Tuesday, 31 October 2017

IF MOVIES WERE LIKE REAL LIFE # 3

Number three - DIE HARD






In this film Bruce Willis is NYPD Detective John McClane. He arrives in Los Angeles to reconcile with his estranged wife, Holly, at the Christmas party of her employer, the Nakatomi corporation. While McClane changes clothes, the party is disrupted by the arrival of a German terrorist named Hans Gruber and his heavily armed team: Karl, Tony, Franco, Theo, Alexander, Marco, Kristoff, Eddie, Uli, Heinrich, Fritz, and James. The group seizes the tower and secures those inside as hostages, except for McClane, who slips away.


Gruber singles out Nakatomi executive Joseph Takagi, and says he intends to teach the corporation a lesson for its greed. Isolated from the hostages, Gruber interrogates Takagi for the code to the building's vault and reveals that he plans to steal $640 million in bearer bonds, with terrorism merely being a distraction. Takagi refuses to cooperate and is murdered by Gruber. McClane, who was secretly watching, accidentally gives himself away and is pursued by Tony. McClane kills Tony and takes his gun and radio. He hides himself and uses the radio to try and contact the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).:



McClane: (using radio) ... Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep ....


McClane: "Fuck's wrong wid dis fugging thing fuckit!








McClane: (using radio) ... Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep ....








McClane: "Motherfugging bastards fuck it , what the fu.."






LAPD: "Hello - you there Honey whatcha want?"






McClane: (trying to whisper) "Hello? LAPD? Look I need some assistance here I'm in...."






LAPD: "Puttin' ya'all on hold Honey."






McClane: "Hey Listen......






LAPD: (buzzzzzzzzzzz.)






McClane: (louder) "FUCK! Fucking fuckers, fuck, fuck FUCK!"






Gruber and his henchmen have heard McClane trying to talk to the LAPD.


They come around the corner of the reception desk and blast him away with their automatic weapons.










*******************************






Film ends.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

IF MOVIES WERE LIKE REAL LIFE # 2


Number two - SWORDFISH





Hugh Jackman's character is a computer hacker, out of jail but on parole and forbidden from using computers.

Halle Berry's character gets Jackman to go to Los Angeles to meet John Travolta's character - the bad guy to do a job. He has one minute to hack into a government computer system for which he will get paid $10 million dollars.

Travolta holds a gun to Jackman's head as an incentive to get the job done in under a minute or he will get shot.



As an extra incentive a blonde woman proceeds to, ahem, give him a blowjob while he hacks (for some reason the director thinks that this is a way of keeping him focussed - go figure).






*********************

As this is real life it was impossible to hack into the government computer system in a minute. Jackman was still going through pet names password options when the minute was up.
Travolta shoots him dead.

Fortunately for Jackman though , as a kind of consolation, as this is real life, he manages to come from the blonde woman's ministrations well within the minute.


********************


The movie only lasts about 10 minutes.


Saturday, 28 October 2017

BACK ON TRACK



One of the good things (for me) to come out of the Labour/Greens/NZ First coalition government is prioritisation of the Northland rail network revitalisation. This will have at least $800 million allocated to it which to my mind is money better spent than fancying up the road network.

Fixing the rail network will be way cheaper than the plans for roading


As recent as 2016 Kiwi Rail banned the use of passenger trains on the Northland Rail network (around Auckland) due to the rail lines being in such poor shape. This proposed rebuilding which is to start as soon as possible is great news for Northland and its economic development. Forestry, dairy, ship-building and heavy industry will benefit from having viable rail services again and the use of rail instead of road will benefit road users by taking pressure off and making travelling safer.


I posted on this in 2010 when the National Government tried to bury rail forever:

BLOOD ON THE TRACKS

I just hope that after the Northland rebuild that attention is given to rail throughout the rest of the country. New Zealand is one of the few countries in the world without a decent national railway system and it's time we caught up.




Friday, 27 October 2017

IF MOVIES WERE LIKE REAL LIFE - #1

Number one - Gunfight at the OK Corral.




The big showdown in the last scene

Wyatt Earp, his brothers Earl and Morgan and Doc Holliday approach the corral and barn at the edge of town. They have a 'meeting' arranged with the Clancy gang since the Clancy's killed James, the youngest Earp brother in a bushwhacking.

Ike and Billy Clanton and four of their henchmen come out of the barn and spread out to face the good guys.

