31 December 2006

Movies, women in kitchens, and happy NY

Hi again all, this particular missive comes to you with the sweet sounds of Marillions 'Afraid of Sunlight' blaring in the background. This is probably my all time favourite album, and I can't begin to imagine how many times I've listened to it.

For those of you who know me, I am now hairless. Well facial hair anyway. Depending on demand, I may post a picture.

In the paper yesterday, a study reported that women who cook and dust a lot are less likely to get heart disease. Go Science!!! So next time you order your wench to the kitchen to cook you some eggs, add 'it'll save your life honey' - should work a treat!!

Movie reviews:
I went and saw Copying Beethoven yesterday. This starred Ed Harris and the delectable Diane Krugar. Ok so it's a fantasy and creative story telling of Beethoven's last year. But its enjoyable. The first 20 minutes or so were a bit clunky, but after that it settled down and focussed on the characters - Beethoven and his copyist (Diane K). The movie takes as its starting point the final few days of composition of the 9th before its premiere. As Ludwig van is deaf and can't hear the orchestra he needs a backup - and his nephew Carl (who looks so emo-kid it's not funny!) doesn't want to do it. So he (LVB) bonds with the copyist - and she helps him. It's fun, music is great (mainly 9th, a bit of the 7th and bits of the late era quartets - might be others but thats what I picked), acting is good - although at times I thought Harris' was sleepwalking a bit - and movie is interesting.

North Country: saw this last night. Eh typical Hollywood fluff. Predictable storyline. Pah. No-one deserved to win anything from this movie. But I have a feeling they did. Stupid awards ceremonies. Even with wine drinking it didn't improve. The only plus was having Warren Zevon and Bob Dylan on the soundtrack - huzzah!

Oh well, off to cook dinner now :-)

smoochies, b.

29 December 2006

Santo - Mysterio ea Las Bermudas

Santo movies are characterised by their lack of acting, reasonable wrestling, poor scripts and dodgy english subtitles. As such, they rock. And this one, Santo and the Bermuda Mystery is no exception. For some reason Saint, Blue Demon and the Man with a thousand masks, are involved in high level discussions concerning nuclear energy. The babes are cute, curvy and sadly clothed. A strike against the movie...oh heres a plus, two people just appeared on screen. then disappeared. weird. here they are again they are wearing silver suits and headbands. A car chase and a boat chase, how lucky am I?! Followed by meeting a whole bunch of silver clad headband wearing people. Most of them with big village people style mustaches. Do silver wearing people have movember? Maybe they do... Goddard (the main bad guy, don't they make silver polish?) is being told off by his aforementioned babes for wanting to kill the person the wrestlers are going to defend. It's hard being the bad cheese. The silver suited people are scientists living in peace. Of course, it's all obvious. Somehow I'm suspicious that all is not what is seems! The princess is a karate expert. She's also funny looking. And just broke some bricks. It's tough being a brick. It ended with 'The end of the world is nigh'.

b x


Yes I know I promised pictures of the view from my office sometime ago, but like I don't have a camera. And I'm just looks anyway. But following a request to fix a camera/computer I now have some pictures.
First up; looking out towards Wgtn harbour from my window.

And secondly, out towards the cable car and the green stuff:

Love and kisses on your interesting bits, B.

26 December 2006

Boxing Day Pt II

And so begins Pt II. The swim was good, no cute chicks in bikini's, but relaxing nonetheless. First up is Sin City. I like this movie - nice noir vibe and beautifully shot. Was that McSteamy (GA) in it?

It's surprising how many people comment when you've got a painted fingernail.

And now onto Dream Theater 'Score', I was halfway through this so it's the orchestral section. Now with some bands (Metallica spring to mind here) this is just crap. But I have to admit I like what DT have done. Even if Mike P's stupid t-shirt makes me want to slap the bugger. And can his drum kit get any bigger? I mean really, can anyone say small penis? That's not even mentioning the bloody mirror he's got ...
But aside from that. Damm thats a great band. Scary how good they are really. The orchestral tracks were well chosen, the only comment I could make was that with an orchestra, perhaps a bit less keyboard would be required? Is that bit of Octavium a tribute to GardenParty? Hmmm certainly sounds like it.

WTF is up with jack johnson, why is he so popular and yet so frickin' boring?

