The Lineup
B.I.R. Column Of Fame
Man of Steel... Wood... and Mud: Bear Grylls
Rock Legend: Tom Morello

League Gods: The Emperor and Alfie

Str-8 Shoota: Malcolm X

Str-8 Shoota: Zack de la Rocha

Super Bad mofo's

Comrade Hillary

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Nice ice luv 

It truly is a sad week for everybody as news of the slipping moral standards on Antarctica begins to break.

While the headline to the Sunday Star Times page 3 story may have been truly witty - South Pole stripper gets cold shoulder - I can assure you its contents will offend even the most Capillesque of offenders.
A University of Canterbury student who accepted money to strip during a night of high jinks at Scott Base has formally apologised to Antarctica New Zealand bosses for her antics.
Kiwi officials have been left red-faced by the impromptu strip show which occurred just days before a host of dignitaries including Prime Minister Helen Clark and Sir Edmund Hillary arrived at the base to celebrate 50 years on the ice. The student, who was there as part of the University of Canterbury's Graduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies, was drinking in the bar when a man stripped down to his underwear and scampered around the pool table. She offered to do the same - if bar patrons paid her $200. The money was duly raised and the woman completed the circuit. Then, egged on by a team of drillers working at the base, the woman stripped completely.

Didn't she stop to think about the Prime Minister's imminent arrival...?

She was only several days away afterall.

Didn't she stop to think Sir Ed would soon be celebrating the base's 50 year anniversary?

That someone would carry on like that when Sir Ed, in his frail state, was only days away from land-fall...

Didn't she stop to think that her immoral behaviour in front of a bunch of consenting/ willing/paying adults would pollute that unspoiled landmass?

More importantly didn't anyone stop to think about the penguins?
Antarctica New Zealand chief executive Lou Sanson, who is understood to be furious about the incident, said it was reported only after the student had left the ice.
"We've investigated the incident and confirmed some members of a contract drilling team were also involved - they've since left Scott Base," he said.
"We're now awaiting separate disciplinary investigations by the University of Canterbury and the drilling contractor into this completely unacceptable behaviour."

I mean, jesus fucking christ, what is the world coming to: students getting drunk, having fun and stripping for a little bit of cash???

Where are your morals? You make me sick.

Finally, thank you Sunday Star Times for bringing us the news that truly matters; may your fearless reporting save our souls from eternal damnation.

And to Antarctica chief executive Lou Sanson, if you truly are "furious" about the incident, then please get a fucking sense of humour dickhead.

Roading in NZ: all yak all the time 

From north of Wellington comes this story. Transit regional manager Graham Taylor responds by noting that his agency is on top of the situation:
"People are calling for more and more wire ropes - this is leading-edge stuff installing wire-rope barriers in the middle of two-lane road with these volumes of traffic (22,000 vehicles a day), but we are looking at extending the barrier from Centennial Highway to McKays crossing."
Leading-edge stuff indeed. Fucking moron - it's putting a wire rope down the middle of a highway to reduce head-on crashes (y'know, the ones that often claim peoples' lives). We're not talking the Cistene Chapel here.

The same story notes that the bridge where the accident occurred is "50 years old, for God's sake." The bridge on the NW motorway that you cross over just after the Lincoln Rd exit (when heading NW) says "1962". It is two lanes wide in either direction. I note that there is a shitload of development occurring in and around Massey, plus infill housing, all of which means more GST, more rates, and .... more cars (breathtaking stuff I know). Net changes to the NW motorway? Nil.

How about the Upper Harbour Highway, you ask? Not everyone who lives in the North-West commutes to the city!

Well, that's a fucking joke too. Let's set out in an Easterly direction. First you're required to crawl along the wide (but only one-lane each way) Hobsonville Rd at 50kph. Then you hit the construction at the Greenhithe Bridge, complete with a roundabout (which, when travelling in the other direciton, you can't see when on account of it being down a hill, and round a corner). Then if you head left towards most of the North Shore, and SH 1 (i.e., not down to Takapuna) you hit a roundabout on to which traffic from Albany flows constantly, with the right of way, and everyone else has to yield. And then you finally get round, only to encounter ... more construction on Constellation Dr. One wonders why:

(a) the road planning morons don't think to start and finish one section of road (say, Constellation Dr) before moving on to fuck up another nearby area (say, Greenhithe Bridge).

(b) why Constellation Dr wasn't finished before the bus station/park-n-ride opened.

Finally, let's hope big Jake Oram can go three for three tonight and earn a spot as Legend as Late. NZ to bat first and score over 300!!

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Try Someone Else 

All these people bitching about being on so called 'waiting lists' for Broadband with Telecom need to try somebody else.

Telecom told us we couldn't get Broadband where we are soon after we arrived back in Auckland to live. A guy even came around and tried hooking us up and spent two hours to find out "no we can't get it" and in the meantime he even managed to fuck up our dial up connection. A year later and we were sick of dial up so we asked them again and they said we can't get it. My wife then called a Korean rep at Slingshot and one day later, that's right, one day later we had broadband up and running.