Some spirited dialogue ensues with challenges made to draw coming from both sides. A motley collection of handguns are tugged from their holsters (some snagging on the ratty leather) and shots are fired. Given that these guns were lucky to fire at the best of times without blowing up and were completely inaccurate, no-one was hit. The two sides nervously walked a bit closer to each other.






What the Earps had done unfortunately was to tragically underestimate the strength of the Clancy gang and in fact didn't know that there were more than two brothers. Noel Clancy and Yort Clancy had been hiding behind the barn and now stepped out behind the three Earp brothers and Doc Holliday. These two were cunning and each had a double barrelled shotgun in their hands. Four blasts at close range tore through the good guys sending them flying and bleeding to the feet of the Clancy gang who, at very close range despatched them with shots to the head from their hand-guns.




    The End




I

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

MOTHER'S LITTLE HELPER





I listened to an interesting report on National Radio yesterday on the rise of opioid use. It seems that drug companies for at least 3 decades have, with complicit assistance from legislators created a problem that will take many more decades to fix.

USA is the worst in opioid production and misuse to the point where more Americans died last year from opioid overdoses than were killed in the Vietnam war. Initially designed for relief of cancer pain, opioids are now consumed by far more people than cancer sufferers and overuse and overdosing has reached epidemic proportions in some USA states. The FDA is seeking to reduce production in 2018 by 20 to 25% which will obviously bring about a backlash from the powerful drug companies who have massive lobbying powers and who control many politicians.
It was the drug companies and their bribing of the medical profession that led to the problem in the beginning with doctors over-prescribing codeine based medicines and the new opioids with little controls and restrictions.

The new synthetics like  Fentanyl and Meperidine are way more powerful than the natural opiates like morphine and heroin (which lead to addiction, overuse and death) and are in the market as prescribed drugs and illegally being mixed with the 'natural' opiates causing a spike in overdose deaths (Prince for example).

The semi-synthetics like Buprenorphine, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone etc. are the ones most prescribed by doctors and with mass manufacture are most likely to be handled illegally. If the FDA is successful in cutting back production by 25% then the 'legal' drug companies  will have to find new channels of distribution. New Zealand and Australia will be in their sights. Opioid prescription has risen in New Zealand over the last couple of years and this seems to be further increasing.
I remember years ago discovering that my mother's doctor (a real useless bastard) had been freely prescribing her Di-gesic (dextropoxyphene hydrochloride and paracetamol blend) for arthritic pain relief. This drug had been banned in several countries. I got my sister, a GP, to intervene and to substitute safer analgesics.

When I had a painful bout of shingles and the neuralgia aftermath PNS late last year, I was prescribed several different painkillers - Tramadol (synthetic), Amitriptylene (anti-depressive, Oxycodone (semi-synthetic) and codeine. I only briefly tried these and decided I didn't want the side effects or the risk of addiction and put up with the pain instead. It was a lousy period of disrupted sleep and discomfort but I got through it.

It occurred to me that years ago, in New Zealand we didn't have all this prescribed shit and made do with aspirin and paracetamol for pain. Severe clinical pain could be handled in hospitals and clinics. The guy on the street didn't have to be doped to the eyeballs.




The illegal manufacturers in China, Myanmar and other countries also have their eyes on New Zealand and the dangerous and powerful synthetics like Fentanyl are turning up in concoctions of heroin, morphine and synthetic marijuana thus leading to the 'unexplained' deaths we've recently been seeing.

Bastards!








Tuesday, 24 October 2017

LIKE A TENNIS CLUB COMMITTEE!




Like a tennis club committee' is an old saying and one that I've used a lot myself when describing the  useless and time-wasting meetings that I've been involved in over the years. The Old Girl reminded me of this recently when I joined a couple of local groups where we have to meet once a month. Fortunately these haven't devolved into time-wasting petty bureaucracy but there's still time.