And since DT it's been a wild wild ride! The news, Simpsons, Futurama and now Little Britain abroad. Shortly will be an episode of six feet under which I'm finally catching up on. Yes, it's all go here.

b (postus maximus)

Boxing Day movies Pt I

Boxing Day, traditionally a relaxing family orientated day. So that means BGRADE MOVIES!!! Yes oh yes oh yes...so in today's movie collection of gorgeous class:

Mystery Science Theatre 3000: Hercules against the Moon men.
An Italian-French 50s (?) flick about with some worryingly cheap effects! With the customary MST commentary - not as good as Briggs' (see Samurai Cop review). The legendary Alan Steel obviously had the title role, he's so heroic!!! Mmm coffee is nice. Watch Herc lift trees, flex his pecs, and beat up people! There's even some guy who was either a early Cyborg, or (more likely) came out of one of the Santos movies. But the great thing about Italian bgrades - as mentioned in the marathon review - is the chicks are hot!! Even if they can't act. At all. Some of them make Keira and Orlando look competent.
Ohh my washing is done. I should hang that out. Then I can be clean and have clothes. Not that I'm naked right now. Honest. Had a fun conversation the other day about acquiring a pre-op bf, nice. Sometimes I'm really impressed by me.
I'm also offering IT support advice while drinking coffee, thinking about my washing, watching hercules' pecs twitch erotically - damm I'm multi talented.

I've been watching six feet under on DVD recently. I've never been that keen on redheads, but she's cute. Mmmmm.

Next up we have Blood Freaks. Hmmm I might have already seen this one at a film fest a few years ago. I'll give it a few minutes, but I think it's the ravenous turkeys 'horror'. Truely a masterpiece, the director/lead actor and music writer/editor/producer appear to monopolise most of the roles and behind camera jobs. Excellent! Yeah I have seen it, but hell why not watch some drug addled hippies vs born again and turkeys.

It appears that there's a larger readership of the blog than I realised!! Exciting times. Oohh the born again just took some dope! and now he's being seduced by his girlfriends sister. Excellent! The one doing the seducing is hotter than his girlfriend so I reckon he made a good call there. Herschel (the main dude, and director) is trying to act. It's not pretty. The turkeys were doing a better job. Ooh plot development: Herschel has had two cigarettes, and is now 'hooked' - must be some type of super THC. In an unsurprising plot development, following eating scientists turkey, Herschel has turned into a giant man eating turkey. You following this? Come on...it's not rocket science...actually he's not a man eater, yet. He's confused, and wants to change back. from the girlfriend 'What would our children look like?' Herschel, the giant turkey, appears to have just put his beak where turkeys dont usually go. The girlfriend didnt seem to mind tho'. He's man eating now! and woman eating. Go the equal opportunist turkey-man-monster. You know those times when people say, no expense was spared, this movie isn't one of them.

Well that's part one of the movie reviews done. I'm off for a swim - or at least to see if the pool is open.

Back later, b x

25 December 2006

Xmas Day

Christmas Day was nice. Caught up with the the family, culminating in a beer n scotch at my sisters before heading back to town. I even hand delivered the only Xmas card I wrote this year. Yeah go me.

Wandered down to catch up with Mark n Gav, drank wine. Drank scotch. Watched Scrooged and Samurai Cop (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0130236/) with Joe Bob Briggs commentary. Damm that was good. Even funnier, we had members of the public watching from the street, and some of them re-enacting the scenes - bloody marvellous!! Great movie, so shockingly bad, it's very very hard to describe the plot. Other than good guy, helicopters, ex-porn stars attempting to act, very little kung fu, a few katanas and very classy directing/editing/writing! Oh and lots of butt shots...

In a random list of cool things:
* macbooks
* bluetooth wireless keyboards
* wireless mighty mouse
* salmon roe
* chicks swimming at the pool in bikini's

There will be another post later today reviewing what movies I'm watching today (boxing day).

me xxxx

22 December 2006

This one might be a bit geeky

Having spent the last five days editing images of chromosomes into more traditional karyotypes I'm going to comment on Photoshop. I've been using it since PS3 which was sometime ago. I'm currently playing with the beta for CS3 and I'm happy to report it's good. It's fast on my Intel Mac - a distinct improvement on CS2 which sucks on Intel's.
Have had a quiet few days, karyotyping during the day and chilling in the evenings. My liver and I reached a compromise, and I rested the wee fella for a few days. He's happier about that.
Had a nice dinner on thurs night with friend - although once again I go over to someones place and end up cooking. Oh well, at least it was smoked chicken pasta salad which is quick. Big ups to Marina for making it a relaxing giggly evening.

I've just finished karyotyping a spread which will make it into the paper I'm going to write over the break (yeah how exciting is my Xmas!) with the first demonstration of AluI digestion in reptile chromosomes. And I've printed out the existing chapters to edit bits and pieces.

