30 August 2007

Mac-ery and Movies

There could be a few posts today as I'm working from home. Hopefully the boss ain't reading this :p

Firstly things Mac. My new baby shipped yesterday. She's a Powerbook Pro 15" 2.4ghz.

I would also like to offer big big ups to two programs on the Mac. I've used similar ones on PCs - even written doco on how to use them. But the Mac versions are soooo much easier.
Should one be backing up those home movies from DVD I would recommend:
* Mac the Ripper - to rip the DVD to your harddrive
* HandBrake - to rip the VOB files to avi, divx, mp4, appletv, ipod etc etc

Went and saw the Bourne Ultimatum last night with Suz (another brunette). I'd been a bit slack and have only just seen the first two. Which I thoroughly enjoyed. I suspect the third one might be the best. Interesting style of movie making, most action movies focus on mid-long shots particularly during explosions. The director here focuses closely on the people, the action is almost secondary to the individuals. Sure there isn't much character development, but Matt Damon, aside from being a violent little bugger, does induce levels of empathy. The action is excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Yeah I know it's pretty brief review, but it's an action movie. It's good, it delivers. Wot else can I say?!

Love, B

Gentlemen, start your VISA's

I can't give any useful reviews of the following music, as it hasn't been released yet. But in the spirit of a) support the indie lads and pre-order from them direct and b) hey they haven't disappointed me yet, you should definitely check out:

Pineapple Thief: an absolutely wonderful band - it's a shame more people don't get to hear them. Like indie-guitar era Radiohead? Check PThief out. The new 'album' is available for pre-order from here. While you're there, I'd recommend Little Man and Variations on a Dream. Particuarly VOAD for the OK Computer fans out there.

Fish has a new album coming out soon too. 13th Star. The artwork, again by the legendary Mark Wilkinson, is definitely up with the best he's ever produced for Fish/Marillion. You can check it out on Mark's website here.

I realise the less adventurous of you are likely to want some samples before buying so:
Pineapple Thief

Wow, how many links can I have in one post? Link-a-licious!!!

Love and daisy bothering, B.


Articles on the news this morning reminded me I'm a problem gambler.

My problem is I support Wellington.


29 August 2007

Telecom are Twats

So the phone account was in Frances' name, and I hadn't bothered changing it - cos they wanted me to pay a disconnect/reconnect fee. Which seemed stupid anyway given it was all coming out of *the same bank account*.

Since I've closed that account I got a final statement saying I was in credit. I rang last night and spoke to a towey bastard called Tahi who said they couldn't pay it back to me, because the account wasn't in my name - and that I'd need to get Estate administrator rights and send them a copy. I pointed out that this was for sums over $11,000 as I'd checked with Public Trust who were (eventually) quite helpful. Tahi the twat refused to put me onto Grant his supervisor. Ahh customer service.

Having dealt with service desks in the past, and their erratic implementation of policy, I rang back today and the lovely chick on the phone sorted it. In less than 5 minutes. Without even asking for anything. Sheesh.


28 August 2007

MMG theme song II

After careful consideration and much discussion, helped in no way by the feedback from you lovely readers, we have decided on:
Curtis Mayfield - Big Mac.

Not only a damm cool track by the man, it also has sex noises in it, so if the MMG starts dabbling in p_rn flix, we're sorted!

Trying to track down a youtube of it.

Love, B.

27 August 2007


My favourite band and their original singer, Fish, reunited for Market Square Heroes.

As Fish said in Margaret, a dream fulfilled :)

Thanks to Neil here's a video of MSH.

Love, B

22 August 2007

MMG - theme song

Our little Mac users group at work, recently renamed as the "Militant Mac Group" or MMG needs a theme song. Suggestions by less polite workmates have included Mark Morrisons "Return of the Mac" but that doesn't really fit us.

Our current fav is Mac the Knife, and probably this version by Nick Cave.

Any other suggestions welcome.

Love, B

21 August 2007

Fancy a pack of Camels?

An Australian women was killed by her pet Camel as it apparently tried to mount her for sex.

The report describes the "fate of the camel was not known."

