Tuesday, 31 March 2015

GOTCHA!

A nasty little Aussi bastard has featured in our news recently.



No, not this little scrote but hopefully he'll get his soon

No. I mean this little bastard.

Queensland Fruit Fly


It was discovered (again) in Grey Lynn Auckland recently and threatens to destroy our fruit industry.

But .......


We got it.



Or seemed to as MAF is said to have recovered it although god knows how.


Monday, 30 March 2015

STUPIDITY IN ADVERTISING - An occasional series

AA Life Cover, in its latest TV advertising have chosen to use sheep (a ram and a lamb) because, according to AA Life's General Manager, they wanted a 'truly Kiwi approach'.



Well, fuck me, if this GM really understood the Kiwi approach to livestock she'd understand that lambs in New Zealand are living on borrowed time and their future isn't particularly rosy unless you count the rosemary that they'll be cooked with.

Stupid.

THE BEST BACON AND EGG PIE IN THE WORLD

Well, certainly the best bacon and egg pie that I've bought and not cooked myself is to be found at Mokaba cafe in the Whangarei Basin.

Every couple of months I go there and have a slice and a coffee.



I never ask for it to be heated as I hate what cafes do to pastries when they microwave them. They come out all soggy.
I ask for the bacon and egg pie to come as it is knowing that as they do a good turnover of these that it is likely to be not long out of the oven and still with residual warmth.

Mokaba use good quality bacon which has no excess fat. They cook complete eggs (not mushed up) in the pie, properly cook the bottom and use spinach in it as a green.
The only thing I don't like but that some people will is that on the latest one I've had they put mushrooms in it. No problem though as it's not the flavour of the mushrooms I don't like it's the texture. I simply take them out.


Sunday, 29 March 2015

BASTARDS


NOW DON'T BECOME A BIT OF A CRANK ABOUT THIS




 Remember this?

HELP ME SPARKY


 I was thinking of it yesterday as I was flying to Whangarei.
I was sitting in 10A in Air NZ's Bombardier which was the emergency exit row and I was looking out below the wing at the landing wheel mechanism.

Bombardier


Wheel


It was intriguing watching the hydraulics operate when the mechanism was operating on take-off and disengaged in the air.

I was thinking of the things that can go wrong.

Watching as the plane ran down the runway I was impressed at how the wheel mechanism handled the pressures and stresses imposed by the velocity and the bumping from contact with the tarmac.
Peering closely I could see all of the external components - little hydraulic valves, connecting joints, hinges, flanges, etc, all rattling and moving and I though "Gee, I hope that they're in good nick"

Fortunately, Air New Zealand has a really good maintenance programme, discipline and record and I think, leads the world in this.

I felt reassured but couldn't help thinking of that old kid's radio programme (1947) that I first heard in about 1959. It resonated.

Mind you, in light of recent developments, aircraft maintenance is second to terrorism and the fact that our lives are in the hands of a pilot who may or may not be suicidal.




SO WHAT DID YOU DO ON THE WEEKEND?

I had a great weekend up at our Northland house.
Having taken advantage of some really cheap Air New Zealand flights I was able to fly again to Onerahi for only a little more than the cost of the bus that I usually use.

The weather was great and in fact on Saturday afternoon it was so hot and with no wind that on a walk I felt a bit faint.
Arriving back home I was hot so went for a swim.
The harbour was as flat as a millpond and the water still relatively warm so for me (a wimp when it comes to getting in to the water) it only took about 5 minutes to get in up to my neck. I was still wearing my glasses and cap as I hadn't planned to dive in. If I had I'd have worn my serious swimming gear.



I frolicked about, swam (head above water) floated and did everything except pee in the water for about 40 minutes. Magic! Even more so since it's almost April and definitely Autumn.

Arriving home this evening I managed to get our TV in the apartment to accept PRIME TV. This involved wheeling the TV away from the wall and positioning it in the doorway out to the deck. Reception is better and I can now watch the cricket although at this stage (Australia just starting their batting) I don't know if that's a good thing.

Hey! A wicket. Australia 2 runs for one. Brilliant. I take it back.

Home-made pizza and  Hawkes Bay Chardonnay - what could be better?

The weekend had a sour note though as on Saturday afternoon the local fire station's siren (an old WW2 alarm) went off and looking out I saw black smoke across the bay not far from the fire station.



A house burnt down to the ground in a matter of half an hour. No-one hurt thankfully.

It makes you think.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

OK WE WON.....

on the last or second to last fricken ball!

Bloody hell!

I don't have SKY TV and Prime doesn't work in the apartment so I relied on getting updates from the computer. It really looked like we were down the drain but then........


This is what happened when that 6 was hit.




Sky Tower let off fireworks.

Well done those despicable money grubbing bastards.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

ART FOR ART'S SAKE...

MONEY FOR GOD'S SAKE

ART FOR ART SAKE - 10CC

Good song that.

To complete my weekend I went to the Auckland Art Gallery today.

Billy Apple has an exhibition there.



