29 October 2008

(slightly) pished post

The hot date went very well. But we parted as friends, but will see each other again. Probably tomorrow infact. Is that too early? I dunno. Dating is so tricky.

In other news, cavemen were druggies. No really. I read this while drinking...see:
Scientists believe that the drug being used was cohoba, a hallucinogen made from the beans of a mimosa species.
The article here.

An appropriate video would appear to be this:

Love, sleep drunkish b.

I have a date tonight

And it's with my second longest running relationship. If MicrowavePie boy is #1, then Marillion (the Family) are second - seeing as he got me into them.
the newest member of the Family has arrived in Wellington. Happiness is the Road. I'm now curled up with a cheeky wine, dinner and my very very hot date.

In order to impress her, for it can only be a her, I have slow roast mushrooms and red onions, with blue cheese, some caesar salad, and some chick pea patties with a variety of pickles and chutneys. The wine is a 2004 Zinfandel from Kemblefields, which is rocking along with the dinner, and dessert will be the remaining blue cheese.

I'm on track 4, and I'm loving it. As per usual it will take some time to absorb her, let her get under the skin, caress me, whispering... ahhh good times.


28 October 2008


Ok I'll admit straight up I don't like gadgets much. Which probably comes as a surprise to most people, but really I can count on one hand the gadgets I have (ipod, laptop, appletv). And I hate phones. Really hate. I hate their ringing. I hate people wanting me to do stuff, and i hate their general intrusion into daily life. Which is why i don't have a landline at home.

I like text messaging and watching my phone ring, just so I know who I'm ignoring.

So when work told me I needed to put my mobile number on the business card I said 'no' it's a personal phone, so you won't be doing that. They said fine they'll get me a work phone. I got excited at that point and said, can I have an iphone. They said no, and my enthusiasm disappeared. I ended up a with a Palm Treo 700wx. It's a hefty wee thing, but does fit OK in my pocket, and TBH I'm a hefty wee thing too. It runs Windows Mobile and lets me read my emails and get reminders of meetings. That's proven to be very useful and I like it for that. The layout is mostly Windows-y so I can navigate around it pretty easily.
The battery seems crap, like 2-3 days (max) when ive got it checking emails and on phone. And it doesn't seem to have a phone only option (ie no Outlook), I'm not saying it doesn't have one, but I haven't found it. And I can't be arsed reading manuals. I tried. I really did. But got bored and found beer instead.

And my personal phone? well the SonyEricsson thing I had died. Badly. So I got an iphone. It's like sex, I can't get enough of it. Looks great, is really simple to use, does everything I want a phone to do (aside from MMS, but there's a hack for that), and syncs with my Mac - which was always a driving issue for a new phone. The SonyEriccson did ok via BlueTooth tho'.
It's simple to use, the keypad is easier to use than the Treo (which isn't too bad - looks crap, but works ok) and typing messages is quicker than I thought it would be. I would have thought my fingers would be too big and i'd get the wrong letters, but no. It's just great. And it looks even better!

I haven't ever felt this kind of need for a phone before. I even answer phone calls on it !!

So there is another gadget in my life, and I can see this one making life easier - which is my usual issue with gadgets, in large they don't add anything. This one - syncs my calendars, organises my shopping lists, allows me to dump to-do's on it including shopping lists, can check the weather, tap out emails, listen to music (if I ever get around to putting any on there), watch movies (if I get around to that). Oh heaven and joy :)

me (somewhat infatuated)

22 October 2008


This blog was going to be a review of the scotch tasting last night. But it's not. Instead it's going to discuss my job. An almost unheard of thing in my ramblings about beer, whisky and music.

