Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Vague review - Snakes on a Plane

Y'know - I REALLY wanted to like this film. I really really did.

I remember being to angry and frustrated that I was too busy when it was at theatres and couldn't see in on the big screen. I think it's a good thing now - there would have been a repeat of the "Dare Devil" meltdown I suffered, putting life and limb in jeopardy in the greater Wellington region.

Why did so many of my ( seemingly ) rational and ( more so than I ) clued-up-about-films friends say it was good ? Why mama ? Why they make me cry so ?

The only thing I can put it down to is some kind of weird "Emperor's New Clothes" syndrome. The way I figure - the hype for the film made it out to be some kind of z-grade tour-de-force of hilarity, and I think a LOT of people I know invested heavily in that hype, and come hell or high water - it WAS going to be the best motherf**king film OF ALL TIME.

Only it wasn't. It was bollocks.

And no - this is not a matter of taste or perception ! It was a BAAAAAAAAAAAAD film ! Bad bad bad ! Just because it has Samuel L. Jackson is in it and he says 'motherf**ker' a couple of times DOES NOT make a film GOOD.

And NO - it is not a 'brilliantly observed parody of the genre' or even 'fun' !! It is BOLLOCKS ! Great big hairy sweaty mammoth bollocks from the planet Big-Bollocks!

Anyway - when said film revealed it's seriously shitty carapace in all it's glory - I think many of of my highly intelligent and savvy film watching pals simply ignored what they had seen and ( maybe even at a subconscious level ) told themselves that it was indeed a great film.

Dammit - it's not a film ! It's more like some kind of freaky mind-control virus !

Sigh. But in the spirit of of goodwill I hearby offer general forgiveness for all of you who told me this heinous ziggurat of bollocks was worth seeing. I can see it wasn't your fault. It was those marketing guys who made you want it so much. Those guys are such dicks.

If you haven't seen it yet - just put that DVD case BAAAAAACK on the shelf SLOOOOOWY, walk over to the other side of the shop and rent something else. You'll be doing the right thing.

2 out of 10.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The cautionary tale of the hand-towel holder

I am not the most handy of people in terms of fixing things.

I try though.

Halfway though last year the metal ringy thingy of the hand towel holder in our toilet just ... fell off the wall mounting. On closer inspection I saw that the actual screw thread was inside the wall mounted dealy - and that the ring connector had this infuriatingly square hole - meaning you couldn't just shove the ring connector back in and twist.

The wall mount would NOT come off either. It was fixed to the wall quite snugly.

"How the hell are you supposed to fix this without hacking it off the wall?" I asked myself. "There's no way! Who would make something THIS impractical ?" I mused.

For the next few months we had the hand towel on the windowsill. It would mock me, silently.

"Wow Seraph - you are REALLY useful around here. You can't get little'ole me to hang in my rightful place on the wall ..." and such.

Finally I could bear it's silent accusations no longer. I swore that by sunset that day - come hell or high water - the hand towel holder would be fixed. I'd show that freaking inanimate object a thing or two !

Looking at the wall mount more closely - I could see some sort of plastic housing around the screws holding it onto the wall. "Ah-HA! The PLASTIC is keeping this thing from coming lose ! The thread for the screw is OBVIOUSLY behind the fitting - all I need to do is cut the plastic !"

Out came the industrial craft-blade - and I attacked the plastic coating like some sort of demented axe-man.

A good half hour and two sliced fingers later ( left thumb, right index ) when I was sure I had cut though the plastic and the wall mount stayed implacably glued to the wall - I decided that drastic situations called for drastic measures. I would have to saw through the screws themselves.

I wrecked the first hacksaw trying to get it off - but the second larger one I used was more fit for the job - and a frustrating job it was, I had to precariously level the mount out as much as I could to wedge the hacksaw blade in the gap - and then use all the skills of a circus contortionist to perform the sawing motion in the enclosed space of the toilet. Many expletives were uttered with increasing fury.

But my patience was rewarded. Another half hour or so I had sliced though the screw, and the mounting fell to the tiled floor of the lav. Now the hole is the tiled wall were bunged up with screws without any kind of surface I could neatly grip onto with my pliers, and were quite securely fixed in the holes by what I could now see were expanding plastic screw housings. I tried for ten - fifteen minutes to grab and pull out the crippled crews with the feeble tools I had, but it was futile.

I trip to the hardware shop was executed - a pair of needle nose pliers, new screws and plastic expanding housings were purchased.

The new pliers worked - though is was still tricky in the enclosed space to pry them out. But out I got them.

Finally - the path to restoring the hand-towel holder was clear. All I had to do was figure out HOW to get the ring back on the mount. There was no screw-head at the back of the holder !! What was going on ? How the hell were you supposed to FIX this fecking thing ??!?

I turned the mount upside down.

There was a tiny screw there. Quite visible. It was obvious. You undid the screw - the outer housing came off the wall - you screwed the ring back on, and attached it back to the wall.

I had taken a good two and a half hours, spent $20, slashed up two of my fingers, and wrecked a perfectly good wall housing which I would have to reattach now - on a situation which should have taken me about 30 seconds to remedy.

