Tuesday, 27 September 2005

Anyone else have a craving for lamb?

I wonder if there will be lamb at the White House this Friday night...

We now return you to your normal programming

This may come as no surprise but I’ve been buying a few CDs the last couple days. Actually I’ve bought more than a few CDs. That said, I wouldn’t want you to think I’ve left CD stores with barren shelves in my wake.

Some new and some not so new tunes now bolster my ever-burgeoning collection on the iPod. Sad but true.

Mr Gwen Stefani and former Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale has a new band called Institute and they’ve just come out with their debut effort. I’ve never been that big a Bush fan but figured I’d buy it all the same to see what it was like. From the quick listen I’ve already managed it sounds a lot like Bush. Yet to work out whether I like it. It may grow on me.

Lamb have come out with a 2-CD set of remixed versions of their more widely known songs. Trans Fatty Acid hooked me back in the golden age of acid jazz and trip hop and it was a shame they never really improved from there. I haven’t really given the remixes much of a listen but the iPod seems satisified by the offering.

A year or so back there was a video on C4 for Bee Bo by Wellingtonian Miles Tilly aka Audiosauce and I really liked the song. It wasn’t until I loaded some of the long-languishing Radioactive compilations onto the iPod that the glory that is Bee Bo came flooding back to me. So I bought his debut effort Diversecity and his sophomore effort Contimental Drift and I am seriously loving the often weird blend of samples, beats and loops.

Interpol have been a personal fave since before I saw them live earlier this year and yes I am an impatient consumer whore so it should come as no surprise that I’ve also bought the Limited Edition of Antics so I could get my greedy hands on the bonus disc. Interpol were apparently planning to release the bonus disc as an EP but stuff waiting for that to happen in the fullness of time. The bonus disc has remixes of some of their songs by members of the band. Some work (Carlos D and Fog) and some don’t (Paul Banks and Daniel K). Either my Interpol collection is as complete as its gonna get. Yuss!

Sarah McLachlan has come out with a remix CD her own with some of her later gems remixed by the likes JXL and Thievery Corporation. As with the Antics bonus disc, some of them work and some of them don’t. Call me a purist but I’ve always tended to prefer her less embellished efforts. I mean how sad is it for the remix to be better than the original? Really sad.

PihaMatt got me onto RJD2 and my love affair with producer CDs started with Since We Last Spoke and grew out to include LCD Soundsystem and now back to RJD2’s debut effort Deadringer. Haven’t had a chance to thrash it out yet but if Ghostwriter is anything to go by then Deadringer will be a ripper.

Call me weak, but I felt like seeing if the Dandy Warhols could improve on their hit-and-miss effort Welcome to the Monkey House so I bought their latest effort the Odditorium. Not sure if it’s any good. Maybe the third or fourth listen will be the clincher. I’m not holding my breath though.

I held a new born lamb in my arms...

and couldn't help but think it would make a nice roast one day.

It was quite small but then the farmer said it was a triplet and apparently triplets start off smaller than lambs from less fecund ewes (thats momma sheep to you city types). Or at least I think thats what he said. He also mentioned something about ewes only having two teats so one of the triplets often fell behind in the race-to-become-a-roast stakes.

Here it is trying to get a feed from its mum.

Hmmmm... juicy juicy cutlets in the making.

What a patently ridiculous waste of ratepayer money!

Ok, so Timaru has what they consider a piazza. Granted it is little more than a brick-tiled area at the top of an escarpment, the piazza does have a fountain at the top...

Which spills into a channel...

That leads to a grate...

Where the water cascades down a pipe into a pool.

And that's it.

Monday, 26 September 2005

Slumming it in the south

Last Friday night I was in Christchurch so we went to the rugby.

We stood in line to get our tickets. That was a first for me.

We sat in seats exposed to the elements. That was a second for me.

Here is the ticket to prove I was at the game and sitting in the Paul Kelly Stand Lower Bowl.

I didn’t mind sitting in the cheap seats as much as having to sit so close to the corporate boxes. We were sitting slose enough that I swear I could almost reach out and embrace their better standard of spectator environment.

