27 April 2009

Love Is...

My new coffee machine, it can be programmed to switch on automatically. Even better, I'm able to do this while *a bit* drunk. So for the past two weekends I've woken to fresh brewed coffee. Bliss. I'm not saying I was drunk each night, but well ya know, the machine switched on and made me coffee.

I've never managed to get a wench to do that for me. Ever.

As a friend pointed out, get the coffee machine to give a BJ and you'll be sorted.


ps: I had to get a new one as I made the mistake of washing the pot in the old one, it promptly fell apart.

Keeping Science Cool

Make your doggie cool, make him safe !! Stop falling over him at night !! For this, and more, Science can be your friend.

How, how can this be? Why make your dog, in this case your beagle, glow !!!
Here for an article about this, and here for the picture, see below.

The authors claim proof of concept, personally I think it's vital research - find your dog in the dark, use your dog to light your way down steps. Frighten the crap out of children at halloween...or even anytime by making woooo-ing noises at night while the dog wanders past, shoving its noise in their groin.
How cool would that be.

Sign me up!!


26 April 2009

Brunching with Bruce

More accurately dinner, but it's more a brunch dish. My take on mushrooms on toast.

This is the meat version cos I'm equal opportunist... (I used spicy tofu).

Fry good quality bacon, remove from frypan. Fry mushrooms and a couple of small fennel bulbs (chopped small), with some chilli, fresh ground pepper and a bit of lemon juice. Add chopped bacon at the last minute.
On the toast, place sliced buffalo mozzarella and dump mushroom mixture on top.

Simple. But damn it was good.

In Bruce we trust, Network toys

Today? well it's pissing down so I'm curled up on the chair thinking about a nice glass of wine or beer - since I only had two all yesterday (but let's not talk about Friday).

I did head into work to try and recover data from a couple of computers. Which I did successfully, to the relief of their owners. But FFSake who doesn't run backups? I've had three data recoveries to do over the last two weeks. Two of them I've got everything back, and the third probably 90-95% back. But still - backups people!! For those of you not on MacOS 10.5 and the superb TimeMachine, you can still drag n drop stuff to an external harddrive. Do you really wanna lose all those photos? the pr0n you've downloaded? There's masses off small apps that will run backups for you on Windows...

Speaking of which, I was getting a bit paranoid about mine, and in particular the iTunes library. So I've invested in a small NAS so I can run that as a multimedia center through the AppleTV as well. I'll let you know how that goes when it's arrived (has a 1TB drive in it, with space for a 2nd if I want to RAID it). I'm intending to tidy up my DVDs lying around the place and get them on there.
Figure the iTunes library can live there and be dragged to the 750GB FW800 drive periodically for redundency. Oohh I could write a script for that. No no no stop it. Geek !!!

I think it's wine weather and a nice classic movie, probably Errol Flynn.

Will just read the paper first.

Me xxx

Tony Joe White and Ian Moss

Wandered along to the FrontRoom last night to see TJW for, I think, the fourth time. The venue had sold out, which surprised me when a mate said he couldn't get tix. Turns out they had it seated for about 2/3-3/4 of the lower level. This was odd, but did have the advantage of keeping the temperature down. Although people were complaining. Speaking of the people, weird audience. Mostly old people (like 50+) which explains why when I arrived at 820 (doors opened at 730) that it was packed. And what a rude freekin audience. Talking to each other during both acts - fucks sake. Oh and their appearance - my god, there were mullets. I havent seen them for years! and they were all dressed like aging boguns. Horrid. Us young beautiful things were at the back as we all turned up late :D

Ian Moss (Cold Chisel) was supporting - and wot a revelation. Essentially a masterclass in acoustic guitar blues guitar. That's how good it was. His solo stuff, re-interpretations of classic Chisel - and he even did Tucker's Daughter!! Really cool gig, and yeah I think I'll be buying some of his solo stuff. Great vibe, stunning playing, go check out the free mp3s on his website.

TJW: the best gig of his I've seen was also at the James Cab that me and Adders went to years ago. But this was probably the 2nd best of his I've seen. This time in addition to the drummer we had a keyboardist - who was mainly doing bass-ish parts, and some hammond sounds. TJW was his usual laid-back self, which gives a great vibe (apart from the talking fuckheads) to the gig. the audience seemed to be there mainly for Polk Salad Annie, Even Trolls love Rock n Roll and Steamy Windows. But the rest of it, ahhh divine. huge sounds from that guitar, dirty swamp blues, very bass/mid heavy. I love it. TBH I could have done without Steamy Windows, which is quite overrated. But I can't complain too much as the tracklist was excellent, nicely balanced and well worth the wander.