I think you could have heard the screams of bitter rage from the south pole.

Still - I'll know what to do next time.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Who is Ginger Tom?

I was round at Jenni's place on Tuesday - planning for our next RP game, a scenario based around a X-Men styled school for superheroes - only we're going to be delinquent punks and the school is going to be more like a brat-camp / last chance before the big house type deal.

As we were planning prospective charaters ( I'm going to play a guy who can turn into various other elements, but also we a touch of regeneration - the guy was trying to get high with his friends, but his regeneration kicked in and processed out the drugs instantly. The guy starts trying stronger and stronger drugs - all with the same result - before being rumbled buying / using / getting-caught-stealing-to-buy heroin ) and the topic of secondary characters came up.

We came up with this guy who calls himself "The Skink", who has fantastic plans for being a superhero - but has NO powers which are useful ( he might have a detachable tail ). A rather sad and melancholy character really - he'll have his costume, his patented 'skink-sycle' and stuff - but ultimately be rather useless.

We were thinking of a possible nemesis for The Skink, and I said something along the lines that it should be a cat ( thinking of how much Shadow likes to catch skinks, put them on the slippery tiles, and watch them try and run away ). Jenni mentioned the name "Ginger Tom". That really struck a cord with me - it was such a good name ! Not in a superhero sense perhaps, but it's a great name for a character.

I've been trying to work out who Ginger Tom could be. So far I think he might be some kind of sky-pirate in a kind of techno-magic steam-punk styled fantasy setting. I can imagine him swinging from the rigging of his corvette-blimp, a pair of flintlock pistols slung low on his belt, a weathered fencing blade at his hip. He has a strange perchant for high tea and is trying to work out why his new design for attack kites is failing so badly. His first mate is a Moor, on the run from Sorcerers in the East. I think at least one member of his crew is a robot - probably clockwork. He's the kind of guy I think I could come up with a story about !

Does the name mean anything to you ? Who do you think Ginger Tom is ?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Northland Holiday Top Ten !

Back home again ! It’s always nice to go away – but I think I’m very much a home body. It’s always really nice to come home and be in my own space again. I missed the cat ! Kudos to Hix – who yet again helped us out big time by watching the place and taking care of Shadow.

Here’s Seraph’s Top Ten of our holiday ‘up North’ :

10. Cape Reianga

I guess it was about time that I got here. It seems to be some sort of semi-NZ-rite-of-passage to have been here at least once. And once is ALL it’s going to be too. I wish I could say that I had some massive kind of spiritual experience here ( I wanted to ! ) – but no. The land ran out … and there was a lighthouse. It was interesting to learn that the lighthouse is controlled by a computer system in Wellington. Weird – you think it would be somewhere closer, wouldn’t you ?

9. Uninterrupted reading

It was nice to kick back and read for a good long while – and we had one rainy days where that was ALL we could do really. My one word review of what I got though :

“The Damnnation Game” – Clive Barker - BLEARGH !

“Raven’s Gate” - Anthony Horowitz - **shiver!**

Tom Strong book 4 – Alan Moore - Awesome !

Girl Genius book 4 – Phil Foglio - Hmmmm.

“Shadow of the Hedgemon” O S Card - Cool.

8. Body surfing

It’s always neat to get to do this – even if you do get a cubic foot of sand and grit rammed into your nether-regions when you get dumped into the shore at the end. It builds character !

7. White water rafting

Even though the other losers on my raft ( excluding my good wife, naturally ! ) couldn’t row to save their worthless lives, causing our raft to flip on the seven meter waterfall drop – it was great fun and I’d do it again in a second. Just get me a decent crew who know what “go in time” means !

6. “The Excitor” boat ride

The sea bound version of a roller coaster. A stupidly powerful jet powered thing, which went VERY fast indeed. My face hurt from grinning so much afterwards.


  1. Buffet BBQ

OMG. This was a meal we had at a hotel on the way back. So much BBQ … **slaver**…

It wasn’t good for me losing weight … but screw it, it was fan-freaking-tastic !


  1. Bacon !

I think I ate more bacon for breakfast in the ten days of my holiday that I had eaten in the previous ten months. I’m pretty sure I could eat my own body weight in bacon if I gave it a good enough try.

  1. Diving board action !

We went for a swim at the local high school pool while we were in Kerikeri. They had a diving pool ! Cue Seraph spending a good hour launching himself merrily from them, making it to various levels of the stratosphere ! I wasn’t game for the REALLY big one though ( it must have been 10 meters or so ). My sense of self preservation wasn’t THAT dulled !

  1. Sand surfing !

Near Cape R. there are these truly behemoth sized sand dunes – and you can surf down them on boogie-boards. Totally insane. I managed to go down the REALLY big dunes three times – it was flipping SERIOUSLY hard work getting up them ! Viva almost made herself sick getting up the first time ! Yeesh !

Well worth the effort though.