I suspect the following:


The title of this article pretty much says it all: Dwarf gets penis stuck to vacuum cleaner.

See the efforts I go to for you lot?

Love, B.


So I'm reading the Sunday Star Times yesterday (well my mind was *elsewhere* on Sunday...), and came across the article detailing that Accused Killers get $1.5m aid (legal aid). On that title you would assume the article refers to:
- all legal aid in NZ for one year for people accused of murder or manslaughter.
But no, this referred to the top 10 most expensive murder cases over the last 5 years.

Now my first opinion on this was that $1.5m per year for legal aid didn't seem that bad. Surely if you want to have a balanced legal system, then fair representation might, just might, be a good thing. Given the State has, in theory, more resources than Jo and Josephine Bloggs and if they were accused of murder, then providing them with representation should make the State have to work for a prosecution.

But that isn't what pissed me off. It's the beat-up to create a drama by not revealing the facts - aside from IT'S COSTING TAX PAYER MONEY!!!
Firstly, 1.5 over 5 years comes to, what $300,000 per year. In no way is that excessive. There were 10 murderers in the list, so that works out to $150,000 per trial. To put that into perspective, if we assume there are 4m people in NZ then per murder trial we are all contributing roughly 4c. And yes I'm aware not everyone pays taxes, so it will be higher than that. To ensure a balanced legal system, I don't think thats a huge cost!

So my points:
- she should have spelt out that this was over 5 years
- she should have given a total for how much legal aid was per year
- she should have put that in perspective WRT the NZ population

So if anyone knows Leigh van der Stoep, tell her she's an idiot.

Love, B.

20 August 2007

But I didn't inhale!

I hope this blog doesn't come back to haunt me when I eventually run for political office under an ultra-conservative ticket.

I didn't inhale.

Sunday proved to be one of those more interesting days. I'd been co-opted into an ESR study to measure THC (active ingredient in marijuana) levels in saliva. There were three groups, smokers, passive-smokers and cookie munchers. I'd managed to get our posse in as cookie munchers, so around 9am me, Rich, Michelle and Amy nibbled our way through a 'special' afghan. Each cookie contained one NIDA marijuana cigarette - which is apparently 3.4% THC (does it show I'm reading from the protocol?). We were tested reasonably frequently with a saliva based dip stick (can't find any pix on the web sorry), which as the study progressed became hourly. Urine was collected pre ingestion, immediately post ingestion and at the end of the study t=9hr.

So how was it? Well being totally unfamiliar with the concept of cookies *ahem* I can report that this one kicked - seriously. All four of us were surprised at how 'baked' (see I'm down with the lingo too - thanks Tim Leary and Porcupine Tree) we were, and it kicked in early - roughly 30-45mins after eating. It lasted for a very very long time, in fact when we finished the study I wasn't feeling entirely normal. Turning immediately to alcohol may not have been the best move either. We watching movies (Dogma), and played a lot of Buzz on the PS2. Very fun day actually.

But so the rest of you impressionable kiddies don't get the wrong idea, here's a trailer to the absolute classic anti-drug movie Reefer Madness.

Love and cookies, B

18 August 2007

Exclamations of audio joy

I've always had a bit of a love affair with LPs. The first music I ever bought was on vinyl - Genesis "Invisible Touch" and A-ha "Hunting High and Low". I dallied with tapes a bit, but I never quite 'got' them - except as storage for other peoples albums. I loved the texture of the LP, the large artwork (ahhh Roger Dean...), the feeling of sliding it on the turntable. Watching the needle move downwards and hearing the soft 'clunk' as the needle, the amp and the speakers all come together to produce a warm, sometimes crackly music. Ahhh.

As a vinyl junkie I slipped somewhat in the collecting stakes during the early 00s, just Marillion and Fish EPs, LPs, picture discs and singles from Porcupine Tree. Then Neil (Psychochicken) arrived in my fair town of Wellington. That bugger rekindled the fire, prompting me to collect the No-Man, Porcupine Tree LPs. Damm it. And my jazz collection has increased cos I love the sound of slightly crackly vinyl with jazz.