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I play tennis at the local 'club'. This is two tennis courts and an old shed where a casual group meet every Tuesday and Thursday mornings to play tennis of varying quality. I love it because it is fun and casual and caters to players of all skill levels. How it has been operating is as follows:

  • Players gather from 8.30 and play goes to 11.30 with a coffee break at 10.
  • Both courts are used for double play
  • Court One dictates the duration of play. At the end of one game everyone moves around one place - the server goes to the sideline (if there are people waiting - usually one or two people at most) - the other person at the server end takes over the serve - the receiver moves one place to the left - the person who was in that position moves to the next court - the people on Court Two each move along in the same way (server to sideline etc)
  • When Court One game ends then Court Two also stops regardless of what the score is.
  • This means that Court One games are more 'competitive' and Court Two games more 'casual' and used as a kind of practice.
  • The result is a great form of mixing and matching with tennis at a relaxed level with a few games for the better players to get their teeth into.
That was how it was until last week when a few players got together to change the 'rules'.
The new procedure put in place last week and argued about today is:
  • Both Court One and Court Two operate separately and both play a full game to completion.
  • At the end of each game the players move around but on that court only - they don't move across to the other court.
  • If there are people waiting then the server goes to the side-line at the end of the game.
  • After a half hour there is a swap of 50% of the players from court to court.
  • The result is that both courts take on more 'seriousness'
  • There is less mix and matching
  • There is less chance for practice
  • The result was absolute bloody confusion.


Today, at our coffee break which is usually a bit of a chat and gossip session there was a big discussion on the new rules. Half of the attendees wanted to return to the old system and a vocal few (the better players) wanted to at least give the new system more of a go. We kind of agreed this but it was clear in the grumpiness and petty arguments over line calls in the second half of play that something has been lost by making this change.

I can't make it this Thursday but hope that next Tuesday the 'tennis club committee' will have seen sense and reverted to a system that worked well and created harmony.





Sunday, 22 October 2017

I'M A HAPPY CHAPPIE*

* Which is a strange thing for a curmudgeon to say but it's true.


I just arrived back from Auckland. I went down yesterday to join The Old Girl as we went to see Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvasov with the Auckland Philharmonic (and another baritone geezer) at Aotea Centre.



Wow! Wow! And Wow!

This was classy stuff. Netrebko comes onto and off the stage like a galleon in full sail. Her voice is outstanding. Eyvazovf is no slouch either and he nailed most of what he sang.

We are lucky in little old Nuzil to see stuff of this calibre.

In the second half when Eyvasov sang  Le Lucevan Le Stelle from Tosca and sang it beautifully, I was in heaven. I said to The Old Girl "Now I'd love to hear him sing Vesti La Giubba  from Pagliacci as we'd heard Pavarotti sing both of these. Well blow me down - he came back on and sang a powerful version of Vesti La Giubba. Beautiful.

Not knowing that I was on a roll I again whispered to The Old Girl that if Netrebko was to sing that outstanding aria from La Wally then I'd need nothing else. Next moment on she sailed and launched into Ebben? Ne Andro Lontano.  Stunning.

I thought that I'd died and gone to heaven but wait - there's more! Eyvazov came back on and sang Nessun Dorma from Turandot another that we'd heard Pavarotti sing. This was powerful and wonderful stuff only marred by the Kraut woman in the row behind us who felt compelled to clap over-vigourously and yell out 'Brava' at every opportunity. Silly cow.

***********************

The Auckland Philharmonic orchestra were great. There must have been about seventy of the buggers and they all seemed to know what they were doing. Five double basses seemed to be a bit of an overkill though. I told The Old Girl that the other four must have been spares in case of an accident.
I was disappointed that Gossamer Wump wasn't there though.



It seems that cost cutting has done away with him and one of the percussionists has taken over his role. To be fair though I only saw the triangle being banged once.

I was watching the percussionists and saw a woman stand up from her big drum (she was the same one who hit the triangle that one time) and move across to some upright organ pipes. She had a hammer in her hand and I thought "Hello, this'll be good". I watched the conductor Michel Tatarnikov to see if he knew what was going on and, to his credit at the very right time he looked up and pointed his stick at the woman and she banged the upright chimes thing. Magic. I was impressed with Tatarnkov as I'd disparaged him as I usually do with conductors as he'd turned up late just as all the others do. All the orchestra seem to make the effort to get seated and ready and it's always the conductor who strolls in later. Shoddy.

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Friday, 20 October 2017

FRIDAY NIGHT DOWN AT THE GRAND


Drink yourself more bliss.





In the early days of university in Wellington, on Friday nights, a group of us invariably met up in the public bar of The Grand Hotel in Willis Street.
This bar, for several years was the unofficial 'club' for Victoria University students and while being a bit dowdy and smelling of stale cigarettes and beer-soaked carpets had a kind of comforting feel about it. Tony, Mike, Noel, Richard and I and some others would meet up there from about 7PM to 10PM (closing time) and with luck head off to some party or other. The luck was only in heading off to some party or other - we never got 'lucky'. Thinking back on it, until Noel turned 20 he sat outside in Tony's car as he'd promised his dad that he wouldn't enter a pub until he was of legal age. It didn't stop the rest of us.

