left the room. We would all have looked on quizzically, but I remember my mum explained for us "Nerves. He can't watch".

As it happened, Williams inexplicably muffed the easy kick completely. From the kitchen came a jubilant yelp "Bryan Williams! MY HERO!"

And mum calmly explained again that while dad couldn't bear to watch the kick, he also couldn't bear not to listen to it on the kitchen radio.

Remember the first MMP election?

I don't want to comment on politics really, others do that so much better. But I was watching Kim Hill last night, Winston was on, being predictably vile & evading the questions with bluster...

And I recalled the aftermath of that first election a century or so ago... and people were looking at the instability (jeez, I nearly felt sorry for Bolger having to cope with it), the Tight 5, Undiegate & all that, Winston..., and they were saying that it was all the fault of MMP (not in fact, that FPP was any more stable at times, but memories are short aren't they?).

But my point is, if there is one, perhaps, is that MMP was in no way responsible for the shameful shenanigans that went on. Morons who voted for NZ First were. Simple as that.

You may, of course, disagree, but that's how I saw it. And I wonder what will be blamed if similar things happen again.

And now, we revert to our usual scattershot & trivial transmission...

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


So I've been having fun sparring with racists over in a comments thread on David Farrar's site.

And being fascinated by Tze Ming Mok's take on the Older Generation at Public Address (at which BTW, I scored a CD voucher - yay me! - I think I might get a Straitjacket Fits album with it, since the Public Address guys are such fanboys).

And it occurred to me that I've probably covered more than my share of Asian (Hong Kong) movies here & there.

Infernal Affairs I remember telling a disbelieving friend, possibly 15 years ago, that Hong Kong cinema was where it was at. At that stage I'd seen only a handful of mega-violent examples - The Killer, Hard Boiled, Once a Thief, Bullet in the Head - all directed by John Woo & starring Chow Yun Fat. But there was definitely something new & exciting about those films, not just the pyrotechnics, slow-motion acrobatic gun-play, and... oh OK, it WAS actually the pyrotechnics & slow-motion acrobatic gun play.

In fact, the first Hong Kong movie I ever saw - since the kung fu craze of the 1970s anyway- I think, was The Iceman Cometh - mentioned in a previous post. In that one, Yuen Baio (grew up with Jackie Chan & Samo Hung in the Chinese Opera) is a hundreds of years old palace guard, who along with a mortal enemy is thawed out of a glacier in modern day Hong Kong, he's taken in by a very young Maggie Cheung, and in one boggling scene, somersaults over a speeding car. This movie also features some of the most execrable subtitle work in cinema history "Meet me on the roof in 5 minutes for a duet" (duel). This was one of the first screenings of such a film in downtown Wellington, it was heavily attended by local Chinese, who I was interested to discover, pretty much all turned up well into the film & then talked loudly in Cantonese throughout (which since it was subtitled, wasn't a problem), amusingly, many in the audience sang along with songs... it was kind of cool.

Later, I caught up with other, less noisy movies... Chungking Express, for instance, Days of being Wild, In the Mood for Love... the list is exhaustive. Gee, I've seen more than I realised... For convenience sake, I have appended a Chinese (because there are some films made on the mainland, not just Hong Kong) movie primer. Also for convenience, I have excluded the extensive Jackie Chan back catalogue, because these are well known, and all worthy viewing - although some are puerile, all are eye-popping & if you've had a good grounding in American cinema history, you'll see that Chan has been highly influenced by silent movie stars such as Charlie Chaplin & Buster Keaton. Ie, He lifts gags & stunts wholesale. I have also excluded Crouching Tiger, because you've all seen it already. Or should have. And it was Taiwanese anyway. Kind of.

