Thursday, 30 April 2015

TIME'S WINGED CHARIOT ...

So I'm getting old.



I like to think that I'm not as bad as some of the old buggers I see around who may even be younger than me but I'm getting old.

I avoid driving my car as much as I can as I want to keep reasonably fit.
I'm not 'a crank' about it but when up north I climb the small mountains and regularly do the bush walks but I'm getting old.

Some time ago The Old Girl (without my knowledge) was buying senior cinema tickets for me.
Now I do the same as I'm legally over 60. Soon I'll be getting a Gold Card.

I find myself now glancing through the obituary column in the daily newspaper to see if there's anyone I know there. I used to deride my mother for doing this, much to my shame and now find myself doing it.

For at least the last five years I've been getting grumpy.

I've long been grey, now almost white with not much bloody hair left. I'm getting old.

But........

It was a shock yesterday to be catching a bus and have a young woman stand up to offer me her seat.

Bloody hell!




Saturday, 25 April 2015

WELL, WE REMEMBERED THEM

In numbers greater than I've seen before.




I've attended many dawn parades on ANZAC day over the years but today's was the largest turnout I've seen.

Big is not necessarily better though.

The big screens detracted more than added.

The late and rather limp two helicopter flypast was an anticlimax.

Auckland Mayor's speech was OK but the man now lacks moral and political credibility.

The huge numbers made for an impersonal disconnect.

The essential function of ANZAC parades as a funeral service seemed to have been downplayed

The repeated references to god and religion in connection with the campaigns and losses is now offensive.

Over the years the ANZAC day commemorations I've attended have changed seemingly with the decades. In the 50's and early 60's there was silent patriotism along with naivety and pride. The true story wasn't really known and the day was sacred and almost magical.

In the later 60's and 70's the anti-war sentiment sparred with the still-living old soldiers' commemorations.

In the 80's and 90's people seemed to forget. Attendances were down and there was a danger of the day disappearing. Perhaps this was a reflection of the dying off of the WW1 and WW2 servicemen and servicewomen.

In the 2000's to today younger people have been inspired by their grandfather's and great-grandfather's stories and have involved their children in a celebration of the past. As a memorial day it is again alive and well but time and perhaps hype has blunted the pathos and sadness of the occasion.

In 2015 because of the significance of the centenary we have been inundated with the story of Gallipoli and other battles of WW1. This has been good particularly when presented in the form of personal stories of the men involved -the very young and frightened young men who set off for an adventure and got screwed. I hope that the education young people have received, which is far more extensive and comprehensive than people of my age ever received, will remember for the future.




Wednesday, 22 April 2015

HOME IMPROVEMENTS 3

And to continue the theme.





Every coffee table should have a good book open invitingly.

WELL, THAT'S AWKWARD

As if Shonkey hasn't embarrassed New Zealand enough with his stupid (popularity seeking) antics, now he's going about pulling girl's ponytails. See link:

Daily Blog


A bit of banter? So he reckons but there's something a bit uncomfortable in this and it suggests some kind of a fetish.

It'll be interesting to see what the fall-out is.

"Just try it John, just try it"

HOME IMPROVEMENTS 2

There are good cross marketing deals to be had from lots of retailers today.
When buying my lamp I bought some cocktail glasses that were on special.


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

HOME IMPROVEMENTS

We're at the end of the long summer now and with daylight saving gone the evenings arre getting darker quicker.

Although our apartment looks out to the north and normally get loads of sunlight, by 5PM we're losing light.

I decided to get a new lamp to brighten things up.


Friday, 17 April 2015

OUT OF THE SHALLOWS

And back into the deep.

Wow!

I just watched Bertolucci's The Conformist at the Civic theatre.
This was a special screening of a beautifully restored print of the 1970 film.

I saw this in Wellington in the early 1970's and was gobsmacked by it then. After 40 plus years it's still powerful and frankly leaves for dead the expensive dross that purports to be good cinema nowadays.

On every level this film is superior to modern day offerings:


  • Cinematography is stunning with artistically crafted shots that have been copied by film makers, TV commercial makers, music video makers and artists over the last 40 years.