I enjoyed those times.

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I'm enjoying these times as well and I might have banged on about , beleaguered , mentioned the kayaking, swimming, walking, golfing, playing tennis and bowls and various other activities that occupy me now that I've retired. Those are during the day though. Evenings are different. The Old Girl is in Auckland during the week so I rattle around here on my own. I'm a member of our local club which is kind of like a mini RSA or a Cosmopolitan Club (no Richard, I haven't been kicked out yet). On Friday nights they have a 'members draw' where at about 8PM a member's registration number is drawn out of a hat and, if that member is paid up, and, on the premises when the draw is made stands to win a sum of money. The draw starts at $100 and rolls over each week by $50 until drawn. A while back it got up to $1000 which is the cap. It was won and went back to $100. It now sits at $500.

I go up on the Friday nights that I'm not in Auckland and buy a couple of glasses of chardonnay and sit or stand around waiting for the draw. Now I have to say that it's not like being in Socrates Circle up there. I really don't have much in common with the other members. I'm not being snobbish in any way at all as there is quite a mixed socio-demographic here - it's just that I don't fit in anymore with pub or club members.

The trouble with having moved away from Wellington and subsequently moved away from Auckland is that I've left friends behind, particularly those friends who were comfortable to go out with for a drink or a meal. I miss that. I was thinking tonight at the club while I stood around for my two glasses of wine, making desultory conversation with the odd member, as to how good it would be if the 'old gang' from The Grand in Willis Street from 1972 or 1973 were there.


Thursday, 19 October 2017

YOU CAN'T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT...

".... but if you try sometime, you might find,  you'll get what you need."

Yeah, yeah, I know that you're familiar with the song and the lyrics given that you're all well versed in 1960s ad 1970s rock music (or I certainly hope you are so.) so I won't post the video.





*********************


WAITING. WAITING.



Well I've been waiting all afternoon for the announcement as to which coalition government we will have. It lingered on as you know but finally Winnie came though - with the right result. A labour led coalition government.
I've been pissed off with Winston Peters' politicking over the last few weeks but, after having given up on him, I have been impressed with his radio interview (National Radio) when he's held his own against antagonistic interviewers on both major sides of the political spectrum. Well done Winnie!..

***********************

While waiting I've been enjoying one of the best afternoons that I've had up north for some time. 
There was no wind, it's been sunny and the bay has looked fantastic..

This morning I played tennis at the local club (always fun and a nice bit of exercise for an old joker) and this afternoon played lawn bowls, again at a local club which I've just joined so I've had an enjoyable day. Waiting for the announcement of the coalition I thought about what my dinner (tea) would look like. Avoiding blue was easy so I chose pizza which I prepared from: a Turkish pizza base; tomato paste; Mozzarella cheese; sliced cooked potato; sliced grilled capsicum; sliced olives; sliced bottled spicy peppers; sliced artichoke hearts and more Mozzarella cheese . Yummy!

I prepared this and was waiting to put into the oven (only takes 10 minutes) while listening to National Radio and awaiting the outcome of the coalition negotiations.
It was so nice out on the deck that I sat out there at the Macrocarpa table with  the matching chairs that are very substantial (except for the occasional storm that tips on of the chairs over) and relished the view while solving crosswords and sipping wine.

A lot of wine.

I sipped at the last quarter bottle of an excellent Nelson Gewurtztraminer before opening a pretty good Waipara Riesling and, with the coalition government announcement finally coming through and being able to cook my pizza I re-opened the outstanding Martinborough Pinot Noir I had in the fridge (one third of a bottle - all gone now).

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So. Here I am - happy. We've had experience of a NZ First/National coalition government before that didn't work. I really, really hope that this one will. To me it seems that we have the best of the options - Labour, Greens and NZ First.

Onwards and upwards.

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Tuesday, 17 October 2017

KEEPING BUSY

For those of us who have reached that magic age of 65 when we receive government superannuation, a gold card, free public transport, cinema discounts and other things - life is pretty good right now. The challenge will be to keep our health and with luck our earnings in order for us to enjoy the moment.