The Paul Kelly stand was rather... well... out of place at Jade Stadium (oops I mean Lancaster Park). A largely uncovered edifice remarkably similar to the Caketin, the stand unnaturally dominates the much less prominent stands of earlier undoubtedly less corporate times. The similarity with the Caketin is striking and if I didn't know any better I would have thought some cheeky uni students had run off with a chunk of our much-beloved Caketin and promptly plonked it on the side of the paddock that is Lancaster Park.

I don’t remember much about the game except Wellington were winning for most of it and the Canterbury supporters among us (namely everyone apart from my shivering self) were remarkably restrained in their obvious bias until towards the end when the tide did indeed turn and the Lions lost by one point. Sad but true.

My thanks goes out to the Saskatchewanian (that sounds both wrong and dumb but I’ll be buggered if I know what a person from Saskatchewan is known as – well other than a person from Saskatchewan of course) for the decidedly enjoyable conversation throughout the game. It proved the perfect distraction from both the cold and the lacklustre performance on the field.

I'm baaaaaaa-aaaaaaaack!

Did you miss me?

Well of course you did!

I am sorry for not paying much attention to you, my modest yet loyal readership but I must admit to having been bereft of both inspiration and experiences appropriate for posting.

Monday, 19 September 2005

Rainbow carnage

I don't know about you but I remember when a gummi was a gummi. A juicy and delicious miracle of gelatine and sugar, gummis are by far the best of all lollies. I like them almost as much as pinstripes likes beer (which is saying something). Weaned as a teenager on blackberries and raspberries, orange crush, spearmint leaves and yes gummi behren from the fatherland one cannot help but develop an appreciation for the many, varied and splendid gummi.

And this ladies and gentlemen is where I find my tastebuds weeping in disgust at suffering the indignity of 'enjoying' a new product from the folk at MasterFoods, namely the Skittles Gummies below. Forgive my expecting yummy gummi delights in the alluring orange packaging, only to instead find candy covered colourless globules of pure hate.

Can I get them for wrongful advertising under the Fair Trading Act, Mr Servant of the Hardworking New Zealander Taxpayer Sir?

The more things change, the more things stay the same

What follows is an example of what happens in the middle of the night when I have something more amenable than a pen and paper on which to record my occasional ramblings. Consider this a lesson to you all. And so we begin...

Sorry to rehash the title but hey I am typing away on a keyboard at two in the morning. A time when I assume most people would be in bed merrily snoozing their way to their bright and cheery Monday mornings.

Which is odd, because Mondays have never really been that great a day for me. The shock to the bodyclock is probably the hardest thing to deal with. I’m sure those that know me best can attest with hands on heart that I am particularly useless most Monday mornings until around 11am. Sad but true.

I am by nature a nightowl.

My creative juices don’t really kick into overdrive until around 2am. Perhaps due to a decided lack of distractions or the unknown mysteries of the moon and brain chemistry my best work doesn’t seem to emerge until the wee hours of the morning. I’ve never tried to overanalyse it. It works so why treat it like an aberration.

I was trawling through some of my readings from uni and came across a well-worn one from RELI 216: Sages, Immortals and Buddhas. This was a course in Chinese Religion and I’m not talking about Hanuman the Monkey King or the myriad of ubiquitous rituals that mark the Chinese community’s every public celebration. I’m talking about 3000 years of philosophical thought in 11 weeks that traced the development of a people from fractured agrarian societies to the emergence of mighty empires, cultural revolutions and the emergence of capitalism in Chinese life. I remember this was a fascinating course in spite of an insipidly uninteresting lecturer. Grappling with ideas and seeing them blossom and fade only to be reborn in another form within another tradition was intensely interesting but seeing the influence of other movements and ‘world’ events on the development of these ideas was where the real mental gymnastics happened.

Funnily enough I get off on this sort of thing.

I liked that Confucius is little more than the over-hyped legacy of a little man who believed himself more worthy of rule than those in power, with his analects little more than him thumbing his nose at the inadequacies of the rulers of his time (read: live by my words because your king doesn’t know what he’s doing).

I liked that Confucius won out in a particularly bloody battle between various schools of thought at the time. One of the so-called Ten Schools at the time was that of Mo Ti or Mo Tsu, who founded a school of thought that was completely utilitarian in design. Nothing should happen for the sake of happening. Everything must have a purpose and the benefits must always outweigh the costs/risks of taking action. Funnily enough some of the kings at the time didn’t like being told to perform better and Moism was a short-lived school.

