27 June 2009

More movies

I know, reviews on beer and movies. What a change for this blog. I'd hate to become predictable. So a quick summary of movies seen recently:
Peeping Tom it's an older movie (1960) and parts of the dialogue are rough on the modern ear, almost like it was written for the stage then moved sans naturalism to the movies. For all that, it's pretty good. It's tight and it's certainly quite a complex wee thriller/horror. The main character is a camera operator, and moonlights taking pictures of scantily clad women. Yes it's a tough life in the 60's. Slowly his psychological problems come to the surface, or rather in some cases are forced to the surface. The girl enters his life (and no way is she 21!), creating an interesting situation with her mother and the main character, queue flashbacks etc etc and much wonderfully dark cinematography.
Recommended - it's certainly been influential. And I found it a refreshing take on whats now become a tired genre. That probably explains why it bombed when released...

The Night Porter, yeah it appears I might have been on a pervert quest with these two. Nevermind, this was superb. It was advertised as the most controversial movie of our time - ho hum. Story is: ex nazi prison guard and the woman he used to shag in vaguely sado-maso fashion, meet up 20 years later while he and his ex-nazi buddies are trying to get rid of any evidence of their activities. She's now the wife of someone famous, but soon she and Max (the ex-nazi) are getting it on. The S & M aspects are quite mild, rather the movie focusses on the love affair between the two. It's sweet, deep, and ultimately suffers the fate all heroic love does (for dramatic purposes). This is a wonderfully deep, interesting and intelligent movie. The cinematography is wonderful (as it is in Peeping Tom) lending the movie a drab, haunted air - which just builds the pathos for the two main characters.
Really recommended.

I think I might watch a movie now, Terminator seems a good choice :)
And Rugby.


Beer Review

It's been a hellish wee week, things were heading downhill and kinda exploded on Thursday. In keeping with every organisation, we have people in roles who have no idea what they are doing. I had pointed this out, constructively, about 6 months ago. Since then I'd made some helpful suggestions (how to structure meetings, how to write a sentence, how to use active language, how to facilitate etc etc), to no avail - both to the person, their manager, and my boss and my bosses boss.
This guy wastes time, he cannot structure meetings, he doesn't know how to state something, he blatantly lies, he changes his story through a meeting, and he can't answer a question. Things came to a head on Thurs when I asked the same question for 15 minutes trying to get an answer - my boss and the next level up boss were there too. I didn't get anywhere, so stormed out pointing out this was getting anywhere, and if he can't answer a simple question what's the point of him having his job? My boss then pointed out a few more of his failings and the wee dear went home, apparently crying.
The various managers there did make a point of saying I hadn't done anything too bad. Whcih was nice.

So today I've been editing, I might take in a movie, and watch the rugger.

But this beer review is from last Saturday before the rugger. The beer concentrations were high (for 1pm on a Sat) and I certainly felt a bit relaxed by the end of it. The tasting focussed on beers from Marlborough from Roger Pink (Pink Elephant brewing), Renaissance brewing with Brian Thiel, and missing in action was 666 brewing. So all top quality NZ beers.

Renaissance Discovery APA 4.5% I love Renaissance brews, this one is full bodied, tasty, bitter with fruit (grapefruit) hints.
Renaissance Perfection PA 5% Sweetish ale, toffee hints, I found it creamy with a honey flavour, nice bitter aftertaste. Made using malt crystals apparently (I think I got that right).
666 Diablo 5.4% 666 brewing had made some beer especially for this tasting - how cool is that! so small (25L) brews as possible releases later. This was a dark beer, toffee, sweet, ruby coloured, malty, hops aroma. Very very very nice.
Renaissance Elemental Porter 6% I had this a couple of weeks ago, I love it. Very strong coffee taste.
Pink Elephant Golden Tusk 7.1% I have vague memories of this one at the old Malthouse, it was called something else back then. Parmesan cheese nose, big hop nose/flavour, toffee, wonderful stuff. Big big ale.
Pink Elephant Mammoth 7% raspberries (no really!), sweet, hint of cherry? huge flavour
Renaissance Stonecutter 7% superb beer, sweet, dark malt, chocolate, very malty, full mouth flavour
666 Avarice 7.5% fruity, sour, hops, good mouth taste.
Renaissance Marlborough PA 8.5% Very tasty, malty, smooth, sweet, huge alpha hops aroma, superb beer.
Pink Elephant Trumpet Barley Wine 10% Sweet, vintage, manuka honey, fucking huge, barley wine

This tasting was superb, if brain numbing. All of these beers would stand up to anything you threw at them in competitions. I wasn't grading them as we do for the whisky tasting, but the top two IMO were the Renaissance Marlborough PA, the Pink Elephant Golden Tusk. Brian Thiel, from memory, promised that the Marl. PA would be bottled at some point, so I'll be getting some. But honestly, you won't go wrong with any of these beers. When you consider the Perfection PA was my least favourite, it puts the others into context. The sooner 666 brewing start releasing beers the better...
Info I do remember, Renaissance brew in 25000L batches, although this equates to about 21000L-ish taking into account bubbling during the process. The Stonecutter used to be brewed in half batches, but they've recently sorted out the scaling (like baking, brewing isn't exactly double the recipe and expect it to work) so we should get more of that too. huzzah!

