Friday, December 19, 2003

Tis the season for creative spelling....
Let's see. There's Lightspeed New Yeah! for Lightspeed's new years dance party, then there's Summadayze Festival, a dance event in jan. They've taken their crazy wacky spelling one step further, with posters advertising individual acts at the event, including one for Groove Armarda (correct spelling Armada). Put my brain on hold and pas me the alcohol.....

What's up with the media beatup on police chases ending in deaths? What about driver responsibility? Two fatal crashes in the last two days, one with a suspected drunk driver (who killed two people, in another car and one of his passengers), another driving dangerously in a stolen car. Are the police supposed to not chase dangerous idiots?

I went to see Return of the King last night. Four word review - It rocks, oh yes. There's the general advice doing the rounds, which I recommend - don't drink any fluids for two hours before, or during the film - its three hours twenty minutes long - and if you have a problem with spiders, don't go. There is a huge freakin' spider in this film.
The Guardian has a good writeup on the experience, commenting on the ditching of footage of Saruman -

"...Without Saruman, it's not good versus evil. It's good versus... a sort of swarming amorphous danger.

...There is no sobering experience of loss, no real sense of the obscenity and tragedy of war and therefore nothing really at stake. That's why it appeals to adolescent boys, and to adults sentimentally loyal to their departed, adolescent selves.

It may seem churlish to remember how shallow The Lord of the Rings is, when the Peter Jackson movies have turned out to be such terrifically enjoyable escapism. I started the series an atheist and finished an agnostic.

With enormous energy and a passionately exacting eye for detail, Jackson has made the regressive-romantic legend live again. He has given the Tolkien myth a turbo-charged rush into the 21st century. It's tripe. But he's made it mind-blowing tripe."

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Close to home
Last night at about 7pm, I was walking down Queen St in central Auckland, when a bunch of cars drove by, the drivers honking their horns and their passengers cheering and waving flags. The front car had an American and Iraqi flag, the other cars had Iraqi ones. There was probably a dozen or so cars, in this spontaneous parade, celebrating Saddam Hussein's capture. They stopped at the lights, kept up the cheers and horn blasts, then drove off to the bottom of town, still cheering.
The effects of the Iraq War seemed like something so distant from where I live (except for puff pieces on local Iraqis by that great humanitarian Paul Holmes), and yet, there it is, driving down Queen St. Local Iraqi's celebrating, just like they did on television.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Pet Rock
After going out for ramen noodles the other night, we did a walk round the old QEII Square at the bottom of Queen St. Its now called something else like Britomart Transport Courtyard, and there's some fine public art there.
The Maori warrior that used to be there before rennovation has been returned, and is no longer towering over passerby,as he's been taken off his pedestal and is now planted with his feet on the ground. He's still 12 foot high, so he's no less imposing, and this was the way the artist Molly McAllister originally wanted him installed. Back in the dim distant past, someone at the Council thought they knew better and put him on a pedestal. Now the late artists wishes have finally been met.
There's also a new sculpture, that's a large chunk of rock, cut out roughly into a rectangular shape, that is taller than it is wide. It has Maori motifs carved into the side, and water running down it form the top, which has been cut off flat. There's a pool of water around its base, with yellow and red coloured lights under the water, pulsating on and off. The best part; every two minutes or so 4 foot high flames shoot out of the top of it! How cool is that? Its like a sculpture that wants to be dance party.
If you're near Downtown of an evening, go and check it out. Its outstanding. If anyone reading this knows who the artist is, let me know.

from Suzanne Sinclair, Britomart Transport Display Centre ...
"The concept of the fire rock comes from the Britomart Architect, Mario Madayag's original design for the project and the carving was done by Ngati Whatua O Orakei stone carvers.One of the design themes of the station represents Auckland as a volcanic region and there are 11 light wells shaped like volcanoes in the roof of the station.The 12th, outside is a real (gas fired) volcano, the fire rock." Nice work.

I'm with stupid.
From the Waikato Times newspaper...

Safety and security procedures at a Taupo bungy operation will not be stepped up after a man threw himself off the platform overlooking the Waikato River on Sunday.
Taupo Bungy marketing manager Keith Lewis said the man, Carl Goodwin from Hawera, had jumped over a locked gate while staff were taking a break during a lull in jumping.
The waist-high gate restricts access to the end of the platform for jumpers and staff only.
Mr Lewis said a 2 metre tall gate on to the platform would not be locked to prevent the same thing from happening again.
He said staff, who did not realise the 30-year-old had jumped until the recovery crew heard him hit the water, would not be required to guard the platform either.
"Osh (Occupational Safety and Health) have told us it is a police matter," he said. "We have had no problems since opening 12 years ago."
Osh Taupo and Eastern Bay of Plenty service manager Murray Thompson said Taupo Bungy had taken appropriate measures to ensure visitor safety.
"If someone wants to do these things and climb fences then they are going to suffer the consequences," he said.
Mr Goodwin was flown to Rotorua Hospital. It is understood he has broken ribs.
Mr Lewis said Mr Goodwin was lucky to have survived the 47 metre drop into the Waikato River.
Taupo Senior Sergeant Tony Jeurissen said police had investigated the incident and decided to take no further action against Mr Goodwin.
Mr Goodwin, who had been drinking, had been in a small boat on the river with two friends before he decided he wanted to jump.