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Most of us will have earned our current situation. While not one of limitless wealth and splendour, hopefully it will be an opportunity to enjoy our 'golden' years and do things we really want to do without being beholden to an employer and to do so affordably.
Robert has stated that he doesn't believe in unemployment and will work until they put him in a box. That's OK, he's entitled to his own life preferences but he shouldn't adopt  a 'holier than thou' attitude in expounding this. People at age 65 who elect (or more usually have the decision thrust on them) to give up working are not lazy. They're not a burden on society. They are not useless. They in fact are usually the demographic who vote, take an interest in civics, are watchdogs against crime, littering, social infractions and generally have life and business experience that is useful to younger generations. I know myself that for 35 years I worked long hours, in the later years in positions of high responsibility and stress. I was lucky to have stepped off the treadmill at age 55 and then worked mainly part time for the next 10 years but know that I've contributed and have nothing to feel guilty for.

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We all have our own ways of relaxing and/or making best use of our time. Some old geezers like to do home maintenance, some are artistic in fine arts, music or literature. Some, like me, are a bit lazy and useless at home-handyman stuff and  have no musical ability but still know how to make use of their time.

I belong to a couple of worthwhile community groups and volunteer my time to help where needed.
After this I've decided to take advantage of being able to do what I want and when I want and I go:

Walking.



We have plenty of pleasant coastal walks where I live from easy gradients to some pretty steep, bush-bashing stuff. I can mix it up as much as I feel like (health and fitness permitting). I should ideally walk every day but try and make sure that it is at least every other day.


Golfing




I pay a 9 hole membership at the local golf course which allows me on to the course any day of the week. I very rarely play with anyone else, preferring to go out on my own and play anything from 5 to 9 holes depending on how much time I have allocated myself. I try and play any individual hole better than I last did. I find this to be as good a challenge as playing a game with others.  The golf course is by the sea and has outstanding views from most fairways.


Tennis




I play tennis twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I haven't yet recovered the skills I had when I played tennis at secondary school many years ago but I'm getting better. The local club is made up of oldies so we are all a bit similar in playing ability. The set up is great with two courts in play and doubles being played. After each single game everyone moves around one spot. This mixes and matches and doesn't create disillusionment by someone losing a set 6 games to love.


Bowls




I've just joined the local bowls club. I've never belonged to a bowling club before but have played bowls. I used to have a 'roll-up' with my parents years ago and, when I managed Wine and Spirit Merchants in Auckland in the 1980s, and as these sponsored many bowling clubs, I used to play in the odd club tournament. I was pretty good. When I played my first game for over 30 years last week I performed well enough to be asked to play in weekly tournaments. I refused though as I don't want to spend a whole day playing bowls, I like to, just like with golf and tennis, have a bit of fun for a couple of hours.


Reading




I have more time to read what I want now that I'm not working. I get through at least one book a week sometimes more. I download books through Overdrive - on an iPad App for free. This gives me access to all eBooks in the Auckland library collection and I can generally find what I want immediately or after a short wait. I also download Audio books to my iPhone also from Auckland library via Overdrive. I listen to these when driving or when I go to Auckland on the bus.



Wine drinking



While I'm not drinking any more wine now that I'm retired I'm not drinking any less and this is too a nice way to relax and spend my time. I don't just guzzle the stuff as I have a lifetime interest (work and hobby) in wine and like to take time to evaluate what I've opened. Admittedly I don't get to try the wines of high quality I did in the past (and which were invariably free by way of samples and wine allowances) but I do try and 'pick the eyes out' of supermarket and on-line sales.


This brings me to the activity I usually avoid but which needs doing. I don't leave it as long as house maintenance and home-handyman jobs but this one has to be done fairly regularly.

Gardening




Gardening encompasses lawn-mowing, tree trimming and weeding as well as proactively planting flowers herbs and vegetables. I don't get any pleasure, as some people do in the act of gardening but must admit to a feeling of satisfaction after a stint in the garden which results in everything looking tidier. This always deserves a reward which brings us back to:



Wine drinking







Monday, 16 October 2017

WELL THAT'S BEEN MONDAY SO FAR

Richard (of RBB) said that he was going to do some work on his house today.
I hope that he got around to it as I heard that it's been a relatively fine day today:



For Wellington and Nuova Lazio that is.