I like that the Chinese found a way to cheat their way to enlightenment. Buddhism in India required that you remove yourself from society and the material world and devote yourself wholly to the pursuit of enlightenment. By the time it crept its way to China, Buddhism now let its followers out of the isolated ascetic lifestyle so they could still work for the state as a mercenary army force and semi-official peacekeepers and roaming Judge Judies. Later on the Chinese came up with Amida Buddhism which meant you could let yourself into a karmic Koru Lounge to more comfortably find enlightenment. How do you get there? Confess your sins. Sound eerily familiar?

I don’t know if I was going anywhere with this.

Perhaps this is simply a moment to share something of a non-consumerist nature. I’m afraid with all the fine dining and intercity travel happening in coming weeks I may not be in a position to finance much in the way of shopping sprees.

Then again it could simply be there is a lot of stuff running through my head right now and I’m kinda struggling to keep up with it all.

Well that or it is simply the result of my typing away on a keyboard between two and three in the morning. Stream of consciousness is a beautiful thing… sometimes.

And Everwood wasn't really any good today. The daughter of the neurosurgeon-turned-gp got stroppy because her dad was getting friendly with the redhead-from-Desperate-Housewives-playing-alternative-medicine-doctor-on-Everwood and that this may have meant her dad was over her killed-by-drunk-driver-mother and all this stroppiness was happening while the stuck up town doctor refused to give his daughter zoloft or valium or any other antidepressant du jour because he didn't think he was incapable of saving her. Where was the bucket because I certainly needed it.

Anywho, this has been another sad but true moment on Straight From The Whores Mouth.

G’night y’all!

Thursday, 15 September 2005

Can you finish this crossword?

I can't be bothered. It's from today's NZ Herald. They do good crosswords. No East Anglian counties, Spanish resorts or Hebridean isles to be seen. That's why they're good.

What’s the gummint gonna do?

I for one have found the election coverage thus far to be anything but helpful. From what I’ve seen reported in the papers and on TV I can only assume that Labour are arrogant, National are incompetent, ACT are desperate, United Future are political whores, NZ First are panicking, the Greens are dreaming and the Maori Party barely rate a mention.

Nothing I've seen thus far makes my vote on Saturday any clearer. Seeing as how I'm on the Maori roll I would have thought my job was easier (explanation: fewer parties fielding candidates in the Maori electorates = choosing from smaller list of people I don't know). Alas it was not to be.

Thankfully this should all be over in coming weeks.

Or at least I hope it is.

I’m getting tired of having my daily reading interrupted by full-page ads calling on me to think of the unionists, teachers, Aucklanders, moralists, students and my own vested interest. I have similarly had my fill of badly-acted and scripted political ads exhorting me to sell my vote to them on the basis of bribes, ethics, common sense and preventing the evil other parties would commit if allowed in government.

Its all rather ho hum really.

Sad but true.

Wednesday, 14 September 2005

What's that Norman?

Are you his daddy?

Gourmand indeed

The next few weeks see me dining at some of Wellington’s finer establishments. Mushroom veloute and truffle oil starter with dinner at the White House. Paella balls with smoked paprika aioli for lunch at Copita. Daube of wild boar for dinner at Citron. My tastebuds are salivating somewhat and my obviously refined palate sits in smug repose at the gastronomic delights yet to be consumed. Feels so very very good.

That said there is a gnawing sensation, much like heartburn and I can’t help but sympathise for the walloping my bank balance is about to suffer.

Especially with a sojourn to Southern climes next week yet to be organised. Ostensibly an opportunity for the work team to come together and do work things, who am I to let a work engagement get in the way of more sociable and consumerist pursuits. Yes folks. This time I shall indeed come away with a cheese safe. Also looking forward to catching up with the Professor while I’m down there too.

But I digress.

Call it coincidence. Call it colleagues entering high paid salary brackets. Call it the consumer whore’s subtle influence finally delivering dividends. Call it whatever you’d like.

I call it good times on the horizon.

Tuesday, 13 September 2005

When PXT Attacks!!!