  • Surreal chase and kill sequences that have been copied in TV programmes and films from the 007 franchise through The Sopranos and The Bourne films.


  • A complex and bewildering psychological  investigation of the principal character that by far usurps anything that David Lynch has done and has triggered a whole lot of TV dramas.

The film investigates the need of the principal character Clarici, a weak and sexually ambiguous character to go with the flow amidst a time of extremism in Italian politics (1930's and 1940's).
Basically he conforms to whatever the prevailing social and political climate demands of him.

To this end Moravia's novel and Bertolucci's adaptation is just as relevant today. We all go with the flow by and large.

It reminded me of the frightening truth in Jonathon Littels book The Kindly Ones when the principal character Max Aue , a murderer and senior member of the Einzgruppen, the Nazi death squad said "I am a man like other men, I am a man like you".


LIKE PICKING SCABS


At the closing of the film Clarici silently looks back at the audience as if to say "what would you have done?"

Powerful stuff.

We just don't get stuff like this nowadays.


Thursday, 16 April 2015

PERSONAL 4

Dion was sent sprawling and was covered in hot coffee as the coffee cart was spun across the road.
He was lucky that he'd stopped serving an hour ago and was cleaning up otherwise the urns and coffee machine would have been full of scalding hot water.

Wassa.... he said to himself, not at all sure what had happened.

Robert sped on. His old Mitsubishi Dion had rammed the coffee cart in its position at the side of the road and sent it spinning across to the other side.

"Well done" he said to himself "that bastard won't get in my way again".

Robert believed that the coffee cart had been a black and white police cruiser and, in his deranged state thought that he was saving his life which to be fair had only recently been almost snuffed out at the hands of American law enforcement officers.

To complicate matters and adding to Robert's delusion was the fact that Dion had stencilled 'SHERIFF' across the side of his cart and had personalised number plates reading 'BOSHOG'.



Dion was still shaken but was now worried.
Was it his fault he wondered.
What would his mum say?
What would his big brothers say?
They always gave him a hard time about parking up at the top of the hill.

Dion was slightly Asbergic and Autistic. He'd struggled through school and if it hadn't been for his big brothers who were gang members he probably wouldn't have made it. They gave him a hard time for sure but would sure as hell give anyone else a worse time if they caught them bullying Dion.

He couldn't get a job after school and was on a benefit while living at home with his mum. He didn't drink or smoke or go out though so saved all his money and eventually bought the coffee cart which was a converted Toyota van, old but reliable. It was his life. And soul.

Dion climbed out of the van and looked at he damage. The right front wheel was munted, lying flat underneath the front suspension. He wept and asked himself again "is it my fault? What'll mum say? What'll the brothers do?"

He decided to walk home. Luckily the van had been pushed up against a lamp-post. Although it was bent at a strange angle it still functioned and illuminated the coffee-cart van well. "Reuben will be able to fix this" thought Dion as he shouldered his pack and made off.

Reuben was Dion's second oldest brother. He was big and strong and what he didn't know about cars wasn't worth knowing. Reuben could identify any vehicle by tyre marks or paint scrapings alone. He was cool.

The coffee-cart van sat in its lonely and crippled state throughout the night.
The streetlamp lit its right hand side clearly showing the impact marks and paint scrapings from a Mitsubishi car. A Mitsubishi Dion. Reuben would have something to go on with that..........


........ If he didn't then the number plate from Robert's Dion would help. It was wedged under the right font bumper of the van.


PERSONAL 3


"Robert lay in the theatre on the operating table and looked for the tunnel. There should have been light. It was black. "Shit I'm wrong" he thought " what do I do to avoid eternal damnation?"He saw the skeleton next, it raised a finger and said follow me my friend ."


Fortunately for Robert he'd been wearing that new Trade Me purchase his wife had made under his silk lined long coat.
It was a piece of 17th century Samurai upper body armour made from overlaying strips of bamboo. It weighed less than a kilogram but was 10 times stronger than kevlar.  It cost $12 dollars. "Those silly old elderly folks didn't know the value of this" Robert thought as he donned it that morning.





The 'skeleton' was a cadaverous A&E doctor who looked like he could do with a good feed. Robert suggested the battered sausages at the Moera takeaway shop but the doctor merely grimaced and led him down the corridor.