Xmas day looks like a movie and wine evening - excellent. Not sure who I'll end up boozing with, but at least the plans are there.

I now have some photos of the office and view which I'll get up here in the next day or so. Must be time for some CD reviews soon too. I should also do some Xmas shopping, but I hate crowds and am having such a productive day that I dunno if I'll get downtown...

Me x

18 December 2006

More Science News!

This time from this weeks Nature update.
It appears doctors have decided that for women on the pill there's no real reason why they should stop taking it for a few days a month - just so they can menstruate. This makes perfect sense and I suspect a fair few women were probably doing that anyway. More info on the test can be found here. There maybe a possible side effect of increased potential for blood clots. Why am I even posting this? Cos my main research interest is sex, and if I have to talk about reproduction it helps to read about it :-)

And in other cool science news a baby Plesiosaur has been excavated in Antartica (see here). Coolness factor? Very cool indeed. A candidate for the reptile cool wall - should Jeremy Clarkson ever move to something a bit slower moving. It's apparently a very well preserved skeleton and its a juvenile (no cool names for juv plesiosaurs sorry!). Juvenile bones don't form fossils very well which is why this is exciting. Why care about Plesiosaurs? Well strangely they are going to feature in the still to be written Anapsid v Diapsid debate blog.


17 December 2006

Din dins

I got a bit inspired and ended up cooking quite a bit yesterday. Here's the menu:
* caramelised red onion, olives and feta in large vol-au-vent cases
* slow roast mushrooms with parsley pesto dribbled over
* cucumber cups with creme fraiche and salmon roe
* white pizza (home made base, potatoes, ricotta, parmesan, garlic, chedder. white mushrooms) - a favourite of F W deClerk
* blanched beans and strawberry salad in a strawberry vinaigrette

It was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon, slaving in the kitchen :-)

me. xx

15 December 2006

Smoking, Viagra and Kofi Annan

A subject title you didn't think you'd see...

News: Scottish smokers ended up getting Viagra instead of an anti-smoking drug.
I love computer glitches. I should take up smoking...

I was reading Kofi Annan's comments on 'what the world needs now' - he hadn't titled it that, but hell, it makes for better reading. It seemed to me that essentially he was saying that by having rogue powerful states, the US being the example he was using (obliquely), the power of a democracy such as the UN is much reduced. That makes sense. Two other points he made struck me; firstly that States cannot confront global challenges alone. I'm thinking that the current global warming crisis is a good example of that. Interestingly on the previous page of the paper there was an article on the Artic icecap melting at a prodigious rate. Is it perhaps the place of the UN to sort out a global policy for global warming and carbon emissions. And then enforce that? I'm picking that at least one country (well ok, two since Aussie won't depart from the Bush love-in) won't be too keen on that. The other major point I got from his article was that the UN Security Council (oops nearly wrote sexual council) needs to be reformed with its membership reflecting the world as it is, not the world as it was in 1945.

Love, B


This one is a bit delayed cos our WebSense server decided blogspot was a bad site :-)

I went to the Arts Faculty graduation yesterday, to accept a diploma for Frances. Went with Jos, Liz and Steve and the four of us wandered across the stage to accept the diploma in SSR (France hadn’t finished her thesis for the MA). I thought that was a nice gesture by VUW. Even if it was a lot harder than I thought – actually I didn’t have any idea how I was going to be. But it was good, we chatted to a few people afterwards, nice to see have a chat to David Norton, whose lectures in first year we both enjoyed. Even if we had no idea of each other then – it was a standard joke that I could remember Rach from those lectures, but couldn’t remember the more diminutive member of her retinue :-)
We headed out for dinner (at KK, a nice touch, even if it is my fav restaurant as well...) then came home. Sleep didn’t come too easy and I ended up reading George’s new book til 2ish.
Thanks to Alex for the Ashes updates btw.

13 December 2006

Mammals in NZ

Hi all, in a change from movie and music reviews...I present the third M, mammals. A really important paper has just been published in the Proceedings of the Nat Academy by Trevor Worthy et al concerning the first mammalian fossils to be found in New Zealand. The NewScientist summary can be found here, and the online version of the paper (if you have access to PNAS) here. Actually that takes you to the abstract which everyone can get to.