I imagine I'll be having a nice beer or two tonight. So slainte...


19 June 2009

Civilised are the NZ gangs

There could be a few blogs from me today, dependent somewhat on booze intake, which currently stands at none...

From the front page of the Dom this morning, Gang brawl outside shop: Gang members armed with hammers, golf clubs and axes...

WTF? Golf clubs? Are NZ gangs a spin-off of the village people? The construction worker, the lumberjack and the golfer?
Are you patched? Nope, but I've got plus-fours...


18 June 2009

Those heady heights of a fortnight ago

When we was tops ... ahhh all dim dark memories now, our quiz team was back to 5th. Again. And I disturbed them by my highly erratic pop knowledge. Just for S2H, here's the one I did get - artist and song...the guy on the right doesn't seem as sold on the idea ...

love, me.

17 June 2009

TV programs

Ahhh the Wire, it really is perfection - just started watching Season 5, Smackers - I can drop the discs over whenever you like...

I've also been watching Lie To Me. Seems to me to have been thought up along the following lines:

hey guys, we need something to compete with House. What's a new situation for a grumpy, socially difficult guy to be in? something vaguely sciencey. ohhh how about facial recognition. Do it !!

So yeah premise isn't too bad, they use micro-expressions to assess how people actually feel about questions- rather than the answers they give. Problem is, it's sooo heavy-handed. The directors have decided every micro-expression needs to be shown to the viewer *many* times, then explained, while showing it again. FFS.
Storylines aren't too bad, but the directing is poor. recommendation: it's mindless background fluff

me x

15 June 2009

Brief music news

Somehow I managed to miss the news that kiwi legend Chris Knox had a stroke last week. Anyone vaguely aware of the NZ music scene will realise what a legend he is, I've got 'vague' memories of heading down to the old Bodega drinking great beer and singing along to many of his shows (he was pretty regular there during my undergrad days), and his movie reviews were great when his elder-statesman of NZ music was recognised by the mass media. Everyone knows the track I've video'd here.

In more upbeat news, Abba2 has appeared, Benny Anderson has a new band, which judging by the youtube link, sounds just like his old one. Huzzah !!!

12 June 2009

Porter, my beer

It's winter, time for porter. I like beer, I like dark beer, I like porter. So while wandering at Regional I found a number of NZ brewers have put out porters, and in the spirit of experimentation I grabbed some.
Having a quiet night tonight as feeling a bit tired and it's crap weather (shakes fist at raingods...with zippos)
Here's my reviews (note tasted over many nights so reasonably sober).

Three Boys Porter Three Boys have released a number of superb beers. This isn't one of them. Was weak, hints of chocolate etc., but nothing strong. Dark colour, not much coffee (sadly), nice head. 5/10
Renaissance Porter Ale Renaissance is one of my favourite NZ brewers, and this is a superb porter. Pours dark, chocolate, coffee, lovely head, hint of plums (which is good), oh and great aroma. 8/10 need more. More damnit !
Peak Brewery Cornhill Porter Haven't tied any of Peak Brewery before, a small brewery from Waiarapa. It's ok, dark, nice head, choc hints, coffee 5/10 not good enough to make me check out more.
Speights Distinction Porter An accidental tasting this one, was on tap at Bodega so in the spirit of work, I had one. Good choice, it's a good porter. Strong body, nice aroma, chocolate etc., 6/10 certainly a step above the two small breweries, which surprised me!

love and lollipops, B

11 June 2009

Snakes in the Glades!!!

While skimming some herp news stuff, yeah I know, but hey herps are sexy - came across this report about a couple of zoologists who found uber-anaconda last month. This sexy wee house beast is a diminutive 2m wide and 40m long. That's equivalent to around 4 london double-decker buses parked end to end.
Wiki describes this animal as the giant anaconda (mythical).

Sadly there's no supporting evidence yet, and TBH a snake of these proportions is unlikely. As a quick spin around the usual sites suggests.

But, in the spirit of, how cool is that, I want one. I have no idea what I'd do with a 40m anaconda, but i'm sure i'd come up with something. Certainly it could deal with the problem kids at work in a way beneficial to me and snake alike.