This is Billy Apple the Warhol inspired New Zealand artist who has dabbled at the fringes of the art world for half a century.

He cleverly and cynically employed a 'sell-out' strategy selling pieces of art that were IOU's, cheques, signatures and all sorts of crap. It was kind of funny once or twice (like Dick Frizzell's stuff) but when overdone is a bit boring.



It didn't discourage the noters and the 'unsure' art buyers who would pay money for it "just in case".

Quite frankly it doesn't do a lot for me.

It didn't do a lot for my mother either.
In 1975, Apple brought his installation sculptures to New Zealand. In Wellington he set up one of these in the Taj Mahal (which is now a Welsh bar) in Courtenay Place. It was a small art gallery then and previously was  public toilets which I guess suits Apple's works.



The installation he set up was his broken glass one that he had used in New York in 1970 where a lot of the poseurs and 'unsure' collectors raved about it.



My mother had heard about a 'famous' artist having an exhibition so went to view it.
She stepped over the tiny rope barrier (she was a bit short sighted bless her) and crunched across the broken glass.
"Heavens" she said "who put that here, it's a bit dangerous"
Apple who was on the other side of the room screamed at her to get off his valuable artwork.
Mum said that if it was his then he should get a broom and sweep it up.

She got thrown out of the gallery.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I wandered around the rest of the gallery and saw a great exhibition on German political art through the centuries and a photographic exhibition of some funny portraits.

A few of them reminded me of Robert and Richard.

This reminded me of the skeleton in Robert's closet window



This one reminded me of Richard for some reason


And another of Richard wearing a funny hat


Leaving the gallery I wandered through the adjacent Albert Park which is always lovely and especially so on a sunny afternoon.



There was a film crew there filming some kind of Chinese superhero thing which was a bit of a laugh.



It's all go in the city I tell you.


Saturday, 21 March 2015

WHAT DID YOU DO ON THE WEEKEND?

I flew to Wellington on Friday afternoon.



Wellington weather was great and it was a cruisy flight



I enjoyed a great evening of music at The Prowse Brothers' concert.





On Saturday morning I had brunch and a catch up with good friends.



Magic.

"WHERE'S ROBERT"

"Where's Robert?" Humbert mused as he left the pub and made his way to the Hillbilly Club.
Slipping in unnoticed he took a seat at the back of the concert and watched and waited.

The band were in full swing obviously oblivious to the threat.


Humbert was worried. Very worried but the music was infectious and the wine, Mills Reef Gimblett Gravels Syrah deliciously seductive. "I might give up coffee for this" he mused.





Gradually Humbert relaxed, sipping away at the syrah and listening to the Prowse Brothers (all but one)  as they entertained to a sell-out audience.









Humbert was happy. Very happy.

The next day, nursing a slight hangover, Humbert vowed to never drink wine again and to stick to coffee.

He decided to beard Robert in his den. With Richard's help he found Robert's house and knocked on the door.
No answer.

He rang the doorbell.
No answer.

He rang the other doorbell.
No answer.

He noted the three locks on the door.
"This looks bad" he thought.

Humbert decided to investigate around the house. At an annex there was a large sign stating that it was a medical centre and invited patients to attend.
"Strange" Humbert thought.

He made his way around the front of the house having walked around a gate that stood on its own with no fence attached - "even stranger" he thought.

As he looked around Humbert had a strange prickly sensation at the back of his neck.
He felt that he was being watched.




By this time Richard was getting nervous. "There's only two hours before you have to be at the airport" he called out. Richard is a bit of a worry wort.

As they drove off Humbert was sure that he heard someone snicker but couldn't quite place where it came from."Robert will have to keep" he said to Richard.





Friday, 20 March 2015

ALL NIGHT LONG

LIONEL RICHIE - ALL NIGHT LONG

Nice music that.

Well last night I went to a film - 'Run All Night' with Liam Neeson and Ed Harris.



This is a cut above the crap 'Taken' films that Neeson has recently acted in and is set in New York amidst the Irish gangster community.
The film is quite classy with lots of violence but unfortunately no saving graces. 'The Drop' also set in New York with Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini is much better.

After the film I wandered through Aotea Square. They have a Festival garden set up for the duration of the Auckland Festival with a classy bar, nice seating area and an auditorium featuring free concerts.
Last night it was Lewis McCallum with a singer.



McCallum plays saxophone very well and the music was a kind of jazz, techno, easy listening fusion, just the thing for a balmy evening.

I enjoyed a glass of Pinot Noir and the music for an hour before toddling off home.


Thursday, 19 March 2015

NOTHING WORTH WATCHING

I may have complained about the choices for films nowadays. I can't remember because I complain about a lot of things.

Basically, in New Zealand, the cinema industry has gone the same way as most of the retail industry - large, amorphous, foreign-owned and soulless.



Gone are most of the small independent cinemas with those remaining tending to show the same Hollywood originated crap as the big chains.



When looking for a film to go to the same old rubbish appears at all the cinema chains at the same time.

Why is this?