So why is this interesting? The general version of the history of NZ biota has been that NZ didn't have many mammals - the exceptions being bats (three species). The absence of mammals led to the development of our unique flora and fauna, in particular the diverse reptilian and avian fauna using niches that mammals would normally occupy. And lets not even start on the weta as a mouse :-)
This has always seemed a bit suspect when you think about all the lands NZ was joined to as part of Gondwanaland, all of which have mammals. The problem stems from a poor fossil record in NZ. Geologically NZ has been a bit like Divine Brown, up and down rather quickly...so old hills and lakeshores where fossils may have been are now buried deep underground, or in the middle of mountains.

This paper details further exploration in the St Bathans, Central Otago region which has previously produced a sphenodontid, a crocodile, lizards, bats and birds dating around 19-16 million years ago (MYA). Phylogenetic analysis of the mammal sample suggested a basal mammal that isn't a monotreme (baby monotremes are called puggles, how cool is that?!). Dating of the fossil post Oligocene drowning (OD) is important. NZ was reduced to a small archipelago around 30-25 MYA (Oligocene) which would have caused extinction of some, and a severe bottleneck to other flora and fauna. Finding this fossil, which is significantly different to other mammals alive at the same time (Worthy et al compared it to Australian fossils) demonstrates that NZ had its own endemic mammalian fauna that survived the OD. Therefore our unique reptile and avian fauna evolved in the presence of mammals.

The fossil, and its absence from Australia, causes more problems for the recent suggestion that NZ was entirely under water during the OD period and that all of our unique biota was post-Oligocene. Worthy et al acknowledge that it is possible the mammal dispersed to NZ post-OD, but absence of any major adaptations for swimming (and no evidence for flight) argue against that. This means that there are at least four major high levels groups of animals that lived only in NZ and haven't been found anywhere else since the Mesozoic era - tuatara, NZ frogs, wrens and now the mammal.

George Gibbs has just published a really interesting book on how the NZ flora and fauna evolved called Ghosts of Gondwana. Apparently UnityBooks are the cheapest place to buy it.


10 December 2006

Bond, Cave and Depp

Movie review time. First up was another viewing of the Nick Cave movie The Proposition basically an Australian western. The first time I saw this movie I came away thinking it was one of the best Aussie flix I'd seen, and would probably make a Top10 if I ever made one. The weekend viewing confirmed that. Really interesting script concerning the British colonial attitude to enforcement. Ray Winstone's character is the Captain who has to capture an outlaw and his brothers who had raped, murdered and burnt a family. The Captain captures the youngest brother (Mikey - a simpleton) and Guy Pierce's character Charlie Burns. He sends Charlie off to find his older brother with the Proposition of swopping him for Mikey - otherwise he'll hang Mikey. What follows is a really interesting exploration of the characters, the Captain being ordered by effeminate boss (David Wenham) to flog to death Mikey. The Captains relationship with his wife (mmm Emily Watson...), Charlie's relationship with his brother Arthur etc. The colonial attitudes to Aborigines is also looked at in, um, graphic detail.
As you might have guessed, this movie is getting a big thumbs up from me. The level of violence has been described as high, but I'd disagree with that. The violence is very quick and in the hands of a lesser (Hollywood?) director it probably would have been made OTT. In this film its more suggested and quick shots, and let's be realistic, colonial Australia was unlikely to be a bunch of flower arrangers...

Next up was the Johnny Depp, Samantha Morton and John Malkovich vehicle The Libertine, this movie was about the debaunched life of the Lord of Rochester. Acting was superb, story was full of breasts and sex and literature, and the costume, period setting (Charles II) was great. I got the feeling that the story was at times subsumed for sex (and no, I can't believe I wrote that!) but it was a good movie. Depp is particularly good although I kept getting flashbacks to his character in Sleepy Hollow, Malkovich is fantastic as Charles II. For some reason I've never been the biggest fan of John M, but he gave Chuckles II a really good vibe all deep and thoughtful. I enjoyed it not as much as I hoped, but definitely worth a spin.

Finally: wandered along to the Embassy to see the new Bond movie. No point giving a IMDB for that one. Came away happy as it is a good movie. At times I think the scripting could have been a bit tighter as certain scenes drag a bit, and the love spin in the middle seemed too long and superfluous. Unless the viewer is really dumb and needs to be bludgeoned. Daniel Craig is excellent, I'd said a few years ago after LayerCake that he'd make an excellent Bond, and then got roundly laughed at. Screw you bastards I was right!!! Craig was excellent, really physical and can act. It did help that he had a reasonable script to work with. Didn't think much of the Bond girl, she seemed a bit lost onscreen. So yeah a reasonable movie, a bit long, but quite enjoyable and lots of explosions and stuff.