With luck he took advantage of the conditions and got on the job (look when I say on the job I don't mean 'on the job' OK? That's an entire other thing).
I hope he's been careful as he's not very good with heights (and cows, dogs, cats, ducks, tramping, driving, university clubs,  etc) and I hope that someone held the ladder for him:



I'm not sure if he made the effort though as he seemed to spend a disproportionate amount of time reading and commenting on my blog(s). In one of his comments he offered to host my new blog THE CULTURED CURMUDGEON. I can understand that he's trying to increase both the ratings and the standards of his blog which is why no fee was mentioned so I agreed to it.


ART FOR ART'S SAKE

I've just created a new -sub-blog' hopefully not so named because it's going to sink out of sight.

An old retired schoolteacher and timid housepainter cast aspersions on my reviews of the nice windows that we have in our house so I thought that I'd create another blog dedicated to art and the finer things in life. This way the old Philistine need not visit and try to educate himself thus leaving more time for him to watch re-runs of Bruce Willis and Mel Gibson films.

The new blog is named THE CULTURED CURMUDGEON and the link is in the side panel of this blog.




Sunday, 15 October 2017

AYE UP


I discovered this DRAFT Post that I never published for some reason. I was writing it when I was in York a couple of years ago:

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(Initially written 17 August 2015.)

I've given up on using my lap top or iPad to try and write posts.
The lap top won't let me even open up the account and the iPad won't let me post images so I'm using the Old Girl's laptop instead.


York is pretty good although it seems to be full of Yorkshireman.


Everywhere you go there are Yorkshire accents and strange expressions making you feel like you're in one of those TV series.

YORKSHIREMAN


Funny that.


Ee by gum.....Aye up ........going dahn t'nick .....put wood inth'ole    etc.


I've walked around the walls a few times - it's a great way of getting around the city and criss-crossed most of it already. The cobbled streets are a bugger though as I've already twisted a knee which is painful ....that's a threp in't steans .....


It's giving me so much gyp that I bought a bike (a Raleigh mountain bike for 40 quid off an e Bay type site). As the gym we joined is a 25 minute walk away I bike there instead.

The Old Girl is in Copenhagen this weekend so I'm spending time on my own. This isn't a great hardship as there must be a dozen pubs just around the corner - the closest being next door. I'm trying out the local Yorkshire brews and other UK beers as wine by the glass is so expensive here as well as being bloody awful. We are pretty lucky in NZ with pricing and quality choices.





EMINEMTLY BETTER THAN MOST (C)RAP


Like him or hate him this is pretty good modern poetry.
Very clever rhymes and scan:


EMINEM - TRUMP


Friday, 13 October 2017

FROM THE BEGINNING


Great song this:

FROM THE BEGINNING

 I first heard it in 1973 when Mike Tony and I went to Christchurch for a university arts festival.
We were staying in billeted accommodation - a student flat during a university break (late July or August I think) and the students had left their stereo and one album - Emerson Lake and Palmer's Trilogy.



I already owned ELP's first album simply named Emerson, Lake and Palmer.


This, in 1971 appealed to my university student pretentiousness because this band weren't just a bloody good rock band - they were classically trained musicians. While The Rolling stones were ripping off American blues composers and claiming their works as their own, here was ELP helping themselves to Bartok, Janacek and traditional British folk composers - wrapping it up in Greek mythology and classicism. Great. If only I'd had a serious girlfriend to impress!

I wasn't that taken with most of the songs and musical pieces on Trilogy but 'In The Beginning' hit the spot with me. When we were in the flat and not out at arts festival events and trying to pick up women or, as Richard used to put it (the only thing he put in those days) 'looking for the sex', I would play this track over and over. It was just as well that no-one was trying to get any sleep as the room we had allocated to us only had one bed! A single bed (thank god). During the week we were there we took turns on a rotational basis - bed springs, mattress or floorboards.


The first track above is Greg Lake performing solo in 1992.

Here is the studio version for the album in 1972:


FROM THE BEGINNING


A MEMORY





I've been listening to the excellent Steve Braunias series on National Radio where Braunias reads from his book Twenty Places on the Edge of the World.





Today's story was about Tangimoana. Tangimoana is a Manawatu seaside community just north of the Kapiti Coast and is about a couple of hours drive north of Wellington (5 hours if you are in a car with Richard or Robert driving).






It's a small backwater community of about 200 people who seemingly get by with the help of cigarettes, drugs and alcohol. As a backwater it attracts alternative lifestyle people from the damaged to the artistic. It seems that Braunias (who spent 3 years travelling and researching his book) is attracted to this alternative New Zealand and it certainly makes for good listening.