And I was a healthy wee bugger by wandering to the gig and back again.
Some vids are in order.
Ian Moss - Tuckers Daughter

And in a blues orientated feel, Moss covering Georgia - just to give you an idea how good the gig was:

And now some TJW, I've stayed clear of the common ones:

Rather good combo ain't they :)


23 April 2009


Big night for our music quizzage team last night, the regulars all turned up, we were pumped - as we'd found a $5 spirits pub beforehand. G-blonde saw that the QualityHotel on Cuba had specials on, so we went. This place was scary, it looked and felt like a waiting room for judgement day. It was so impersonal as to have become a cliche of itself. Awesome. the bartender, Corry, seemed nice enough and was ok with us just yelling orders to him :)

I headed to the pub to find us a seat (good plan, all bar one of the tables had been taken) while k-dawg and G-blonde got food.

We came second after some stunning rounds, particulary on 90s dance music - admittedly S2H and I weren't the best there (I did know Mark Morrison return of the mac...released about the sametime as his jobness came back (1996 and 1997 respectively!!)). But go team !!!

Final song was Meatloaf, which led to a Steinman walk home - well after the Tragically Hip had finished (the superb Fully Completely). Went for Bad for Good. Which is pretty good description of the album over all :)

Again, huzzah team!!!

Love, B

20 April 2009

Music musings

It's interesting how memories are triggered by specific things. There's a very large number of papers devoted to this subject, but I'm focusing on personal memories here - in particular how music triggers certain memories. I won't go into too many examples, but to demonstrate:
- Men at Work : Down Under, always brings back memories of 2ZB morning show with Lindsay Yeo while eating toast and marmite [as a note: how much more kiwi can you get...]
- Genesis : Invisible Touch, two memories stick out here. Firstly biking down to Chelsea Records in the Hutt to buy the vinyl (apparently I was a connoisseur even then), and watching the performance on TV around the same time, which I guess was LiveAid? where Phil is lighting himself with a torch during the 'haha ha ha' section in Home by the Sea (yes I know it's a different album). Great stuff.

But the one that came up the other day was listening to Eric Woolfson's Freudiana (which is an Alan Parsons Project album in all but name). I hadn't listened to this for years as my tape had died, and it's difficult to find on CD. I borrowed the CD was via the Uni BBS (now that dates things somewhat!) where I found someone else who a) had heard of and b) liked, Alan Parsons. It was a horrendous night when I took the motorbike out to, I think, Southgate and spent sometime going through his CD collection - one of which I borrowed was Freudiana. I like the album, sure if you've heard APP you've heard most of the album, as it's not that original. But it does have some great tunes, and I love the overture.
It's also a bit of a rarity in that it's a musical, and I (generally) like it. I think I can count on one hand the musicals I like; Freudiana, Chess (well it is Abba...), Rocky Horror and um err that's about it. I might be able to come up with a couple more if I tried, but I'd be stretching. And yet I like Opera.

It's proven difficult to find audio samples of Freudiana, I've found the video for the title track - credited to the APP. I've also found a German recording of the album (not the English version I've got), but it's lacking the cool bass in the original - it's the stage show version. so I might try and sort out something.
In the meantime, here's the vid. And before I forget, happy birthday to S in Ireland. Which, as Stephen Fry says, is only greener than England as all the Irish are trampling the grass in England these days...



Died yesterday - or today - who knows with this silly timezone stuff from cancer. He of 'Crash' fame - not that crap recent movie, rather the book the Cronenberg movie was based on.

I like his stuff. It's bleak, visceral, sexual - powerful.

More info here.


18 April 2009

International Record Store Day

To me, as important as Halloween is to the emo kids, the day dawned clear, sunny, and I got up. Did washing, cleaned the house, listened to music, and generally prepared myself for wandering into town.
Did some shopping, then headed to SlowBoat my indie record shop of choice. Quite crowded, so I wandered around intending to buy stuff, caught a little of Cassette's gig (I headed up to Real Groovy in the meantime), I liked the new stuff, so should really pick up that album.
So what did I buy? Well Scott 4 on vinyl, mmm Scott Walker, he really is the shizzle, Tilt and The Drift would be making it on a must own list of mine. So thought I should get some more of the early stuff. Also picked up The Handsome Family "Honey Moon". Sounds good so far. So lots of new stuff this weekend. Sorted my Sunday...