"Listen, I don't like your lifestyle mate" the doctor whispered "but it doesn't mean to say that I want to see you killed. There's a heavy-set guy lurking out in the waiting area - about 5'10", unshaven, bleary-eyed, smells like old chardonnay - he was asking about you. I didn't like the look of him. The American policemen have gone and the press have lost interest now that they've discovered that you are a white guy. You can slip out this side door here. I'll tell the old guy in the waiting room that you 'slipped away'. With my sad looks he'll no doubt be assured that you've gone to meet your maker which by the look of you was probably Geppetto."

Robert thought he should take offence at this but took his advice and slipped out the side door.
He felt a chill but moved swiftly across the car park and out to the main street. He was sure that he was getting funny looks from the people around and heard some giggles from behind him.

He was unaware that although he was still wearing the Samurai body armour, the hospital had removed his trousers and underpants. They'd dressed him in a surgical smock but it was flapping open at the back.


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

PERSONAL 2


Humbert had made his travel plans, NZ0001 from LA to Wellington.
He settled into his Premium Economy seat and thought about the coming few days.
Richard was becoming a problem, that was for damn sure. This needed sorting.
Robert had been sorted thanks to some redneck US police officers who had been on a 'Peace' delegation to Nuova Lazio. One problem down but Richard needed sorting out.



Indiscretions. Humbert reviewed the notes that The Curmudgeon had sent him via the encrypted files they used.
"Some unpleasantness at primary school involving standing under stair cases and looking up girl's skirts - Simon Charles Galvin style.

"Befriending kids at intermediate school in public urinals where friends dunked their caps into the piss drains before putting them on their heads for some reason.

"Getting drunk at parties at university before annoying and molesting women

"Getting evicted from musical soirees.

"Being summoned to the University Council and having a social society forcibly disbanded.

" Being several times sacked from musical groups. By his older brother.

Yes, Humbert thought. This needs sorting.

The Curmudgeon had added that Richard was set to get his hands on Robert's legacy, the 'Drap O Scotch' original manuscript. Time was pressing.




And then there was the skeleton.




What was that about? 





Tuesday, 14 April 2015

PERSONAL

Humbert was worried. Very worried.



To understand the significance of this you need to know that not much worried Humbert. He wasn't a worrier.



He just did. And did it well.

Humbert had just taken a call from The Curmudgeon in New Zealand. The Curmudgeon had told him that Richard (of RBB) had just called him on his cell-phone asking for him - Humbert.
The Curmudgeon had correctly surmised that Richard was being indiscreet and not in the way of his indiscretions of the 1970's - those could be explained away as the frantic manipulations of a frustrated youth - no, Richard was being indiscreet. And dangerous.

Humbert recalled that when he'd been in Petone recently to warn Richard of a possible incursion by Robert at the Prowse Brothers concert, that he'd borrowed The Curmudgeon's phone (Tracey the pregnant barmaid had taken his). He didn't expect that a guy as old as Richard would be able to master the call history features on his cell-phone. Hell, he didn't expect that a dinosaur like Richard would have anything other than the most basic of 'shoephones'



Hope for the best but plan for the worst was his mantra but he'd let this one slip past him.


This needed to be sorted out.


Monday, 13 April 2015

ACH DU LIEBER!

I watched Woman In Gold today, the new Helen Mirren film about Maria Altmann's fight to recover the Klimt painting of her aunt that had been looted by the Nazis in Vienna before the war.



The film has had mixed reviews as you would expect with a lot of the story 'schmaltzified' and the complex legal questions and international issues either simplified or glossed over but it was OK for all that.

A device used in the film was bringing to life photographs and memories. This I really liked.

Old black and white photographs would morph into living people as Altmann (Mirren) looked at them and remembered the day.
Also, when she was remembering places and occasions she would, as her current day self, be included in the scene with the living people of her memories.

Clever that and I haven't seen it done so well before.

I tried to download a sample from the film showing this but couldn't find the right one.

Never mind, I found this interesting video which you might enjoy.

WOMEN - KNOW YOUR LIMITS!