Which brings me to what I'm listening to at the moment, before the slip in collecting I picked up a few of the EMI100 releases including Jethro Tull's 'Thick as a Brick' - and damm that sounds fine on new 180gm high quality vinyl. Mmmmm. Very very tasty.

My new TV has just arrived and I've set it up to Sd2 of 'Brick. My AppleTV looks stunning on it, and I've got Mr H warbling away on 'Runaway Girl' at the mo from his h Natural DVD (again with thanks to the chicken).

I've cleaned up the tapes, found some that might be worth something - mainly Queen singles most still shrinkwrapped - and am considering food. I think I need some explosive 'boy' movie to watch tonight with some wine on the new baby.

love em vinyl.

It's a weird morning

I'm procrastinating - trying to avoid finishing writing a paper. So I'm chilling out after one coffee (I've run out of beans...eeekkkk) listening to Tom Waits - Alice, on vinyl (whoot!) and throwing out tapes. Yes, audio tapes. Scary but true.
And awaiting the arrival of my new TV.
In true music geek style, I'm having to go through my database and delete these tapes out of it too.

Me xx

17 August 2007

It was 25 years ago today...

Sergeant Pepper went digital.

Actually it was Abba.

Happy birthday CD, and ya didn't kill vinyl!! nah nah nah nah

b xx

15 August 2007

Me Cans I missed me Cans

My headphones died last week. A nice pair of Sennheiser HD415s which I was particularly attached to. The sound was lovely, they cut out stupid people talking (mostly). They looked good, and in winter they kept my ears warm.
My one complaint was that the plug and cable into the iPod was a little weak. This caused me to get a replacement set of 'phones (under warranty) and caused the final death.

So after much hunting review sites I settled on the bigger brother of the HD415, the HD555. In the patois of yoof, 'Like, Oh My God!', these appear to have a 'purer' sound, it's not flatter, more dispersed. Did that make sense? The sound appears to expand better in the open space before it hits my ears. There's more outside noise cut out, and they are very very comfortable (like the HD415s, just not as hot).

Why yes I am happy with them.

Love, aroha (not arohata, but to any inmates reading this - hi!), B xxx

13 August 2007

Phoenix Foundation

A wonderful way to start Tuesday, Phoenix Foundation's third album will be released on the 8th of October, and the first single, Bright Grey, on the 20th of August - with a video by Taika Waiti.
More info from Amplifier.

and The Phoenix Foundation's website, and look under News.

Great stuff!!

b xx

Wellington Sinfonia

I had tickets to the Wellington Sinfonia concert on Saturday night.

First up was John Psathas' piece Three Psalms, a piano concerto. This is a really great piece, and as the conductor, Marc Taddei said, Psathas is one of New Zealands best composers. Lovely lyrical composition without sacrificing tune for interest. Shame it didn't show in this performance. The opening felt very very muddy without note distinction in the cello's and basses, although this improved somewhat through the performance. The biggest problem, and since this is a piano concerto, it is a problem - is that the piano kept getting drowned out.
I realise the acoustics are not as good at the Town Hall as the MFC, but even still the orchestra should be able to adjust !!
Parts of the piece were fine, but overall not a good performance and it was a shame not to be able to hear Michael Houston tinkling the ivories.

The second piece was, I'm guessing, the reason most people had turned up - Beethoven's 9th. I think the balance between Psathas and Beethoven was good, both are lyrical composers, and the more people who get exposed to Psathas the better.

The first two movements of the 9th have always struck me as the realisation of mortality/human condition/however you want to phrase it. I didn't get that from this performance. Again with the muddy playing in the lower registered instruments, and the middle (viola's and wind) seemed a bit lacking, although that may have been the acoustics. The second movement was a bit of a nightmare for the horn player who seemed to be fluffing entries left right and centre. The third movement was much better, in fact very nicely played. The third and fourth movements seem to me to be realisation of hope (or if for the God types, salvation) that his (Beethoven) music will continue his memory. The choir got this and the fourth movement was good. Except for the female vocalists - the males were great - but the slightly shrill screetching from the soprano wasn't very attractive.

I liked the way that Taddei pushed the tempi a bit, although for my money the second was a little fast - but I wasn't complaining.