So for a good time, do go & rent any of the movies mentioned above, and I also recommend:
Ashes of Time, Song of Exile, Ju Dou, Raise the Red Lantern, Shanghai Triad and Chinese Ghost Story. I would guess that the last one there would be the only musical, Taoist ghost story you've ever seen? At least until you take in parts 2 & 3 perhaps... or how about A Chinese Erotic Ghost Story?The lovely Gong Li in Ju Dou

And I should mention one more, since I've descended to this level... Naked Killer - I have no idea what went on in this movie, except that it was something to do with a bunch of hottie assassins who did despicable things to their targets in hot tubs & the like, and a lot of knives were thrown around & people shot & otherwise killed in acrobatic & photogenic fashion. It was great.

Before I finish, I'll mention some of the actors, who all appear in more than one of the movies above. Chinese films are not just some of the most innovative, exciting & influential being made in the world today, they also feature some of the hottest casts... which after all, is what movies are all about.

Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung, Leslie Cheung, Chow Yun Fat, Gong Li, and of course... Jackie Chan

While I'm an enthusiastic aficionado though, if Winston Peters promised to ban all Asian movies from New Zealand screens, he might just get Mrs Llew's vote... No, just kidding, if he did, she'd probably become as big a Chinese movie fan as me.

And so it was that this morning, I set the VCR for Infernal Affairs... which was the initial point of this post.

Actually, I'd really like to get to know some key Bollywood movies now, whose casts are possibly even more spectacular in appearance. But to be honest, I'm put off by the 3 hour plus running times of the ones my local DVD store rents.

By the way... there is one movie I remember seeing, but cannot for the life of me remember what it was called, nor who was in it, possibly Leslie Cheung, and it was the usual martial arts, swords, bandits & princesses sort of deal, except that there was something also to do with a killer whale, which saved the hero & heroine at the end, by jumping over a rock bridge & eating the villain, or something like that, and it was either the best trained killer whale you've ever seen (in which case, big ups to the stunt-villain), or some of the best pre-CGI animatronics you've ever seen. If anyone can remind me what the hell that film was called, please let me know.

Here's something I can't figure out.

I come home from a hard day's yakka at the coalface*, there's a 12 year old in residence, a ghetto blaster a-blastin' Gwen Stefani or the Black Eyed Peas from a bedroom, the TV in the lounge set to Nickelodeon, with the volume set to 11 (1 more than 10, see?), the stereo in the dining room blasting whichever artist isn't blasting from upstairs, the computer also in the dining room blasting an Eminem mp3 and on the couch is said 12 year old practising her guitar...

How does she do it?

* Not literally a coal face, that was an earlier life.

Google Search: nude maoris

Woohoo! I am 2nd in the google list!

Google Search: nude maoris

Still amazes me what people are looking for... or that several people from disparate parts of the world, at different times can enter a phrase like "nipples like corks poking" into a search engine & end up at SunnyO. Yes, still.

And thanks so much to Nicky Watson. You're a positive brick.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I was driving back from the airport...

...on Friday night. Deep in the bowels of our car somewhere, is a 6 CD stacker. It's so deep & last accessed so long ago, that an archaeological expedition may be required to change the CD selection.

Anyway, I was on my way back from the airport, and while fumbling for small change to pay the car park man, I managed to randomly knock a number of buttons on the CD control panel.

Suddenly, I was listening to Steely Dan. So that's where my Steely Dan album went to...

Pressing a few more buttons at random I found it! The Eagles Greatest Hits! Which is one of the best albums to listen to while speeding (not literally mind you), in a ridiculously large beast* of a car, back into town.

By the time I got home I'd made it through Lyin' Eyes, Peaceful Easy Feeling, and New Kid in Town. Magic.

The next morning, Mrs Llew & I buckled in to head to Sunny O, New Kid in Town piped up, and all was quiet. When that finished, the next track was of course, another Eagles song & T suddenly exclaimed "WTF? This is THAT CD! I thought we must have been on some retard radio station & was prepared to wear it for a moment!"

Sigh... so I said "Hang on, I'll change it to Steely Dan..."

SunnyO: My music.