Tangimoana is the location for the Tangimoana Station, a radio communications interception facility run by the New Zealand Government Communication Security Bureau which feeds information to USA and UK.

Nicky Hager outside Tangimoana Station


There have been protests against this facility over the years and some antagonists believe that it makes New Zealand a terrorist target.







*********************************************




My first experience of Tangimoana was in the early 1960s. The Wallaces were a neighbourhood family in Wellington who always seemed to have more than others. Back in egalitarian New Zealand of the 1950s and 1960s it was the Wallaces who were the first to have a television set (groups of neighbours would gather at their place to watch) and the Wallace kids always seemed to get the best Christmas presents. Old Man Wallace was a builder, not some sort of tycoon but he must have been doing something right (probably doing cash jobs). They were also the only ones we knew who had a holiday house known in those days as a bach. This bach was at Tangimoana or 'Tangi' as they called it. In my limited knowledge of Maori (now Te Reo Maori) Tangimoana meant a watery grave.






One summer the Wallaces invited me to go with them up to 'Tangi' for a week. This was pretty exciting for a 9 or 10 year old as normally school holidays involved going to stay with relatives in Marlborough or Canterbury and Christmas time meant being packed into the car for the yearly 'road trip' up north.


I remember having a great week staying in the bach which was close to the sea. Tangimoana has a great fishing beach and miles and miles of dunes which were great to play in.


The Wallaces' bach probably looked like this. That sign is prophetic.

New Zealand baches were and are nice and simple being shonkily built and added on to over the years. A good example to see is the display bach on Rangitoto Island which has been preserved for tourists to visit. It has all the Kiwiana of the 1950s and 1960s in situ.


On my first night in the batch I went to bed to sleep on sagging springs and a lumpy kapok mattress with slightly musty flannelette sheets and a candlewick bedcover. One of the Wallace kids got out a cricket bat and, alarmingly started to whack his bed before getting into it. When I asked what the hell (I didn't say 'fuck' in those days) he was doing he told me that rats sometimes made their nests inside the mattresses. I don't to this day know if he was winding me up or not but I can tell you that I hardly got any sleep that night and slept 'suspiciously' for the rest of the week.




Thursday, 12 October 2017

IT ZUCKS






"Facebook and Instagram completely broke for users around the world on Wednesday.

Those who attempted to go onto Facebook were shown a blank page, with nothing loading. Others reported that they could only load specific parts of the site or app.

Some found the site working entirely normally until they tried to post something, at which point it broke down."

- The Independent

Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

I don't 'do' Facebook having always thought that it was a vehicle for self indulgent adolescents with too much time on their hands (Blogger of course is a tool for mature and sensible people who have very important messages to get out to the community).



It's been interesting to see Facebook and the ridiculously rich founder Zuckerberg getting hauled over the coals in the USA for reporting fake news, interfering with the USA elections and perhaps even colluding with Russia.

 Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

EXPOSURE

I'm ashamed to say that there has been a recent flurry of condemnation of my posts and my behaviour on my blog. Mea culpa.




Richard (of Richard's Bass Bag) has recently been the most vociferous in condemnation. He has accused me of:

  • Making too many references to scenery and architecture
  • Recounting abnormal weather conditions
  • Insulting pregnant barmaids
  • Making comparison jokes
  • and, this is the worst, of being coy






Robert ( of a frequently changing and incomprehensible blog) has accused me of:
  • Being insensitive to the plight of the mentally unwell
  • Owning property
  • Being unemployed
  • Having superior taste in wine
  • Having a life


What can I say?

In my defence can I say that I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologise for it. Though I'm trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.
I'm an old dinosaur learning new ways. I came of age in the 60s and 70s when all the rules about behaviour and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.
I've since learned that it's not an excuse, on the blog sites or away from them. To anyone.

I'm going to undergo therapy with the intention of coming out of this a better person.



Robert, please pray for me.










Tuesday, 10 October 2017

OLD WELLINGTON DINOSAUR BEING PUT OUT TO PASTURE



It seems to have been around for ever in Wellington. It's big, has been enduring, sometimes shy and retiring, prone to occasional pole failure and has held us all up at street corners. Over the years it has hardly changed its livery even though it sometimes got a bit grubby. It got in the way and created a bit of a nuisance occasionally but hey, we all love it and now it has been given ts marching orders:





Sorry, sorry. Not him!

He'll still be around for a while I'm afraid.



No, this is the one that's going:

a late century version:




And the latest version:



They will be missed.








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