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

PLAYING AWAY

I had a great weekend in and around Wellington over Easter.

A great evening at Richard and Shelley's place on Good Friday meant that I needed a long walk next morning to clear my head.

I climbed up 'Anselme's Hill' behind their house. I hadn't meant to go to the top as I only wanted some fresh air but once you start walking up a hill you might as well complete it. The view at the top was well worthwhile and the view of Nuova Lazio surprised me. The settlement is really large. This of course beggars the question - "Why aren't there more services like cinemas, restaurants, shops, gay bars, wine bars and entertainment  centres?" Hopefully these things will come in time.

After a heart-stopping, hearty breakfast, my hosts took me on a tiki-tour around the lesser known parts of Wellington.
We visited places where they almost lived, once wanted to live, where distant relatives died, where friends moved from, where friends moved to, where I used to live, where sports centres once stood, where....... you get the picture.


Mind you it was just the thing for a slow moving Saturday.


I got dropped off at Paraparaumu where my sister lives and from where I was flying out on Sunday.
Her house is right next to the airport which is interesting for watching small and mid-size planes taking off and landing. It was a 3 minute walk from the house to the new terminal. Magic.

On Sunday morning I heard the unmistakable sound of a Bell helicopter coming in (having watched most of the films made about the Vietnam war).

Unfortunately I wasn't in time to film it or photograph it which was a shame as it flew in over the house and drifted in for a landing out in front of the lounge windows.


I hoped that it would take off again soon so went outside to the garden and when I heard it start up I climbed the fence separating my sister's property from the airport and got my cell-phone out.
The Huey took off behind the terminal and behind the trees unfortunately further away than I was hoping for but I managed to get a bit of a video clip.

Just as it disappeared I fell off the fence.

See this link:         http://youtu.be/w0RcUvKzZLQ

THEY'RE STILL TRYING TO KILL US

Richard, walk away now as this is a further discussion of chemical products that manufacturers use in our everyday products that are dangerous.

Triclosan is purported to be an anti-bacterial agent that keeps us clean and healthy. In fact it is causing problems in making us less resistant to bad bugs and is a threat to the environment as it is in many soaps, detergents, toothpaste, shampoos etc and gets flushed away into the sea.

Like the other dangerous products (methylisothiazolinone, double basses, sodium-lauryl-sulphate etc) this nasty is overused because it's cheap.

Watch what you are buying and using.


Thursday, 2 April 2015

JOKING ABOUT

I watch a bit of reality TV but draw the line at crap like Meet the Kardashians, The Bachelor, Master Chef, Hell's Kitchen, Big Brother and various Idol shows.

The ones I watch are often the police, Customs and Traffic programmes much to The Old Girl's disgust.

Police 10 Seven is one along with RBT.


The format pisses me off with all of the repeated segments but generally the content is interesting - watching basically idiots who would qualify for a Darwin award going about their pathetic daily business.



There's been an annoying PC (pun intended) creeping in of recent though where obviously the PR advisors to the Police have suggested that they interact a bit more with their 'clients' in a more positive manner.


This is why we're seeing the cops joking around with the idiots that they apprehend.
The trouble with this is that the low-life's are mentally challenged and think that they are more important that they are and that their offending is a joke.

Bring back the old-fashioned Graham Bell who used to head up Police 10 Seven.


He called these guys scumbags and didn't see any of it as funny. The new format with a voice-over guy trying to be a comedian, to me, robs the show of impact.

My suggestions are:
  • Get rid of the bonhomie with the crims, lowlifes and idiots that they pull over
  • Totally ban police scanners - they should be illegal to buy
  • Show a bit more of the victim's story 
  • Demonstrate the consequences of crimes, drink-driving and speed
Also, what is extremely frustrating and definitely must be so for the police is that after a police chase and apprehension for anything from drink-driving, burglary, assault, abusive drunkenness, speeding and running red lights we see that the outcome is that the charges are dropped or, if they go to court the sentence is community work, very small fines, divergence or for very serious cases, home detention.

It's a joke alright



NEW POST - THE NEW DIFFERENT TIME ZONE BILL

Bill just got back from travelling and published a new post      HERE   It's good that he's busy but I'm starting to ...