* I know what people say about people with really big cars... I just want it noted that this car was my wife's choice. WHile it IS extremely pleasant, and practical, and heroically powerful, given the choice, I'd have a really, really small car, maybe a hybrid.... Remember, I said I once had a Fiat Bambina... so there.

Everybody dies.

Man, I have truckloads to do today, so just a few thoughts on the weekend. And probably no photos... although we'll see.

Saw several movies in the weekend. Old movies. We don't get out as much as we used to. Although we were all hyped to go see Brad & Angelina in Mr & Mrs Smith until we realised it doesn't start till Thursday.


Zhang Yimou's... what would you call this? Ode to swords & colour schemes perhaps. I really liked it! T fell asleep. Just sumptuous to look at. And do Maggie Cheung & Tony Leung appear on People's Most Beautiful lists? If not, they're being robbed. By all means check out Wong Kar Wai's In the Mood for Love for further confirmation. Jet Li meanwhile, doesn't sing, but apparently can dance a little.Maggie Cheung Man-Yuk

Anyway, Hero, it's kind of similar to Kaige Chen's The Emperor & the Assassin in that it concerns a planned assassination of the first emperor of China, the King of Qin. Except where Chen's film is based on historical fact, Hero immerses itself in colour coded mythology. It's brilliant! Looking forward to House of Flying Daggers now.

Irma VepAnd while we're on the subject of Maggie Cheung, the Hong Kong film industry has always struck me for its lack of pretension. Cheung can appear as the dizzy female airhead in martial arts slapstick like The Iceman Cometh and also worthy fare like In the Mood for Love. Do also check out Irma Vep.

Garden State:

Zach Braff from Scrubs returns home for the funeral of his mother. Meets up with old school friends. Resumes troubled relationship with his father. And makes the acquaintance of Queen Amidala.

Good fun actually. There's a lovely bit where Braff & Natalie Portman go meet a dodgy old friend of his, and they agree that if she starts to pull at her ear, it's the code that she wants out - right away. This plan works well. Much later, Braff is accosted in a supermarket by an ultra creepy old friend & within about 30 seconds Portman's tugging at her ear. Very funny.

What else? Oh yeah, Housekeeper:

This one's got a deceptive cover blurb. It is not an outrageous comedy about a divorced man who gets himself an incompetent hottie for a housekeeper. She's not incompetent. It's more of an amusing drama about a lonely divorced man called Jacques who decides to get his act together & hires a housekeeper to put his flat literally in order. It all works well. Then Laura, the housekeeper, breaks up with her boyfriend & needs a place to stay. Before too long, they're sharing the bed.

Jacques initially regards this relationship as just sex, and doesn't expect or plan for the arrangement to last very long. But it's clear that Laura's attention is very good for his self esteem. When his ex wife appears on the scene, looking to reconcile, Jacques flees the city & Laura persuades him to take along.

When, during the "holiday", Laura declares that she wants a "husband and wife" kind of relationship with Jacques, his self reserve starts to cave in. However, Laura is much, much younger, prone to easy distraction, and very quick to bestow her affection.

The film ends rather precipitously, but you get the feeling everyone is going to be OK. If you've ever had a relationship with someone a lot younger (or maybe a lot older) , you might consider that this film rings true.

We weren't in front of a screen all weekend though. For starters... no netball! And so we slept in till 8.30. That must be a sign of getting old actually, 8.30? Jesus... in the old days it wasn't a real sleepin if it was still morning...

We did visit SunnyO, briefly, to check on the sheep, retrieve a pick (which would be needed in town Sunday & Monday), loll in front of an open fire & enjoy a marvelous moroccan meal consisting of chicken, olives & preserved lemons. Fantastic!

We also decided, since it looked overcast, not to take the camera with us on the dog walk along the beach. And so I do not have photos of what was possibly, the most impressive sunset & red sky I have ever seen up there. Wouldn't have been half as impressive if I'd had the camera...

Slept in the next day till 8.45....