As many of you know I recently departed the world of science for the world of IT, in which I've dabbled for some time. Dipping my toes, but refusing to get anything more than soggy socks. My disgust at the state of science, and organisation thereof in NZ, caused me to apply for a Team Leader role. Which I got, and am enjoying. Full immersion to continue the watery analogy.
One reason for the hiring was to implement a knowledge base - using KCS methodology. Basically it's knowledge base management but from calls/incidents in real time and everyone gets to create the entries, and depending what status you are, some people get to edit others' entries. It's a bit more complicated than that, but it relies on everyone doing stuff (not just one person) and getting feedback and keeping the solution simple.

I think it's going well. We've discovered we do *a lot* more than we thought we did, which means we're still in the creation phase, rather than re-use phase of the entries.

What has been interesting is peoples response to this, as it is a paradigm change for some of them. Our ServiceDesk had had a complete turnover of staff, so they were in a WTF is going on here phase, so convincing them of the use was easy. My lot were more sceptical, about half of them thought it was a good idea. Some of the others just did it cos knew I'm not likely to let go of things if I think they are a good idea. And some were grumpy cos they like to hoard knowledge and be known as 'the expert' which is what I wanted to break. I didnt' see any wins there, and figure all of the team should be able to do, in theory, anything. Hells bells, I wrote one of these entries and got my boss (who is sooo not technical) to test it, by configuring server stuff.

The last couple of weeks I've been gathering data and putting it into various reports/charts for various presentations my boss and I are working on. This is where we found out we do far more than we thought. And at the meetings where we've been promoting some of the people to the 'you can edit others entries' phase, there have been some very unhappy campers. So many of them didn't get that the crux of this was formatting. It's all well and good writing a feckin' novel how to fix a problem - but if you can't write it so someone else can follow steps. What's the point?
The funniest was one of the non-english speakers (my boss likes hiring them, cos they make her laugh...) who we promoted above someone who thought he was excellent (he's not). Her explanation "I wrote them so I could follow them" was exactly the point.

So yeah I'm enjoying this at the moment. A mixture of analysis, cajoling, violence, manipulation and dictatorship. It all seems to fit my personality.

We did a presentation to a group of Wgtn support people this afternoon, which was interesting as well. the ones who see knowledge as a 'something we should do' vs those who see it as a cornerstone of support was quite obvious.

I'm writing this while listening to Albinoni Oboe concerti. As some CDs arrived which are going to take some time to absorb: Albinoni Oboe concerti; Calexico (new one); bob dylan bootleg v8; Rush snakes and arrows live; Telemann concerti; Lilburn Symphonies. And I hope the new Marillion arrives in the next day or so.

I'm also reading Sandman again. Ahhhh lovely. Back to that now.

Love, me

18 October 2008

New Pornograhers

S2H and I wandered along last Thurs. The blonde and I had had some cocktails in the office, then headed to the music quiz (our trad Thurs endeavour) where beer occurred, s2h turned up, quiz finished. Headed to gig, found mohitos. Info after that vague...

Martin Phillips (ex ?current? The Chills) was support. Just him and his guitar. It was good, not great, and as s2h mentioned, a bit sad he's still playing songs that were average 15 years ago. Sure Pink Frost is brillant, and worked reasonably well acoustic. But eh. I can't complain, Kayleigh?

The New Pornographers are great live. Great on album too. Indie-pop? I guess that's a label. Anyhoo brillant gig, lovely harmonies, great rhythm section. Infectious vibe, good audience. Definitely recommend them as a live act. Personally, of the three bands I've seen in the last fortnight, Yeasayer and WGC were better, but still New Pornographers are a great live.
Very quirky, fun lyrics.

Ok, so not much of a review, but eh I loved the gig and am really glad S2H made me go. My cunning plan to make him go, worked out well for both of us - since it made me go too.

What I wouldn't recommend: starting work at 630 the next morning. Or rather later that morning. I got home and into bed around 1. Thankfully my staff are now used to beer/whisky tastings/quiz nights/general debauchery from their beloved TL and can recognise the signs to be quiet and deal with problems themselves. Go empowerment. I am a brillant leader.


