January 2008

Well… despite the somewhat favourable reviews this play has on it’s website, I wasn’t so impressed. In fact, by the intermission I was so bored I almost left Second Chef watching it  and wandered off to the pub.

Thing is, you can’t blame the acting, which was good, and you can’t blame the set, which was pretty interesting, well-exploited, and fun. What you can blame is a bloody awful script. I had the impression that they had a product, and someone made them add about half an hour of filler. A bad half-hour.

Paua is set in a small town called “Waiwhero”, and a killer is on the loose. Some sort of terrorist, killing poachers to punish them for plundering the coastline. Frankly, it’s not such a bad idea…

The problem is, as stated, once the story actually kicks off. The level of gratuitous killing is high, in fact almost ridiculously high. There’s even a few scenes that were completely unnecessary, they had to add props for, they took up minutes of my life for, and were completely unnecessary. Spoilers after the jump… (more…)

To be honest, I have absolutely no idea what it means.

But the nice gentlemen who spammed me suggested it was performed on someone by a “HORSFE”.

Lovely, just lovely.

Well, anyone got any?

I’ve always been a light sleeper, but during the bout of heart trouble I was having a lot of trouble with heavy dreaming (a side effect of the medication). Since coming off the heart drugs I’m still a light sleeper but finding that I’m waking up in the middle of the night (usually around 3am) and not being able to return to sleep.

It’s a freaking hassle, I’m tired for days at a time, and I’m bloody sick of it. The past few days have been the worse, I’m finding myself starting something then thinking, wtf was I doing?

I already have a few mechanisms in place, and if it keeps up I’m off to a professional. But any hints in the meantime are much appreciated.

 A post over here at the Dropkicks, “A Message to you

One of myths repeated during the recent Rugby World Cup was the “losing girlfriend” scenario. It normally states that whenever the All Blacks (or another team) loses, incidents of bashed wives and girlfriends turning up at emergency departments or women’s refugees increases.

Turns out that there is good evidence for generalised violence linked to sports…

Frankly, this play is outright hilarious, and worth every last cent someone else payed to admit me.

Based on a little-known book of the same name, Young Lover is an amorous romp through the machinations of a young man who regards himself as the panacea to the woes of New Zealand, if only Helen would come round to the idea.

The play is more specifically a lecture delivered by Richard Meros (Arthur Meek), the author of the aforementioned book, and is adapted for the stage by Geoff Pinfield and Meek. A book that (strangely) was not mentioned and/or well-received by the Wellington press gallery. In the lecture Meros outlines not only why Helen should take him as her young lover, but also how and why it will usher in a ‘golden age’ for New Zealand. Genius.

The play is extremely well-written, extremely well-acted, and contains more gems, illuminations, satire and outright slap-your-knees-you’re-laughing-so-hard moments that you’ll feel rewarded just for turning up. Unless you work in Parliament, in which case you’ll want to perhaps wear a disguise, so as not to be seen laughing at what is a very heavy satire of the Labour Party and incumbent government.

The political jokes run thick and fast in this lecture, along with a number of outright lewd references to many people who are not Helen Clark (they don’t actually cross that line). There are even some fantastically arcane political science jokes in there, which only me and the two people sitting next to me (whom I did not know!) got.

So, there’s something in there for everyone. It’s extremely not-PC, it’s fast moving, and it’s actually funny.

Get yourself down to Bats ASAP! Today is the very last day!!

Well… do I put out a spoiler warning? Or do I say “just go and see it”?

Maybe the latter. But, warning, plenty of people might need to take sea-sickness tablet before they go in. Dunno if it’ll help deal with the nausea from the handycam work, but it just might.

So you don’t know what Cloverfield is all about? Even better. Something is terrorising New York city, and all we have is footage from peoples handycams, phones and the like.

Still curious? Then get yourself along to see it.

I’m already thinking of going again to try and spot all those things I missed first time round!

WARNING!! Comments might contain spoilers!!

Well, the stranger sitting next to me in the cinema seemed to think this was the funniest film in creation. I’m not convinced. Death at a Funeral is a slightly formulaic comedy set in a stately home somewhere in England. The patriarch has passed on, and the family is gathering to bid him farewell.

Then, introduce a gay dwarf and a pile of LSD, and make comedy…

Don’t get me wrong though, there were some genuine laughs in there, but on average the film was laid out on a bell curve of “intro, laughs, crisis, laughs, redemption, warm ending”.

I’ll you one thing though, when it comes down to it, some things are just plain funny, (more…)

We’re going a little left-field here on Object Dart today. And possibly decidedly macabre.