Sunday & Monday were spent digging a vast trench. I ache very badly today. T meanwhile, painted skirting boards & doors. The old place is starting to scrub up nicely. Aside from the front yard, which we agree seems to be getting worse, before it gets better. Eyesore probably does not come close.

The plumber should be back sometime this week to move our water pressure down a few settings from Riot Quelling, through Barnacle Lifting, Paint Stripping, Moss Removing and Skin Flaying, to something in between Bracing and Sensual Massage.

Oh... and the subject line refers to one of the movies we saw. Guess which one.

Friday, June 03, 2005

When good home maintenance jobs go bad...

Well... not bad as such, but they could go smoother at times.

Had a plumber & a gasfitter around the other day, to install a new continuous gas fired hot water system. This is to replace the really ancient hot water cyllinder that is up in the roof (effectively, 3 storeys up). That old cyllinder worked. Kind of. But to get hot water in the kitchen we had to start running it about 5 minutes (no exaggeration) before we needed it to allow the water to get down to the kitchen. Also, the old cyllinder, or pipes attached to it, were known to leak on occasion.

In fact, there are so many old (possibly) disused water & gas pipes under our house, that's a project in itself. I already had the supply to the 1930s copper in the basement disconnected - because it dripped, and coppers don't have plug holes to drain them...

SO these guys were in to check the gas piping, disconnect & drain the old cyllinder & install a fancy new system.mmm... hot water....

First call from them came 5 minutes after I left them to it. "Your existing gas supply is inadequate for what you have planned."

Excellent. There was a solution though - and that was to run a very ugly looking, bright yellow, temporary pipe from the gas metre at the front gate, to the house. At an extra cost of $400 or so. But actually, I was expecting to have to replace it, I had believed that the existing pipe was a rusty old galvanised one that possibly leaked. The gas fitter, when he rang said there was good news & bad. The good was that there was a bright yellow, new pipe running through the rusty one. The bad was the aforementioned news that it was inadequate for the supply needed. (Reminder to myself: I still need to call the gas supplier to tell them we need the gas pressure ramped up in anticipation of impending installation of new gas heating, and the gas metre moved as a car deck is about to be built on top of it).

Fortunately, I had unearthed the gas pipe in the weekend, while digging a trench that will be needed for when we have to run our power supply underground - when the next big project takes place (soon), which is the cardeck.

Then, when they'd connected the new pipe up and installed the new water system, I came home at about 5.30pm to find them still there, trying to ascertain where a major leak was. I left for my walk with Wilma & at no stage did anyone mention the possibility that we might be without hot water, and I took that as a good sign...

And lo! We had hot water when I came home. The cloud in this silver lining was that in order to staunch the identified leak, they'd had to disconnect the only heater we have in our house. But at least the water is warm.

And pressure!... the kitchen is now fantastic! It takes 5 seconds, not minutes now to warm up. The bathroom? Well... I turned on the shower & inadvertently started a high pressure blast across the bath onto the wall & my pile of clothes on the ground... and my towel. We're going to need that turned down a bit. But have managed to direct the nozzle in a direction that minimises the drenching of the room. And after you've been in the shower for 30 seconds or so, the pain gets bearable. I suppose it's good for circulation.

We presume that the possibility that the water pressure will blow our existing taps & fittings across the room exists only in our imaginations.

This weekend, I'll be continuing to dig my trench, ever so slowly uphill, towards the front gate.

In about 3 weeks time, we should have two new, very attractive gas fires installed & all our heating woes will be a thing of the past.

I suppose everyone does this sort of thing just as Winter strikes...

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Wind farms

Apparently they reduce wind gusts, so, since a lot of people who did the Wellingtonist "How do I love thee Wellington" thing, mentioned they hated wind, I suggest we ring the city with these things. Not only would they be a tourist draw, but we could conceivably lose the "Windy City" nickname.

STUFF - STORY - HOME : NZ's biggest wind farm for Makara

SunnyO: Deep Throat?

SunnyO: Deep Throat?

So... It was neither Thompson, nor Rehnquist...

Oh Well...