Eating with Sphen

From last weeks culinary adventures, 20 minutes max from start to finish (using the shortcuts detailed in the recipe).

Tom kar with dumplings
2x 400ml tins coconut cream
1/2 cup water
1T tom yam (sometimes yum) paste.
Mix over low heat
add: 1 small onion chopped; 2t grated palm sugar; 4 slices galangal; chopped small red chilli; sliced lemongrass; 8 kaffir leaves (I used 2t of kaffir leaves from a container with preserved leaves - cos it's a prick to find them fresh); 1/2 c chopped mushrooms.
Simmer for 10 mins.

About 10 dumplings (I used prawn and vege) either make or buy good quality, if frozen, microwave for 2 mins with a bit of water - covered.

Combine and serve.

Bloody marvellous, quick and reasonably cheap. Like me.

14 October 2008

Show me your fin, bigboy

From Nature news today, NZ researchers have discovered you can sex dolphins by looking at their fins. Males have more scar tissue and females have more scabs (phrased at patchy skin lesions in the news article).

Show me your fin bigboy!

It's not the size its the scarring!

It's been awhile since I had a science blog. this might be stretching it, but godamnit I'm taking it!!

This evening is working out nicely

I biked home. Which made me feel sweaty, hot and virtuous. The first two and the third do not frequently met.
Had a nice refreshing shower and made some dinner. Rigotoni, walnuts, blue cheese, mascarpone, lemon zest, parmesan, salt/pepper, parsley. Bloody marvelous. I've got some dessert, with pistachio gelato and chocolate sauce, some Wire to watch, and a beer to consume.

This maybe a perfect evening.


13 October 2008


It's been a good couple of week for live gigs here in Wellington. i've already blogged about Willard Grant Conspiracy, last week I caught Yeasayer - promoting their 2007 album 'All Hour Cymbols) . What an awesome gig. the band have quite a different sound, Simon Sweetman mused recently that he was wondering who of the new hip bands would push on to something new. His suggestion was Yeasayer. I'm not as sure, they are certainly unique, but only having one album makes it a bit hard to judge.
Sonically it can be summed up as 80s synth meets world meets prog. There are elements of CSN, Beach Boys, RealWorld artists (now there's a catchall!), bits of Talking Heads (but not enough to piss me off like TH) and then some widdly keyboard bits over strange rhythms that wouldn't be out of place on a Peter Gabriel record.
The crowd were really up for them, I'm not sure how much they'd heard from the band, but their infectious vibe (the bands, not the crowds, that came later) was, well, infectious. And the rhythms were cool - their drummer is incredible. the falsetto vocal acrobatics of the lead singer (all the band sing) were quite impressive too.

I really can't do this gig justice for how good it was, and how good and different the band are.

Sound samples are available here, and their main website is here.

me x

12 October 2008


Well yeah I know it was some time ago now, but I did make some notes with the intention of typing them in at some point. And, if I'm organised, I might add pictures.

I flew back to London for Andrew's stag do, a rather fun event. We even managed a few pints of cider at the Southwark Tavern, one of my favourite pubs - as its next door to the Borough Market. The cider day at the pub was complete with a grass floor and apple bobbing. And the potent cider? mmm yummy.

I flew into a very hot Krakow and made my way to the hostel, a lovely art deco building. We wandered into the square for a folk music gig. Enjoyed this, although the Hungarian group, who were apparently quite famous, had a brass section of the 'rip shit n bust' variety. No finesse at all, which ruined the performance somewhat for me.

Krakow is quite lovely, undamaged historic buildings, friendly (mostly) people, and flat. And cheap. I got the feel the place, although welcoming to visitors, and having a huge number of info kiosks, hasn't quite worked out how to market themselves.