The chains are obviously connected with the industry machine and this is predominantly American. They have a vested interest in forcing the latest offerings on consumers before they go to video.
They also assume that anyone wanting anything else will buy or rent videos or watch via paid TV.



The problem with this assumption is that it's not necessarily true.
I for one don't like watching films on TV screens or computer monitors. I like the big-screen and theatre experience.

Other major cities around the world have lots of small cinemas showing non-American films, documentaries, older classics and generally a wealth of cinematic offerings. Why can't we have this here in a city the size of Auckland?

I think I'll join the film society again.


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

ENGAGEMENT

Humbert was finishing off the landscaping at Trixie's bungalow when he got the call.

He shovelled the last of the 15 cubic metres of soil which he had excavated for a hot pool, onto the raised growing beds. He'd hewn the logs from a fallen sequoia tree and fashioned a dozen 12 foot by 12 foot by 4 foot planters in which he planned to grow herbs, vegetables and flowers for Trixie.




The call was from Richard and while the old guy was trying to sound upbeat Humbert knew that something was wrong. Very wrong.

Richard said that his band, or what was left of it, was playing a gig at the Bluegrass Society on the coming weekend. Bluegrass Society. This was bad. Very bad.


Humbert knew from his military experience, growing up and living in army base towns throughout the South that Bluegrass hid any number of weirdos from the burnt out drug-ingesting hippies through to the full-blown, gun-toting crazies who could do a Timothy McVeigh at any time. Humbert was worried. Very worried.




Talking to Richard, Humbert tried to keep positive to cheer him along but what he heard froze his blood. Richard said that his brother Chris was likely to make trouble again. Chris doesn't like rubato intros or outros and Richard, foolishly had a couple planned. Humbert calculated the likely fallout of this while he mumbled a few yeses and noes and maybes as Richard rambled on. Then came the bombshell. Richard said that Chris might amp up his guitar. Humbert knew what this meant. Richard always believed that Chris should learn to play his guitar louder, in order to match the uncomfortable loud droning from the double bass, but the other guys in the band would be playing acoustically. This meant trouble. Big trouble.
Humbert would have to get over there just in case. He went through the odds of a good outcome in his head. 





  • The audience of in-bred, feral denim wearers;

  • The band of squabbling brothers always on the edge of violence;

  • The fact that the band were doing more beer drinking than practising recently;

  • The fact that the venue was going to be small with probably no cage protecting the band.
At least there was one positive. One of the crazies wasn't going to be there.
Not an audience member - the middle brother - the god-botherer.




That improved the odds somewhat but Humbert thought he'd better get some heavy armaments just in case.





"Hope for the best but plan for the worst."







Monday, 16 March 2015

WHAT I DID ON THE WEEKEND

OK, the pressure is off to actually write an interesting post.

The Abominable Scotsman seems to have gone on permanent walkabout; The Petone Ponderer has pondered herself out of existence with too much toe-gazing; Second Fiddle aka Ass aka God-knows-what has given up to write bogus news headlines; Richard of RBB is now just providing pictures of his daily routine (the previous narrative obviously wasn't boring enough).

So here is what I did on the weekend.

I flew to Onerahi airport on Saturday and was collected by Rod who is looking after our house up north.



I slept in the afternoon as I was tired and it was unseasonably awful outside (start of cyclone Pam).


I had a nice dinner with Rod and his wife Denise and watched a Belorussian film on TV.



On Sunday I slept in and then went for a drive with Rod to the supermarket and to check out storm damage on my sister's nearby holiday house.



On Sunday afternoon I played snooker with the old guys down the road.
Against the usual state of play I was the best on the day.



Sunday evening I cooked dinner (rack of lamb, roast potatoes and broccoli) as Denise had headed off to a conference and Rod is one of those old fashioned guys who can't fend for himself when his better half is away.



Sunday night I lay awake most of the night waiting for the forecast storm which apparently was supposed to rip the roof off.


On both Saturday night and Sunday night my good friend willow slept on my bed.



On Monday morning Rod drove me to the airport and I had to wait an extra hour an a half due to plane delays due to Pam hitting Gisborne and Hawkes Bay.



Hey!

You!

Still with me?



Friday, 13 March 2015

STORM CHASING

I'm flying up north tomorrow and returning on Monday.

All the time I've been going up north this will be the first time I will have flown.
I'm looking forward to it as I like flying in small planes.

Air NZ had a deal going last month for $109 return flights Auckland to Whangarei (about a quarter of the normal price) so I booked two flights - one this weekend and then another two weeks later.

The Old Girl has made the flight a few times and raves about the wonderful views as the plane tracks the coastline.

The trouble is that this weekend the Vanuatu cyclone may hit the north-east coast so the return trip may be a bit interesting.



Oh well. I've flown upside down before. I managed this when learning to fly in Wellington years ago when I became disoriented flying in cloud. What a funny feeling that was.



"WE'RE A TOILET"

I like John Oliver. His retakes of the news are insightful and very funny. Have a look via the link below at his latest review of Facebook...