My latest purchase...

Pinstripes response...

9 out of 10 gold medal olympians would say...

This my friends is what happens when mischief meets technology.

Sad but true.

Monday, 12 September 2005

The more things change, the more they stay the same

I wasn’t going anywhere with that. It just struck me as a really cheesy line some guy used in the latest instalment of deep-in-the-mountains American family drama Everwood. I think it was the pale-looking black guy living with the ornery nurse who works at the practice of the award-winning neurosurgeon-turned-GP with the introverted son who has the hots for the now ex-girlfriend of the guy the neurosurgeon-turned GP left to die on the operating table at the end of the first season.

Something needed to replace the Sunday 5:30-6:30pm empty spot in my life while TVNZ catches up with the latest series of the Gilmore Girls.

Anywho, I probably should have gone to the Glammies last night instead of sitting at home to watch Everwood, especially after Triple T asked me to join in the festivities festooning the front page of today’s Dominion Post.

But alas I did not. And for different reasons to my last minute piking on the fabled trek on the Rimutaka Rail Incline.

Nice pylon eh. I think the Canadian took it. The photo. Not the pylon. That would be stupid. And incredibly odd. I'd pay to see her try. Not sure she'd humour me though. Probably just look at me with a strange look wondering what the hell I'm on about. Sorry. On aboot.

Ohhh!!! I never tire of that one!

Friday, 9 September 2005

Hypocrisy is a beautiful thing

No really… it is!

It means the pot can call the kettle black.

It means I can tell EKG not to be so self-conscious.

It means the PPTA hierarchy can send their kids to private schools after calling for increased funding for public schools.

It means the Prime Minister can call Don Brash a liar after paintergate and speeding through South Canterbury.

It means Pete Hodgson can bungle the country’s Kyoto credits after calling us intellectually dishonest for saying Kyoto wasn't a good idea.

It means Don Brash can flip-flop on the smear campaign and nuclear-free after the Government flip-flopped on the foreshore and seabed and the fart tax.

It means Pete Hodgson can say its a "back up not a back down".

We may all be sick of what passes for electioneering in this country but you can’t deny the conversation fodder in each and every hiccup along the worm’s path. Everyone had a view on the Prime Minister’s denials she knew the motorcade was speeding through South Canterbury. Everyone had a view on John Tamihere protesting against his off-colour off-the-record comments being published. Everyone has a view on Don Brash protesting his innocence in the Exclusive Brethren smear campaign. And you know what? That makes it entertaining.

Lets be honest with ourselves here. Hypocrisy makes for good entertainment and I believe we need more of it. Otherwise we just invite the reality TV experience into our daily lives and… well… that just isn’t a beautiful thing.

Thursday, 8 September 2005

have u listened to Antony and the Johnsons - I feel so lame not to have even heard of them until they won the mercury prize yesterdasy

No this isn't a treatise on modern technology and the ever-loosening grasp people seem to have of the english language.

No this post is about surprise Mercury Prize winner Antony and the Johnsons. Well actually no, its about their CD I Am Like a Bird Now.

In the immortal words of EKG it "sounds beautiful!", "the first song is wicked", I should "listen to it the whole way thru" and it has "amazing pianos".

I'd have to agree.

But then I added Adam Freeland's trend-bucking addition to the Back To Mine collection onto the ol' iPod and I'm afraid this is much more my cup of tea. Not just any cup of earl grey, Adam Freeland Back To Mine is a mix of Interpol, Beta Band, Elliot Smith, PJ Harvey Autolux and similar acts. Which is why the CD seems almost unrecognisable to the usual electronic-laden efforts of other... well... electronic artists. I am seriously loving Will You Smile Again For Me by And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead.

Sad but True.

Who'da thunk it

While pinstripes is sitting at home eagerly awaiting the arrival of his flash new TV, I shall be escorting the womenfolk on a trek this Saturday along the Rimutaka Rail Incline.

Now before you start checking to see whether you have the right blog, yes I do do the whole walking thing. Just not often enough for you my adoring masses to consider me the wandering explorer of the great outdoors.

The walk is apparently relatively easy if long, but making an early start should free us up for some further exploits in the Wairarapa. I'm sorry did someone say wine tastings?