Love, b

9 December 2006

Sea of Love

No not a summary of my lovelife - sorry - more a comment on Tom Waits cover of Sea of Love. For what was a saccharine schmaltzy song by the Honeydrippers, Tom has reinterpreted it in Tom style. It now seems to be more about a dirty sleazy lowlife, an ode to perverts if you will.


There was something in the paper the other I thought I might comment on. But its gone now.
And to the nitpickers who have complained about my typing/grammatical structure in this blog - this is designed for my stream of consciousness rants, not structured writing, it's (notice correct use of the apostrophe) a nice break from all the other writing I have to do. So eh, I care not!

Big ups to Apple for giving us iTunes NZ store. Haven't found anything I want yet, but eh early days.

Ciao, B

4 December 2006

Good stuff!! and bloody officemate

Woohoo I checked my mail yesterday and found lots and lots of CDs. Isn't it good when stuff you ordered months ago and forgot about turn up? And when Scottish Neil sends me stuff :-) So in my pile of things to listen to I have:
* Tom Waits - Orphans (ahhhh Tom....)
* Dredg - Live at the Fillmore
* Spocks Beard - Spocks Beard
* Sparklehorse - Dreamt for light years in the belly of the mountain
* Wolverine - Still
* Mew - Frengers (more people should hear this band...)
* Kelly Joe Phelps - Tunesmith Retrofit
* Various Artists - Colours are brighter

My coffee cup had personality. A patina if you will, built up over many months/years of just dumping the dregs out and not washing it. In a shocking turn of events my officemate (knowing full well what he was doing, cos he was laughing this morning) put it through the dishwasher! It's now sparkling clean. And scaring me.

Oh well back to see the chromosomes (which are looking good today).

Smoochies, me xxx

3 December 2006

Christmas lights

Now I'm not usually an advocate for violence or wanton destruction. No really. Focussed aggression sure...

But in this weekends DomPost there is an article about some 'vandals' who have destroyed $500 worth of christmas house lights. This is apparently bad. I'm not so sure though. Am I the only person who thinks the idea of lighting up your house over christmas is a really stupid and dumb idea? You spend bollox loads of money to buy lights and then spend more to run them. And all you've achieved is to make visual pollution and cause massive traffic jams as rubberneckers cruise by slowly. So I'm thinking the 'vandals' may need to rewarded or at least commissioned to destroy more house lights...
The article included some wonderful lines "...leaving damaged plastic Santas strewn across the front lawn and a metre-high reindeer on its side." and my favourite "'It is a pity I didn't have a couple of thousand volts going through the eight leads {snip} that would have made their eyes light up a bit' 70-year-old Mr Marley said."

Ahh there's the christmas spirit...

Love, scrooge...

2 December 2006

Ashes II

This from the BBC live scoring website:
Pietersen is seeing it like a Queensland water melon at the moment and hooks Lee through mid-wicket for four

hee hee I have no idea what that means. But damm its great!

I'm quite liking their live scoring, its quirky and can be found http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/cricket/england/6201018.stm

Bloody Windows users

There are silly people in this world. Every few weeks someone will ask me 'my computer doesn't work very well, can you look at' I sigh, state I'll need cash or wine (or crayfish) and begin looking. Most of the time it's due to expired antivirus definitions. Like the current case. They are (or were) running Nortons security centre. Not my first choice for AV software, but hey there were trying. Although this was negated by a) the defs being 18 months out of date and b) none of the windows security updates being installed. It's akin to going to a gay bar, throwing a bucket of water over you, dropping the soap and saying last one in is a het-boy.
So here's my advice to all you windows users out there, and I'll be the first to admit that yes this will cut down my alcohol/cash/seafood income. But thats the kind of hit I'll take for you!!!

* run an upto date operating system. Thats WinXP (preferrably Pro) or Vista. Not 2000, 98, 95. Or switch to Linux (ubuntu/kubuntu is my favourite).
* run Windows Update (under Tools menu in Internet explorer while connected to the internet). This will pull down the number of security updates for the machine
* run Office updates (found here)
* update your antivirus program, if you don't have one and dont want to play with soap, try using a free one. I tend to run the AVG freeware which can be found here
* remember to update your antivirus program. most of them can be set to remind you if you are a forgetful fish like creature, every 7 days should be fine
* antispyware. either spybot or Microsoft antispyware would be a good place to start.

For those of you follow these simple bits of info, and feel immense gratitude to me, send me alcohol, cash or food. I shall send you big respect and love.


Me xx