Rather than the cheery comedic relief of Auchwitz I chose to explore the Art Deco display and the National Museum. I'md sure my soiled soul could have benefited from Auchwitz, but I'm less concerned with it, preferring to focus on the edification of my now. The Deco display turned out to be a modern artist working in the style of Deco. So that was crap. The National Museum was far better. Top floor had an extensive display of 20th c. Polish art, which was exactly why I wanted to do there. I loved this. There was, from my perspective, a unifying theme of darkness, frequently dispression, torment and pain. A pictorial equivalent of Sam Neill's 'Cinema of unease'? Having seen some Polish movies, I'd suggest NZs are pretty upbeat...suggesting the continual struggles, invasions, occupations etc have really damaged the Polish. But it was a wonderful exhibition, hard to single out highlights, but the comics/drawings were fascinating. The darkness of the subject matter, with the black and white drawing emphasising the starkness.

A recent donation of a major collection of 20th C art including Warhol and others provided a stark contrast with the insular Polish collection. No matter how perverse the subject matter, the pictures were all more upbeat than the Polish. I enjoyed the exhibition, but preferred the Polish.

Other floors of the museum explored the history of the Roman Catholic church in Poland. A history of Poland does, by necessity, revolve around the Church. As such many relics, finery, jewellery, stained glass windows etc were present.

For the military nutjob, a collection of Polish uniforms from the middle ages to the present day filled a sizeable area of one floor. Sadly not much musical history with only a msall corner of 'old' instruments, and none labelled very well. On the plus side they did have a hurdy-gurdy which was uber-cool.

why yes, I do want one. A hurdy-gurdy harmonium duet could be like soooo awesome dude!

the remainder of the floor consisted of jewellery, fashion, coins, furniture through the ages. Interesting, but aside from the 20th C glasswork, nothing really grabbed me.

A separate section presented and explained a number of Jewish artifacts. Not very interesting and personally I felt it lacked any context. Just seemed to be dumped there, cos they had to.

Beer in Poland wasn't very good. Which was surprising as I've had some excellent Polish beer. Sadly not on tap at any of the bars we went to. Food was, as expected, based around potatoes and cabbage. Not all that great. But in it's defence, it was cheap.

Krakow seems to like and value tourists, but isn't entirely sure how to deal with them - outside of the main square anyway. This seemed to lend the city an unspoilt effect, with traditional vibes rocking along nicely a block or two off the main area. Not too many loud Americans and not too busy. all in all, not great but I'd go back there.

Pictures to come.


10 October 2008

Brief Beer Report

Today was annoying, I'd ended up with large blisters on my feet and had ignored them on Thurs until the hobbling was drawing too many rude comments from my minions. they'll pay, oh god will they pay. So I worked from home and created 140 jobs for them to do - nah nah nah.
Very productive and I got to listen to lots of music at my kinda volumes, and it was lovely weather so the washings dry. Domestic goddess. That's me. Just don't ask me to speak. The illusion collapses then.

A brief beer report - I found one of my fav beers at Island Bay New World - St Peter's Fruit Beer - Grapefruit. Rather than a lambic, it's a traditional ale but with grapefruit. It's really lovely. Think Montheiths Radler, but good.
Yummy yummy yummy.
Great summer refreshing brew.


9 October 2008

Bela Tarr

The Man from London. I haven't seen any movies by him before (just checked imdb, and nothing is jumping out at me).
It's in black and white, or rather light and dark. The storyline is complex, more so than you'd imagine, but didn't appear to be the driving force of the movie. Rather a study of light, and absence of light, and how that can be used to focus attention. It is a very dark movie, both in story and lighting. The few brightly lit scenes burn bright, focussing story, driving the image into the viewer. Akin to how Turner focused his light (that's for the chicken...).
Movie? Hmmm slow, in the French Besson way. But it didnt annoy me the same way as most of Besson's movies. Possibly as the story was coherent, and did have a point. And there were no feckin' donkeys.
I enjoyed this, but I suspect I'll be in the minority. Had I been in another modd, I'd have hated this due to the long lingering shots which don't do anything (hence the Besson comment).