  1. Seeing Nine.

‘Nine’ is a very good friend of mine that I have known since standard 4. He lives in Auckland now and I don’t get to see him as often as I used to – in fact, I hadn’t seen him since my wedding. It was really cool to hang out and talk bollocks like the old days.

So there you go ! There were loads of other good things – but they were to top ten as they came to me. Obviously just spending time with Viva was the real joy of going on holiday … but I AM glad to be home. ;)

Monday, January 15, 2007

On the road

The roadtrip, so far, goes well.

Right now I'm in an internet cafe in Kerikeri, Northland. It's quite nice here - though it wasn't so nice when we freaking arrived - talk about rain ! Biblical deluge, more like ! Sigh. Still - got to do som ereading, which was nice ( though I wouldn't bother with Clive Barker's "The Damnation Game" if I were you - it's fairly pants ).

Roturua was fun. Viva and I went zorbing ( big plastic balls you go inside and roll down a hill ) - which WAS fun - but pretty expensive for the actual time you get to roll inside the ball. We also went white-water rafting - which was pretty cool, even though we did flip our raft on a seven meter waterfall. That was more fun than it sounds - though I was moderately concerned for my life for a few moments.

Yesterday, seeing as the sun was out for a change, we went for a 'swim-with-the-dolphins" tour - though they couldn't find any dolphins. Stupid dolphins ... think they're so cool ...
We also went to Russel - the first capital of NZ ( for all of about 5 minutes or so ) which was a nice place. Went for a swim on the beach - amazed ( again ) at how white most of me is ( I almost freaking glow ! ) and how much grit you can work into just about every part of your body when you body surf.

Today - the EXCITOR boat ride though the 'hole in the rock' ( I'm assuming it's some sort of hole in a rock ... but I've been wrong before ) and maybe checking out Waitangi ( which would be pretty neat ). Later in the week - the top of the county baby !

Better be going - I think my time on this thing is running out ...

More when I next make it to a computer with internet access !

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Vague review – various things

Well – a happy new year to you ! What’s that …? Oh – the rather extended time since I updated last. Yes – quite. You know how things get over the xmas break though don’t you ? I mean – it’s not TOTALLY because I’ve just been slobbing around the house !

Here are some reviews of things :

Christmas

Very nice thank you ! BBQ at my parents place on xmas eve, hanging out with my folks and seeing my sister for a time ( even though she got cross at me for nearly wrecking her DVD project because I was trying to check my e-mails – sheesh ! Selfish or what ? :-) ). Xmas lunch with Viva’s clan. Much enjoyment. Loses marks for some lousy weather – but otherwise top notch.

A-

Boxing Day

Not quite the festive games day I had planned. Important lesson learned ( again ) – give people notification WELL in ADVANCE. Still – my good buddy and best man Conrad was there as he is visiting from England. Yay ! Bumps up the score considerably.

B+

New Years Eve

Very nice ! Amazingly enough ! My ‘sedate gathering’ was fun ! A few people turned up even ! ( In ADVANCE Seraph ! ADVANCE !!! ). Learned how to make a few cocktails pretty well – the arcane lore or mixing Pina Colada, Sea-breeze and Mohito and now in my grasp ( if not the arcane lore of how to correctly spell them … ). Got nicely drunk – wasn’t sick or anything. Yay !

A

Holidays

They freaking rule !

A+

Wellington weather

WTF ???? I thought winter finished months ago ? How the hell can it still be getting SO cold ? We had to have the wood fire going no less than three times in the last week. It’s insane ! Thankfully today was nice !

D-

‘Fragile Things’ by Neil Gaiman

His new collection of short stories. As with all collections like this it’s a bit hit and miss. There are some fecking GREAT stories in there, some which are a bit more “Huh???”, if you know what I mean. Overall though – the good stuff is pretty damn good and is well worth a read.

Pesronal fav’s ; “Sunbird”, “Harlequin Valentine”, “Monarch of the Glen”, and, the best of the best – “ A Study in Emerald”, a story which crosses Sherlock Holmes with the mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. I kid you not – it’s freaking amazing.

B+

Eragon – the movie.

In a word – DON’T !

I was REALLY looking forward to this film because I liked the book so much. Man – did they screw it up. The CGI of the dragon is pretty neat, and Jeremy Irons is good, but man-oh-man, the dialogue is TERRIBLE ! Some lines near the end had me almost screaming with the gut-wrenching clich├ęd horror of it all.

Avoid. Read the book instead. It’s much better. Trust me.

D-

The Prestige - the movie

Not bad. Not quite the movie I was expecting. Had some pretty horrible stuff in it … and while there were some interesting twists and turns in it – they were kinda predictable. Kinda.

Still – I enjoyed it.

B-



Susan Enan - Bring on the Wonder

I heard this song on an ad for the tv show "Bones". You don't hear a lot of it - but I was hooked right then and there. It's a magical piece of music and song. If you like vaguely angsty, melodic female vocal stylings like those of, say, Tori Amos - you should like this one. A big up to the internet too - it's amazing how much you can find out with only one line of the lyrics !

A


Right - enough of the public service from me ! I'm off to enjoy a beer in the sunshine ! Woo-hoo !