(sadly I don't think this qualifies as a Science post)

9 June 2009

Merchant of Venice

First up, I don't like Shakespeare that much. Seems over-rated and more of a sycophantic love affair by those who rave about him. I could rant a bit about the stories and the forced story-telling, but hey, let's keep that for later!

So Al Pacino as a Shylock the Jew in Merchant of Venice, does it work? Hell yeah it does - great casting choice that. It's the best performance I can remember seeing of Pacino's, again not a favourite actor of mine, but damn this is great. Indeed the rest of the casting seems pretty much spot-on - using a number of well known (although not A-grade) British actors. Best of all was seeing John Sessions outside of QI !! Even if we did giggle a bit remembering Sessions and Fry banter.
the quality of the movie seemed a bit dodgy in places, the sound was like a low quality mp3 - where you get that faint 'water sloshing' sound during speech/music. The movie was underlit and all rather dark - which worked given the subject, but wasn't great visually. Shylock did rather get done over, with the interesting affect of all sympathy going to him since he really wasn't doing anything wrong. Damn lawyers. Oohh I could rant about David Bain...maybe later.

Recommendation: go see. It's definitely worth it.

Love, me

4 June 2009

1st !!

Yayayyaya our quiz team, for the first time ever, we came first!!!
So big ups to GB, S2H, K-dawg and me !!! We Rock !

and, oddly, we were all sober (ish). we usually do better kinda drunk...

3 June 2009


Whisky Tasting 27th May 2009 : Obscura

This months whisky tasting was part one of two from Dram Fest ’09, which I’d missed. No I’m not sure why either. It was a close thing, basically made the decision not to go the night before. Perhaps next time.

So Rich and I wandered along to this tasting, both of us managed to get on - I had previously booked the previous date (20th) which turned out to be graduation. One of those made it into the diary, the other I made it to. Rich and I had also decided not to go drinking after the event...mainly as my boss knew we were heading to a tasting.

Highland Park 1989 Murray McDavid 46% 2500 bottles 17yo Bourbon/Grenache Blanc Highland Park is a reliable brand name, it’s hard to find a bad one. Nose: raisins, sweet, bread, red wine. Palate: not high alc., sweet, salty, smokey, nice! Finish: smooth, medium, warm. 7/10. It’s good, but not great. Certainly not something you’d complain about.

BenRiach 46% Pedro Minez finish. This was the mystery malt. Nose: older, wine, sappy, mint? Palate: weakish, rather like a beer. Finish: short, boring. 5/10. Avoid.

Benromach Organic 43% An organic whisky? What’s the point? Well, nose: rum, soap, very very rum. Palate: odd, beerish. Finish: tastes like rum, boring, rap. 3/10 Apparently no point to organic whisky. Avoid like the plague.

Adelphi 22yo 55.2% Breath of the Highlands 159 bottles cask#1066 1985-2008 Adelphi, an indie bottler who never disappoint. Even their blend is great. Nose: high alc., smokey, age, chocolate, wood. Palate: dusty, lovely, caramel, smoke. Finish: peper, xmas cake, long. 9/10 A superb whisky.

Adelphi Clynlish 14yo cask#7541 1993-2008 57% 282 bottles Another Adelphi? Oh well, if I must. Clynlish are a distillery I should like, but have never really clicked with. Nose: nice, soap, sour, grass, cream. Palate: salt, cutting, spicy-chilli!! Finish: med-long. 8.5/10 very nice whisky. Wouldn’t complain if I had a bottle, but sadly what normally have been in the top 2 of most tastings, if cut a bit in this one.

Adelphi GlenGrant 22yo cask#10184 1985-2008 62.1% 167 bottles Rich likes GlenGrant so I was keen to give it a bash. Nose: aged, apricots, savoury, cream, sultanas, xmas cake. Palate: lovely, salty, very high alc., sultanas, hot, spicy. Finish: hot, long. Superb whisky 9/10 Adelphi? Again? Well no major surprise there.

Adelphi Mortlach 17yo cask#5945 57.5% 1990-2008 516 bottles I love Mortlach, it’s the malt that got me into whisky (a Gordon and McPhail bottling), and every other expression I’ve had has gone down well. Nose: maple syrup, caramel, rum, chocolate, excellent!!! Palate: wood, xmas cake, chocolate, sherry, hint of pepper. Finish: medium. 9.5-10/10 So sue me, I like big complex intriguing highland whisky. I’ll take an average highlands over an average Islay any day, possibly reflected in these ratings.

Our tasting rated the last two as 1st equal. So I’m ok with them heading to Best of the Best. Hmmm tasty. And on a week when my Lagavulin 16yo bit the dust. Oh woe is me. What to do.

This blog has been brought to you by the sweet sounds of Duran Duran ‘Astronaut’, which sounds oddly like Justin Timberlake.

Me xxx