I aten't dead
Posted Apr 23, 2006
Was just wondering what had happened over here since I last poked my head in, and what do you know, it seems everybody's off to pastures new. Well, I'm no different, and have kind of morphed into a blogger - seeing as how all I ever did on hootoo was talk rubbish on my journal anyway I thought I'd make it official.
If anyone's interested, you'll find me HERE
See you soon
Here be Lions
Posted Jun 15, 2005
One of the advantages of the particular timing of my visit to New Zealand is that fact that the British and Irish Lions are on tour here. Now, I'm no expert on rugby - in fact it'd be fair to say that I spend a fair amount of the game wondering exactly what the referee is blowing his whistle for - but I do enjoy watching the game. More so since being here where rugby is massive, and it's as good a social opportunity as you're likely to get.
So, when the Lions came to Wellington, I ensured I had a ticket. My mate John came up from Christchurch and we went along to the Westpac stadium, affectionately known as 'the cake tin' for reasons that are obvious from a cursory glance and settled in for a quality game of rugger.
As at home, there was no segregation of fans and we found oursleves in a sea of Wellingtonians - they were all splendid folks and a good hearted banter went both ways all through the match. The final score suggested that the Lions won by quite a margin - I would suggest that their victory was slightly harder won than that. It's also politic to note that the Wellington Lions (confusing or what?) had several key players safely tucked up in bed in preparation for their appearance against Britain's finest as part of the All Blacks next week.
Then it was off into town, where the visiting 'barmy army' were having a rare old time down Courtenay place. The atmosphere was brilliant and I couldn't help but compare it with the tense, nervous air around Glasgow when a big football game is being played there. Fans in all colours of jerseys were laughing and drinking together, and it seemed that only the beer was claiming casualties.
One of my haunts is the 'Welsh Dragon' bar - a home from home for celts of all varieties that's also fairly hospitable to the English and the Kiwi . Resident singer/strummer provided our singsong with a little structure, although I'm not too sure about his slightly alternative version of 'swing low', which featured the insertion of chariots in some decidedly unnarural places....
Anyhoo, 3am came around alarmingly quickly, but not as quickly as 9am, when I had to get my sorry hungover ass into work. It's been thankfully slow so far (think the whole city's in a bit of fuzz) but I was grateful of coffee when I got in.
Toasting the train
Posted May 29, 2005
Today I heard a really nice story that I thought I'd share. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin....
There is a commuter train that goes from Palmerston North to Wellington, every day there and back. Its 150 mile or so journey takes it through the small town of Paekakariki, which one year suffered terrible flooding causing many people to lose homes and belongings. The regular commuters on the train decided they would do something to help, so they had a whip-round, raised a few dollars and when the train pulled in, one man got off the train and walked into the pub next to the station.
He announced that he was representing the commuters who passed through their town every day, and that they'd heard life was a bit tough recently, and as a small effort to cheer everyone up they'd like to buy everyone a drink. He put the money on the bar and left to complete his journey.
To this day, when the train passes through the town, a drinker from the pub comes out and toasts the train with his beer, and in response, the occupants of the train all pile over to the appropriate side and wave. Surprisingly the train doesn't keel over.
I think that's just lovely.
A tale of Rugby and Reggae
Posted May 29, 2005
Last night was the big final of the rugby season here, so I headed down to meet the lads at a local establishment known for large screens and decent Guinness. Despite the Warratahs (who hail from Australia) putting up a decent fight, the night belonged to the Canterbury Crusaders and it was nice to see the Wellington crowd get behind their traditional rivals, especially given that they'd given the Wellington Hurricanes a good hiding in last week's semi-final.
Then it was off to Indigo, Wellington's top live music venue which was celebrating seven years of serving up the cream of local bands to punters, featuring one of their most successful sons The Black Seeds, a kiwi-roots band I got hooked on last time I was here. A friend of friend just happened to be bass player in the support band and got us on the guest list so we wandered in free to a sold out gig. I was listed as 'Neil the Scots Bloke' which was nice. The Seeds were superb, even though the venue seemed to make up for the fact that you can't smoke in NZ bars/clubs by beltching out enough dry ice to fill Wembley. At times I lierarally couldn't see in front of me, and we were quite far back leaning on the sound desk. God knows what it was like up front.
The beer flowed, and kept flowing in another bar afterwards. Things got kind of hazy and although I remember coming home at around 3am, the details of the actual route are still unclear. This morning I woke up with a desperate need for Irn Bru (annoyingly and yet appropriately the British shop isn't open on Sundays) and for the first time ever I appear to have lost a contact lens. One was in the case (which was on its side by the sink without any solution in it) but the other's nowhere to be found. I don't think it's still in my eye as my eyesight is its usual mole-like standard and I think I'd probably know about it if it had meandered into some inaccessible corner of my eye socket. Ah well, looks like I'm wearing glasses for the next few weeks then.
It's gonna be a sloooowwww Sunday.
Revenge of the Whatsith
Posted May 22, 2005
T'was a boring, slightly hung over Sunday afternoon today, so I decided to go see the latest dollop of the Star Wars saga, and you know - it wasn't half bad. It was certainly a whole bunch better than the last two, and it does tie things nicely together ready for Star Wars, episode 4, A New Hype, or whatever it's officially called now.
Same letdowns as last time - plastic acting (would someone please strip Natalie Portman of any acting accolades she may have received over the years), abysmal dialogue and way over the top CGI (what *was* that lizard thing all about???) but loads of fun and definately darker a-la Empire Strikes Back. In fact, very like Empire in all the right ways - it's action right from the start, and frankly (and I don't think I'm giving anything away here) the bad guys win. The most impressive thing for me though is that at the end of it I really have a good appreciation of the political landscape that the first trilogy is set in. I was also really impressed at how believable Ewan McGregor and Hayden Whatesseesnameennen were as young Alec Guiness and the father of Mark Hamill, in terms of look, mannerisms etc. They've obviously worked hard on that aspect. I don't think I'll be spoiling anything when I say I spent most of the movie wondering where I'd heard the name 'Organa' before.....
So, far and away the best of the prequels, and possibly even worthy of a DVD purchase to sit next to the original trilogy on the shelf.... Neither of its predecessors warranted that, that's for sure.
I now return you to your normal programming......