Fingers crossed the weather is half decent.

What's the point of doing crosswords anymore...

if you don't have someone around to lord over your obviously superior grasp of the english language?

Fuck It, Move On

For the past month or so this blog has received a great deal of traffic from those looking up “Floridita’s” or the more imaginative “Floridita’s Wellington” on any online search engine you’d care to mention. I can only assume that this upsurge in interest was due to the email that has done the rounds of what I can only assume is every inbox in Wellington.

The now infamous email describes an atrocious experience someone had at Floridita’s on Cuba Street one night. If you haven’t seen it, ask around and someone will no doubt be able to pass it on to you.

I myself must confess to having received it from nine different sources within hours of the alleged event. My reputation for enjoying Floridita’s may have had something to do with the number of times I received the email, but I still don’t understand why so many other people have been so interested.

Speaking for myself I’ve been to Floridita’s more often than others I know and I can with hand on heart and a straight face attest that the service has been nothing but pleasant and sociable, the food more than agreeable and the winelist always pleasant. Not once have I had an unpleasant experience there and I cannot claim to know who it was that originally put the inflammatory email together in the first place.

And therein lies the problem for me. Without any real link to the alleged incident and nought but pleasant personal experiences of the place to rely on I can’t help but wonder if this hasn’t simply been the advent of a uniquely Wellington urban legend.

At least I hope so. There aren’t too many places in Wellington that I’d willingly travel halfway across the CBD for the sake of a comfortable weekday lunch. That said I could do without the paisley wallpaper.

Monday, 5 September 2005

I went to a poetry reading today

That doesn’t happen very often. After today that may very well change.

Bill Manhire’s MA creative writing masterclass read some of their work at the City Gallery theatre today. Alternating for the most part between prose and poetry it was on the whole rather entertaining. To be honest I found the prose sections more agreeable than the affectedly disjointed meter of the poetic offerings but then I have always been one for melody and narrative over verbiage.

There was a really good story of a woman coming to grips with teaching english in Korea, and another one about the relationships and perspective a 10yo girl has. Mister Chris' poetic offerings were quite funny (if cutting quite close to home and personal experience) and the gathered masses seemed to enjoy them. Judging by the behaviour of some of his friends his last offering was especially personal but that made it all the more enjoyable.

My one gripe (and lets face it, I always have at least one) was that the gathered masses that filled the theatre were far too grave and serious for my liking. With a rather delicious chicken and pinenut pasta salad and refreshing bottle of organic apple juice in both hands I must admit to having felt too self-conscious to dare disturb the proceedings to partake of my culinary offerings.

My thanks to Mister Chris for the invitation.

Friday, 2 September 2005

End of an era

For the last four and a half years I've had a partner in crime who has not only kept me sane at the office but has been a good friend despite the dark times and the hangovers, even if I haven't.

Cheers for the beers and the good times buddy.

Its gonna suck without you around here.

I'll let you get back to your member

Maybe its the fever delirium, or the pills I've been popping or the unusually clement weather (after an unusually clement winter I might add) but a wave of languor seems to have swept its way through the streets of our nation's capital this week.

No this isn't some cheesy metaphor leading into the messianic arrival of an overseas pop group.

I'm talking about the shift to summer time.

Walking around Featherston Valley and the Golden Mile the last couple days there has been a noticeable slowing in the pace of life downtown, almost as if we no longer need to hurry.

And I'm not the only one to notice with more than a few retail lovelies commenting on how things have slowed down.

I'm not sure if all of that is a bad thing or not. Just an observation.

Oh and before I forget, props to my petal in the north for the headline. Love you, love your work, lets do lunch next time you're down here!

Where is the dead cow poster?

Here it is...

I couldn't position it close to the window lest it fade. It may not stay above the filing cabinet. Everything in this sun-pit of an office is a work in progress.

Sad but true.

What can I say about the new Goldfrapp?


And it sits so nicely on the shelf next to Felt Mountain. And Black Cherry. Oh and the CD singles for Twist and Strict Machine. The Peter Rauhofer UK Mix of Strict Machine is worth a listen.

The Live in London DVD sits with the other concert DVDs in the 'library'.

Sad but true.