7 October 2008

pisht post

Much NZ red. Much NZ pinot in fact.

And  Yeasayer.

My god, what a band. 80s synth meets prog. I was in feckin' heaven. 

more of a review later, maybe. but they are great live.

and i have to go to work in 5 hours. and im very very drunk (at the time). woohoo fast show.

smoochies on your interesting bits, B.

5 October 2008

Of movies, music and beer

I have done pretty much nothing all weekend. Other than lie in bed and relax.

I've watched a fair number of movies recently, rather than indepth reviews I've decided to randomly mention some (not all).
I guess the trip to Berlin spiked an interest in war movies from the German perspective, so I hit Nick up and got:
Stalingrad - great movie, don't watch if you're feeling depressed, things don't end well. Engrossing movie tho'.
Cross of Iron - Sam Peckinpah does a war movie, from the German perspective. Meh it's ok, seems like a Western in places, and sounds like a US war movie. It's good, but over-all, I felt it's overrated (been awhile since I saw it).
Triumph of the Will - ahhh Leni Riefenstahl. It's not really a movie in the way the other three are, but as a documentary or even as a musical, it works brillantly. Described by imdb as 'the infamous propaganda film of the 1934 Nazi Rally in Nuremburg...', which is doing it a disservice. As a historical document, fascinating, as an expression of stage-craft - both movie and staging of the rallies, I suggest it's without peer. The film is apparently the best record of Nuremburg before it was bombed to buggery, and explores the city while following Hitler et al as they wander through it. Interesting look at the Hitler youth too, but by far the standout scenes are the rallies. Hitler was a very inspirational speaker, and who-ever did the stage management was superb (Speer? Riefenstahl?). I was hooked. Leni has had a bit of a redemption over the last few years and her stuff is more easily available, and doesn't have the same revulsion factor when you mention her name...
Downfall - probably the best of the four, looks at the last few weeks in Hitlers bunker in Berlin. Again the story was ruined by having the ending revealed too soon !!! but very well written, directed, acted movie - really enjoyed this one. Can't remember why I didn't see it at the movies...

In Bruges - new Colin Farrell vehicle. Worth watching, funny, but subtle and delicate movie about two hitmen hiding in Bruges.
Vratne lahve - Czech comedy about a teacher who leaves his job. I enjoyed it, funny in the way typical of Czech movies - that sounds a bit pretentious, but if you've seen any it'll make sense.

Beer: nothing much to report.

Music: iTunes was flogging off the 2008 Elbow album "Seldom Seen Kid" so I picked that up. Wow. Excellent. Will spin it more, but strong contender for top5 of the year. I keep forgetting how good that band are.
Some of my more guilty pleasures have raised their head recently. I've picked up the rest of the remastered Alan Parsons Project back catalogue, which I'll review in more detail later. But they do include Gaudi and Ammonia Avenue two of my personal favourites. Some of the others I've only had on tape, so haven't heard for years which could be fun.
Genesis 1983-1998 dropped in the letterbox. Now there's a guilty secret. Not known as their best period, the boxset includes Genesis (the one with Home by the Sea); Invisible Touch; We Can't Dance and Calling all Stations. For those of you who pick me as a hardcore prog boy, and S had this revealed to her on Saturday, I'm not. This is the Genesis era I prefer. I admit I've got more into them since I picked up the 76-82 boxset - it was cheap which was the only reason I succumbed. But Invisible Touch was the first vinyl I bought - from Chelsea Records in the Hutt (5 mins before I grabbed Hunting HIgh and Low from HMV? - I still like both albums btw). And I love it. Sure there's crud on there Anything she does springs to mind, but the album is fun. There's darkness on there, and there's pop-ness in keeping with Phil C's burgeoning outside career.
Genesis/Genesis is still good, and has more links to the older style. And any album with Home by the Sea is going to be a winner.
We Can't Dance. I still like it, I suspect it could have done with trimming. But the long 'jam' songs are still good. the Last Spike in particular.
Calling all Stations - never heard this, but am watching vids as I type this, and musically sounds like Duran Duran (well Shipwrecked did). I have Congo on CDSingle somewhere...