I noticed on the internet a few weeks back that a foot had washed up on a beach in Christchurch. At the time I thought, “creepy”. But also thought that it was a story that I’d heard somewhere else. A foot washes up in an ankle-sock, and all pathologists have to go on is their training. This can tell them whether the foot is male or female for example.

And yes, I mean ‘is’ male or female, not ‘belonged’ to a male or female. Severing a limb or appendage doesn’t change its gender.

Anyhow, I got curious and started a little bit of a google to try and find out if I’d heard the about this happening somewhere else in New Zealand. To make sure it wasn’t too exhaustive I limited myself to 10 pages of search, and whaddya know?

It turns out that finding feet, not hands, heads, torsos, legs or arms is relatively common. I tried searching for the other ‘bits’ and found little few web-documentation. Lots of ‘bodies’ washed up, but you’d expect that with the number of drownings world-wide. But, for some reason, feet wash up, by themselves, with alarming frequency.

Just. Plain. Weird.

So, in the spirit of whacky random things on the interweb, here’s your list.

This story for example is of a foot washed up on a beach in Merseyside on 17 November 2004 . It’s a foot found inside a sock and size 11 running shoe.

This story is of an ‘unclothed’ foot found washed up on a beach in Dorset, 12 December 2006. Police think it may have belonged to a school who’s identity they know.

This story has a foot washed up on a beach outside Barcelona somewhere, on September 15 2006, and a reference to another incident of foot-finding on another beach a month earlier. This is interesting in fact, and might help explain this phenomena. Apparently the latter incident had “a badly decomposed leg, and well-preserved foot inside a shoe”.

In a turn for the really creepy, this story from Vancouver had two different feet, both rights, turning up in different shoes in the same week (late August 2006), and both in the Strait of Georgia.

And again, this story has a foot washed up on a beach in Oakland, California on 1 July 2005.

Moving back to England, this story has a foot of a missing woman being washed up on a beach in Devon around Christmas 2006.

And in two slight departures from the aquatic theme, this is the story of a foot found in a boot in the Aoraki-Mt. Cook National Park on 4 January 2008 (it has possibly been there since the 1970s), and this is a foot found in a landfill in Fredericksburg, Virginia on 2 February 2007. Weirdly, they can’t tell if it’s human or primate. But then it is the South…

So what all this should be making you wonder is “why in the hell do feet not decompose so easily!!”. It is very, very strange. If I was to drown, would the only bit of me left be a foot found washed up somewhere?

Also, all these stories are from English-language publications. How many feet are there being washed up on shores where the local foot-finding isn’t being picked up by my searching?!

From the bizarro news-desk, Che Tibby, over and out.

In an effort to branch out from reading mysteries and scifi I’ve indulged in the reading of history! It’s all good really, I get to invest my free time in learning and get to enjoy reading things as well. A win-win really.

War and Chivalry is a discussion of how chivalric codes changed over the course of the High Middle Ages, with especial relevance to changes in modes of warfare. Naturally, this is only interesting or useful if you’re a history buff. And if you’re not, then, those who forget are bound to repeat, blah blah blah.

There were a couple of arguments I found interesting. The first was that the development of artillery did not mean that it was useful on the battlefield. Quite the opposite. It was only practical and useful in sieges.

The second was that chivalric orders served as something of a primogeniture of national societies. Explaining that statement would involve me having to delve into a long and boring discussion, and these reviews are most often “notes to self”. All the same, fascinating.

Also, meaningless factoid. You know how people sometimes insist that suits of armour were extremely heavy and prevented movement and the like? Well, armour worn in combat during the C15th actually weighted (on average) less than the kit carried by your average WW1 infantryman! However armour worn during jousting was substantially heavier. There you go, you can trot that out during your next quiz nite!

Despite the inevitably dark subject-matter I really enjoyed this film. There’s something about the immigrant experience in pre-multicultural Australia that really strikes a cord with me for some reason? I also enjoyed La Spagnola for example, and enjoyed Love’s Brother even though it was a bit of a schtinker.

What it seems to come down to is the description of the experience of isolation and alienation felt by many immigrant people, regardless of national or cultural context. And Romulus, My Father works this experience brilliantly without excessive sentimentality or rose-tinting. There is no “happy migrant” mythology woven, for example, just hard-working people doing their best to make it in a hostile environment.

The story is told from the point of view of Raimond Gaita, a well-known Australian author and philosopher, who grew up in central Victoria in the 1960s. What you’ll need to know is that central Victoria is still a pretty backward place, so you can imagine what the 60s were like… (more…)

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