All in all, not that impressed. Probably a 5 or 6/10, the Psathas missed the soloist, and the Beethoven lacked passion.

Love, B.

11 August 2007

Thank you MS Word

In the continuing vein of small blog posts...(which reminds me I must organise Anapsid v Diapsid III)

MS Word spellcheck wanted to change paraphyletic to prophylactic.


10 August 2007

Argghhhh 2

And no classical, no NZ Dunedin sound, and even more more more worrying, no Phoenix Foundation. Sorry Luke, sorry Sam...

Damm you again Neil, Paul and Noel.


having just looked at my top10 i now want to change it.

damm you to hell neil. or at least to the pub.

mmm pub.

see ya.

The Weller-Gallagher Challenge

This particular meme courtesy of Paul Weller, Noel Gallagher, The Guardian and Psychochicken.

For God's sake this is bloody impossible, but for the sake of Psychochicken and the Guardian, here's this evenings top10 (following a couple of bottles of very very nice stout).

marillion - afraid of sunlight
radiohead - street spirit (fade out)
wainwright - hallelujah (narrowly edging out buckley's version)
snow patrol - run
beatles - lady madonna
porcupine tree - arriving somewhere but not here
queen - the show must go on
bob dylan - highlands (or blind willie mctell)
muse - absolution
dire straits - telegraph road

Have fun kids.
b xxx

7 August 2007

Grrr Arggghhhh ... nibble


sphenodon is a radioactive squirrel!!


From Go-Quiz.com

Is it a crime? Pt II

Ok time to launch my personal view of Starfcks on you all.

I like them.

No really.

The twats who drink there are kept well away from my haunts. That's good.

Although I would love to see Deluxe's or Midnight's response to "I'd like a mocha-wacca-docha-fucka-chino'.

I'm wearing jeans not chino's.


6 August 2007

Is it a crime?

To hit Starfcks coffee from someone, and then offer to buy them a decent coffee?

My mind is wandering...

FilmFest#9: Severance

A horror comedy? But of course I'm going to see it. Severance, is very funny movie about a bunch of office workers off in Hungary for a team-building exercise. There's the usual bunch off office misfits who should never hang out together, led with considerable ineptitude by Tim McInnery (of Blackadder fame). Think the Office, but funny - and gruesome. They begin to die after spotting some people watching them... We laughed and we laughed as the team geek's foot got caught in a bear trap and the team kept opening it, only to let it snap shut on him again. Oh hilarity!

Really enjoyed this flick, funny, black humour, great flow, excellent acting and violence. Ahhh happy times.

The highlight: tricky, but the rocket launcher scene had us hoarse...

b x

4 August 2007


I taped the Video hits of Radiohead on C4 last night. Mmmmmmmmmmm. They are rather good ain't they.

I'm currently singing along to the divine Fake Plastic Trees (btw Marillion do a great cover of this...)


FilmFest#8: Scott Walker 30th century man

I'm a big fan of the music doco's, and yesterday it was a close run thing between heading to the Joe Strummer doco, or going to the Scott Walker doco. I thought the Strummer might be more likely to come back so headed to Walker. I'm glad I did. I've been aware of Walker for years, but have never really checked him out, aside from the Walker brothers tracks that pop up occasionally on the radio (Make it easy on yourself; In my room; Sun ain't gonna shine etc). Apparently none of the people in the band were actually called 'Walker'. Scott left and went solo near the end of the 60s and released four albums, titled (creatively) Scott 1,2,3 and 4. Scott 4 is the album i'd been meaning to check out for some time as it gets name checked by a lot of people I like.

So what happened then? Well Scott 4 was ignored by a record buying public and Scott kinda gave up until a brief reunion with the Walker Brothers led to another record contract. Since then he's been releasing avant-garde experimental stuff which on first hearing sounded like a mix between David Bowie (the Nathan Adler/Earthling era) and Tom Waits. So yeah, I'll be buying some. The doco was based loosely on interviews with Walker while he was recording his 2006 album, and traced his music, life and inspirations. For someone whose lyrics are so dark he came across as a pretty relaxed wee munchkin. Interviews with various people including Bowie (who was also exec producer), Damon Albarn, Jarvis Cocker (of course!), Lulu (who came across better than normal), Brian Eno and various others. Strong links between the French composer Jaques Brel and Scott's early solo works were drawn, which is where I'd heard of him. Was it Nick Cave who covered some Brel? Or was it a review of Waits?