The 'canes won, currently 3rd on the table, admittedly not everyone has played, but woohoo.

Watched Red Dwarf (meh), drank beer (great - Morland Hen's Tooth). Talked to S, who suggested I have another beer while I watched OngBak2. The beer was crap (Golden Draak) so bad I tipped it out and ate some toast + marmalade to clear the palate. Whisky awaits.

Just need to get enthusiasm to move...

Addendum: I moved, I got whisky. And then a bloody moth went into it. It's not freekin tequila goddamnit.
I got another.

17 April 2009

Big ups to the Chicken

The latest PsychoChicken collection arrived the other day. Huzzah indeed. A Marillion t-shirt (cos I'm running low...) which was unveiled at quiz night. These people actually realised it was a new one - sad, but true.
And now I'm curled up sipping Bruichladdich Rocks (which it does, if only it were cask...) and watching TalkTalk Live at Montreux.
I know I've ranted about how bloody brilliant Mark Hollis is. But goddamn he so is.

Thanks mate :D I'll get to the Po90 tomorrow methinks.

16 April 2009

They should make a movie

Friday linky, there's a movie in here somewhere....

15 April 2009

Take that feckin animal rights twats

Having sat on Animal Ethic committees for some time, been involved in animal research, and attended a number of conferences about the subject, I've got strong views on the subject. And I'm not always in favour of the research. That's a point those fuckin idiot protesters never seem to get through their thick fucking skulls. I don't support all animal research. I don't support all animals in teaching, in fact we had some courses changed to limit or remove the usage of animals.

So wot used to get me really pissy is the animal nutjob people all had their nutjob groups to belong to and feed off each others paranoia, but those of us trying to do research, or protect the animals, had nothing.

Well no more, there's a group of scientists who are protesting against the animal-rights groups. Count me in.
Read about it here.
Oohhh a science post, that's a bit of a rarity these days.

Love, B

Musings on the rest of the weekend and Monet

Did a lot of cooking, which I enjoyed, been awhile since I've that kind of time to play around in the kitchen. Happy times.
Lots of walking around the place. I'd kinda forgotten how nice Otari-Wilton is to wander around in.

Movies; best of the bunch, by far, was Gorky Park. Which I realise the other day I hadn't seen, so put my feet up and dealt to that problem. Sure the accents are funny etc., but the story is tight. Very tight. Dennis Potter did the script adaptation, which I think was a good plan. Good thriller, very recommended.

The new Ramblin' Jack Elliot album is out, I've pulled it down off iTunes and have spun it once. Seems good so far, it is an album I've been looking forward to, particularly as Joe Henry produced it - and his solo stuff is superb.

Thoroughly enjoying Wonderfall (Bryan Fuller), and the new series Better Off Ted.

I went along to the Monet exhibition at Te Papa yesterday, and came away, and I know this is going to sound twatty, distinctly unimpressed. The Boston collection, which is whats touring here, doesn't seem a good overview of impressionism. Sure there are a few decent examples in there, but generally it's not good. The space is also too small, and the atmosphere is dead. Don't get me wrong, I like impressionism, a lot - and some of my favourite galleries are impressionists.
There's a distinct lack of continuity, there's some of the initial period, and a few at the end, but the examples during the middle (and important) period were weak.

What was much much better, was the drawing collection collection by the same people - which was free - and hidden away in the Illot Gallery. Go see that in preference to the Monet.


13 April 2009

Coffee killed the walking star and Batman, The Musical

I had coffee in a cup, with a lid, whcih I was walking in with. It viciously jumped out and burnt my lip and chin. I could have been more amused.

But that's not the most disturbing thing that happened today - I came across Batman the Musical written by Jim Steinman. And yes, I have tracked down a copy of the full thing, but haven't gotten the courage to listen to it. Basically, it's Steinman in ott mode, even for him. Everything sounds like Meatloaf should have been singing it.

Because I care, here's a youtube link.

11 April 2009

Movie update and the metal show

I watched Russian Ark last night, which from a technical perspective, is absolutely brilliant. It's a continuous 90 minute shot walking through the Hermitage, the Winter Palace in St Petersburg exploring the history and culture contained in there. The story, such as it is, appears to be defending the position and importance of Russian history from accusations that it's simply a cheap local rip-off of Italian and French culture. In this I think it succeeds. But over-all I got a bit tired with the lack of anything. If you approach it from a respect the tech / organisational perspective it's perfect, but as a movie, it didn't engage me as much as I hoped. I will however be going to the Hermitage at some point.