I still remember a review which asked 'how can a band who loses Phil Collins sound worse' (or words to that affect). Heehee.

I'm interested in revisiting the Peter Gabriel era when the next boxset comes out, as he's an artist who IMO has grown and developed well beyond what he came from. His solo stuff is some of my favourite music, but the Genesis stuff, hmmm can't remember it grabbing me. I think I liked bits of Lamb, which I've got vinyl but don't spin that often, if I want a 2CD prog album, I'll grab The Wall, or Snow, or Marbles.

There is some good stuff coming up soon, new Jolie Holland, new Marillion (and no, even though I got the download offer, I haven't done that), and new Steve Wilson. Also spinning new Richard Barbieri, which is interesting and in keeping with his immense talent.

Biggest bollox so far? Metallica, sure it's the best album of theirs in 10 years. But stop to look at what that actually says, it's better than a covers album, the crap S and M, the crap st anger, the good single but poor double 'load/reload' albums. I've spun it twice, which I'll agree isn't enough, but it's a yawnfest. The first half of the album passes me by, it's like 'oh really, track 6 already', there are some good tracks on there. But over all, a pass, not a resuscitation. I couldnt name any tracks :) so best album since 1991, makes it well, their best album in 17 years. That's encouraging that they do have it still in them. Rick Rubin is a talented wee chap.

Well I was going to read tonight, but think I'll doze off now.
Ciao, B.

2 October 2008

Earth, Willard Grant Conspiracy and beer

One of the brunettes and I were heading to WGC (Robbie Fisher) so decided to catch a movie first. Went and saw Earth at the Embassy. Hmmm, visually stunning, my quite soporific. Patrick Stewart, who narrates, has a great voice, but I got bored. Apparently the filmmakers had been accused of not putting enough global warming stuff in the TV series, and you got the feeling things were pushed through for the movie.
Music was horribly cliched and boring. dramatic scene=swell, add instruments, quieten down=pull instruments, birds flying=increasing chord changes. yawn.
Sure it looks good, but I'm not raving about it. Probably a 6/10 - worth seeing at the Embassy, but otherwise, don't rush.

Dinner was at the A-roy on cuba mall, which is good. Not quite spiced enough for me, so it'll be back to KK for me.

Support was provided by some group who I think were called the Downbeats. Really enjoyed their set, kinda of rockabilly meets surf meets murder ballads meets the Eagles. Which really doesn't do them justice. Lead singer sounded a lot like Kristin Hersh, in her more recent guise. That worked for me, and she had a very powerful voice. I'll try and track down their name, but we enjoyed this. I had a Black Mac.
Robert Fisher, the main power behind the Willard Grant Conspiracy, was doing an acoustic show. What a funny guy! great between song banter and the music, crickey. The CDs are pretty stripped back to start with, but this really brought out the emotion and power of the songs. The brunette had never heard their stuff before and loved it (I had promised to lend a couple of albums, but typically hadn't gotten around to it). I picked up another of their albums, which I haven't had listened to yet.
How to describe WGC? Hmmm, Nick Cave, Wilco, Greg Trooper, Iron and Wine? The most recent album, Pilgrim Road which is fantastic, but the album that got me was Regard the End.
All available from here. sounds from here.

Loved the gig, seated at tables, cool vibe - very very relaxed. One beer drunk. Giving a total of two, yes two, for the evening.


it's a quiet few days in B world

although i am creating merry hell in my job. to levels even i'm impressed with.

my ipod headphone socket is dead so that's off getting fixed, hence the quietness.

saw willard grant conspiracy lead dude last night, review to follow! this is just a quick post while the blonde finishes her stuff and we head ot the pub for the music quiz.