His current stuff sounds fantastic - particularly if you've been primed on Waits (Black Rider, Bone Machine maybe?) - the early stuff although it's lush with strings and could easily pass as pop - is saved from saccharine David Cassidy territory by the biting lyrics and imagery. Complaints? Well I got a bit pissed off by the directors insistence in putting some kind of screensaver type graphics up whenever a song was playing - the latter ones were fine, the earlier Walker songs were boring animation.

Other than that, I'm really glad I went. It was a fascinating doco of an artist who is going to cost me money soon. Which I guess is a good sign that I liked it! On the plus side he's not prolific, since the late 70s, it's been an album every 10 years..
It's on a couple more times, and I reckon any of you who like music (yeah 'like' in the same way that I 'like' Marillion) should go.

Steel mill has gone heavier in the second half: marduk and darkthrone have been the highlights.

FilmFest#7: Brand upon the brain!

For those of you wondering, FF#6 is Leonard Cohen in July, I decided to include it since it is at the FilmFest...

I caught Guy Maddins earlier work, The Saddest Music in the World a couple of years ago and loved it. Very slow, but beautiful and elegiac, both in storyline and photography. Guy sort of styles his movies in the 20s and 30s and shoots in a style reminiscient of the era - and the actors wear makeup similar to movies of that era.
So Brand upon the Brain!, loosely the story involves Guy Maddin returning to his childhood home before his mother dies. The rest of the story is set in his childhood where young Guy who lives in a lighthouse with orphans, falls in love with a beautiful teenage detective who turns up to investigate strange goings on. Guys mother is a control freak and keeps track of Guy, his sister and the orphans via inventions (aerophone). The detective that Guy fell in love with decides it would be easier to investigate the mystery as a boy and dresses up as her brother. So Sis falls for him/her. This explains the lesbian aspect in the filmfest description. Guy's father dies, is reborn, and tries to make Guys mother young again. Yep it all makes sense...

The story is filled in by voiceover by Isabella Rossellini, and cue cards splashed on the screen. The photography is again wonderful, interesting and mesmerising. The storyline held together more than other movies of his and the pacing seemed quicker. For all that, it's not fast movie - more of a melt into it and enjoy the beauty and surrealism. Gloves of kissing and gloves of Chastity? Yeah might pass on those.

For those of you who like movies which are different, definitely check Maddin out - and Brand upon the Brain! is a good place to start.

Me x

PS: this has been written while watching the Steel Milll; so far we've had Motorhead, Samson, Bruce Dickinson (killing floor); machinehead and err someone else, good episode!

1 August 2007

FilmFest#5: Taxidermia

I was really looking forward to this movie as I'm a big fan of the director György Pálfi having enjoyed his earlier film Hukkle. This new movie, Taxidermia, concerns a family of physical mutants, and the escapades various generations get up to. A word of warning, if internal body parts, vomiting, forced eating, body manipulation and fornication are likely to disturb you - then you may want to get back to Bambi.

Right it's not worth trying to describe the plot, particular highlights included the world eating champion marrying the female world eating champing and having offspring. Their comment on him at birth 'well he's rather small' - junior became a taxidermist much to the disgust of his father. The parents separate and Jnr looks after dad who tries to breed large eating cats. Who then eat him, or at least dismember his huge body. An art installation competes with taxidermy - reminded me slightly of Anatomie (with the plastication process).

So a review? Well I liked it alot, interesting, graphic, amusing scenes and a refreshing take on storytelling. The quality of the print we had wasn't great in places. One thing that did strike me was the music, rather than the Hollywood OTT soundtrack, this one was delicate. In particular during tense moments the director and composer realised music wasn't essential, the story could carry the emotion. Now thats a refreshing change.

Definitely recommend this movie to those of you who like something different, refreshing and interesting.

Me x