I started last night, and finished this morning, Meet the Applegates, where a species of large, very large, insects having been forced from their South American home by loggers, take human form and move to suburban USA. The intention to blow-up the local nuclear power plant and thus restore the world to the insects is the central theme. Where the humour comes from are their interactions in the human world, as a satirical look at the stupidity of various actions (credit cards, drug usage, bug eradication etc.) and how so many people want to be 'normal'. It is funny, and Ed Begley Jnr is in it. Good B-grade material, beer not necessarily needed.

The Metal Show
I'm a little worried, I seem to be coming around to liking the Dillinger Escape Plan and Mastodon (most recent stuff in both cases). Mastodon's new album is being thrown around as the saviour of metal, and prog-metal in particular. Pretty much a guaranteed turn-off, but damnit, the singles I've heard are good.
There's been some crap on (which I've skipped), some reasonable (Dark Angel), a modern take on 80s hair metal (headhunter), speed-metal (Iced Earth, which I seem to be liking too), the badness of opera-prog-metal (Rage: lord of the flies, which is better than expected, but still OTT, the lyrics are superbly dire), more speed (Ascendent Song, Keep of Kalessin - quite good), the superb Dimmu Borgir - The Serpentine Offering (great video too).
I've decided a couple of vids are needed, so you get Rage, and Dimmu Borgir, kinda two extremes of the metal genre.

Byebye for now. B

10 April 2009

The week, and cooking with Bruce, Gumbo stylez

The week has been good, I've had the flu, but without the feckin' rollout, it's been good. the team has had inspired direction, whether they see it that way is immaterial.
Haven't done much during the week, although made it out to the quiz last night. We came fourth, which made us happy. As did beer. I'd had some nice white after work with a couple of others in the Biol Dept., headed to Havana where a nice Tall Blonde wetted my lips. Quiz consisted of Bookbinder, as per usual.

Today I've done nothing, well ok, done some washing and cleaned the house, and watched TV/movies - Wonderfalls (thanks for the tip Neil!), QI, DailyShow, Colbert Report, Better off Ted, Sita Sings the Blues (thanks M and A, I loved it), and have some more classy fare lined up for the evening.

Dinner, decided to cook my take on a gumbo. The original recipe can be found in the most recent Cuisine, but I've adapted it to be a) meat free and b) gluten free (I think). Not for any reason other than I was playing around.
Some fish, I guess it was around 150gm.
salt, pepper
Mix these two then fry high temp v lightly.
50ml olive oil (heat this) then add 50gm flour (I used rice flour), whisk it in, and cook gently for 10 minutes until it goes brown.
Add 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped capsicum, 2 stalks celery - cook 5 minutes.
Stir in 2 chopped spicy vege sausages (and added chilli in my case), 3 cloves garlic and 4-500 ml of stock slowly (your choice, i used Vege and Crayfish mix), bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add 80-100gm okra, chopped and lightly fried before hand.
Add 3 chopped spring onions, 1 T worcestershire sauce, 1t tabasco, simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.
Serve with rice.

Damn that was good. It was cooked with a St Peter's grapefruit, and served with a Te Mata estate Gamay Noir, which is a damn fine mix with spicy food.

About to watch Russian Ark now after another episode of QI. Mmmm My Lord thy Fry.

The B-grades

Ok, so it's a bit belated as a review, but well, them's the breaks. Drink for the day was limited, due to flu-like symptoms, but focussed on St Peter's Grapefruit beer. As Island Bay New World was flogging it off cheap (close to expiry date). Huzzahness!

In no particulr order:

Black Eye, as usual we had a blaxpoitation flick. This one was a intense investigation of bodies piling up due to a mysterious man with a cane. Actually all we got from it was, it starred Fred Williamson !!! Awesome !!! Nothing made much sense, there were haves, have-nots, cliched charatcers (damn whiteys holding the black mon down). obviously the love interest was bisexual, until she saw the error of her ways. Recommended after beer.

Frankensteins Castle of Freaks the Cinematic Titanic riffing over the 'classic' Italian movie. Plot involved freaks, neanderthals, evil dwarfs, hot lesbians, and Dr Frankenstein raising dead bodies after grave robbing. Oddly for an Italian movie, no incest. That threw us. Thankfully our group managed to cope and extrapolated incest and claimed the censors had ruined it. We're resourceful. Some of the riffing was good, some was atrocious (the chick was, by the end of the movie, running 4 for 60 for good calls). But the lowlight were the boob blimps which popped up whenever, well, boobs popped up. Now that caused trauma, there were tears, there was rage, we didn't cope well. Movie itself was utter crap and made no sense, but was highly amusing. Recommended after beer.

Psycho Beach Party Psycho's, Beach Party! Surfing! Chicklit (first female surfer) appears possessed!! Is she killing people ?! Why is she surfing? It's man's thing! Oohhh it's a surfer, psycho slasher flick. Awesome! Nicholas Brendan (Zander from Buffy) is in it, uber-surfer is played by Thomas Gibson (Dharma and Greg, Chicago Hope) he's the one who teaches Chicklit! It all goes horribly wrong/right. God knows. There's crossover with West Side Story, but more beachey, less streety. We really enjoyed this, reasonably tight script, rocked along, confused us, all good. Recommended after beer.

Ninja Cheerleaders With thanks to Jason for this one. Definitely the highlight. The title alone excited us, how right is that concept? Pretty bloody right we thought, and damn, we were right. Right? three hot cheerleaders are trying to pay for their Uni education by working part-time as erotic dancers, in the strip club their sensei runs (sensei: George Takei - Star Trek!). But he's kidnapped by the drug ppl who used to own the club, before it was taken from them. There are subplots with the chickybabes and their lives, more importantly the cuts between scenes involve boobyshots. Choice. The cops are inhibiting them, their cheerleading coach wants them (pervert!), will they triumph? Who knows?! Tight, funny script, acting was better than expected, story amusing, recommended without beer. Yup, a B-grade you could watch without beer.

Spending today chillin watching stuff so expect more...

4 April 2009

Yay and Grr but yay

The lads n I are B-grade watching today, including Ninja Cheerleaders, Psycho Beach Party (the best surfer slasher movie ever - apparently), Black Eye, Frankensteins Castle of Terror etc.
This promises to be excellent, I'm rather excited by the line-up I've managed to source for today's exploration of the art of movie making.

But, and this is the grr, the new album by Gazpacho (Tick Tock) arrived today - and I won't be able to listen to it til tomorrow. Damnit !! Their last album, Night, easily makes my top10 albums. Hence the anticipation thing.
It gets worse, the new Wishing Tree (Steve 'even Dawkins thinks SR is a God' Rothery's side project) has also arrived.

On the plus side it does sort out my Sunday.

Movie reviews to follow.
me xx

3 April 2009

It's been a good week

The feckin' rollout has finished. I actually have time to do my job, which has meant that my team now has a leader (ok, me), and I'm beginning to implement my plans I've had on hold for the last few months. The newbies in the team appear to be working out well, which I thought they would. Both fit nicely in the team personality-wise and are picking up the quirkiness of the environment well.
Aside from that, Marillion and some Swedish prog-metal were played at the music quiz last night. Karl did say that I now had no reason to turn up, which is true.
The other plus side, Scot mentioned that Island Bay New World had a special on St Peter's Grapefruit beer as it was due to expire. So I picked up six bottles at $4 each. Just had one, I really love that beer. Clean, crisp, slightly bitter. Superb. As is the whisky, which is purely medicinal to clear up a sore throat - SMWS Springbank and some Dun Bheagan 8yo Talisker (cheap and yet very nice - not very complex tho).

Catching up on TV at the moment, Breaking Bad S2, QI DVDs, Dollhouse, House. Nice evening :)

me xx

Guy Maddin

Guy Maddin is one of my favourite directors, he's quirky, he's odd, he's refreshingly bizarre and usually non-linear in a good way. The Saddest Music in the World is a beautiful, disorientating look at relationships. Sort-of. The most recent one of his, My Winnipeg, which I watched the other night, is more linear - a homage to his hometown, Winnipeg. Part exploration of his mother issues (as crops up in many of his movies), part critique of public planning, part romantic rememberance of childhood. The more linear take, is balanced by the competing, although complementary storylines (mother, childhood, public works, dead hockey players). The movie is strangely affecting, it pulls you in, it engages you, and it's not hard to extrapolate to where-ever you live. Do city corporations kill city vibe? do childhood memories corrupt your view of a place? Does snow effect the byways and highways, with the seamier side of the city sitting alongside the public face?

Basically for all the vagueness of the above, and I'd be the first to admit, it's contradictory and vague, and as if written by a sleepwalker (another image of Maddin's Winnipeg), but thats how the movie feels. I loved it. It maybe my favourite Maddin. I don't know. But I would definitely recommend this movie.