Telecom is a lazy, cumbersome beast that is 90% image and 10% substance. If people go with other options as they become available they will get the pants round the ankles shafting they deserve.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Welcome Home Meow Bleaarghh 

Got home from Korea on Wednesday to find that the cat had vomited in the middle of the living room floor. And slightly to the right of the living room floor. And slightly to the left of the middle of the living room floor. Then after the next night she vomited in the middle of the hallway. And slightly towards the end of the hallway. We now have nice stains. Never in my life have I been able to succesfully remove stains from carpets despite using stain remover products exactly as the label suggests.

I am planning on drinking a whole heap of booze and vomiting on the cat in the coming weeks. Mind you, she's a tortuise shell so we'll hardly notice.

Word on the street (OK radio sport) is that Nathan Astle is going to announce his retirement today. For all the guys faults and his shit house form lately he has been our best ODI batsman in the last decade. That maybe doesn't say much for our batting. In fact New Zealand has not produced a truly world class batsman since Mark Richardson (in tests) and Martin Crowe (in both forms). Stephen Fleming has been talked up by the opposition quite regularly but that is because he was capable of big things and was the best of a bad lot (in tests), but lets face it, he is the most shit best batsman in world cricket.

Hasn't changed much since I was last there (precisely two years ago). The music is if anything more crap than before. Only a handful of the dozen or so groups I liked have done anything in that time. Leessang put out a disappointing album, Jaurim did a cover album of western songs which on first listen wasn't up to much. Pia have put out a good debut full length album. About fucking time. They kept playing the same 5 songs at concerts for years. Most other groups I liked seemed to have fallen off the radar. Seo Tae Ji has done jack.

I saw (and bought) a Korean movie called Gwae Mul (The Host) about a monster which lives in the Han River in central Seoul. The monster supposedly was the result of an American mortician ordering his Korean assistant to pour hundreds of old bottles of formaldehyde down the sink and into the river (based on an actual incident from 2000 which you can read more about in the link above under "Political Side" where North Korea gave it mad props for its anti-America stance). The monster was drawn up and initially modelled by a Korean artist who went to Weta in Wellington where they built a larger scale model and brought it to life. 'Richard' from Weta said they were too busy at the time with King Kong and Narnia to do much though. I think they were advising quite a bit. Then I think most of the animation was done in the US. Anyway, it became the highest grossing South Korean film of all time. It might well be in the video stores in NZ now, or at some stage in the near future.

Old Boy is still the best Korean film I have seen. If you only ever see one Korean film make sure you watch that one. It will probably persuade you to watch more. Bit of trivia from Old Boy, the final scene of snowy landscape was filmed in NZ.

We also saw the third Park Chan-wook "vengeance trilogy" film, consisting of 2002's Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy in 2003, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance in 2005. It's decent enough.

Anyang (the city where I lived for three years and stayed for the three weeks I was back in Korea) is still ticking along (a million miles an hour). If you click on that link you can see a building they gave up working on years ago. It's been like that since I went to Anyang. Took me a while to realise that it was probably being built around the time of the Asian economic crisis when Korea was hit pretty damn hard. It seems that nobody is taking responsibility for its completion or removal which is a shame because its the first thing you see when you walk out of the rather grand (by New Zealand standards) Anyang Station.

My wife wants to use the computer and I'm buggered so maybe more later or maybe not.

Jal Ga

PS I see what people have meant about the weather with overcast skies and now rain forecast for the next 5 days. The highs are skimming across above the country while the lows are continuing to drift up. Not a hell of a lot of rain though. 34 mm in the 26 days of January so far is a little less than half what January usually brings. Be nice to get the sun right out though.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Dying for knowledge 

Yo yo, how's it all going youse fullas?

I'm back in blogging business for 2007 and am looking foward to firing off my usual mix of banal banter, salacious slander, and commentary on the state of the nation.

Who knows, maybe even the occassional misleading league tip.

Anyways, over at Seek, Taste magazine is looking for a sub editor:
Want to wet your appetite working part time hours on a years fixed term contract for our delicious little team at Taste magazine?

It appears the position needs to be filled sooner rather than later.

In other news, a friend's daughter is applying for her student allowance before heading down to sunny ol' Otago for her final year of Uni and was feeling rather stressed by the process i.e having to prove her parents income even though she's completely independent of them.

To cut a long story, I told her that since she's been out of home and away from her folks for more than two years she could apply for her student allowance under the independent circumstances criteria as it was back in my day....just several years ago.

But no, it turns out the Government (the same one that came up with the radical idea of not charging students interest on the loans they take out to progress their education) decided last year that now you can only qualify for an independent circumstances allowance if:

a) you are an orphan (and not just any old orphan but one who hasn't lived with someone acting as a parent for two years), or

b) your mum or dad are fucking nuts and institutionalised.

Effectively this means that the thousands of kiwi kids who choose to further their education through tertiary/polytech studies now have little alternative but to sign up for living costs via their student loan...and therefore have to pay it all back.

So while Labour may no longer be building on its $11 billion nest egg on the back of interest repayments from the nation's youth, it has at the same time, saved itself millions of dollars by cutting off access to living allowances for thousands and thousands of New Zealand's youth.

OK, so that sux, but the real question here is why should the children of dead people and fruitloops get an easy ride?

I say fuck them -- it's political correctness gone mad.

The truth is that there are many students who get the same level of financial support for their university studies from their parents now as they would if their parents were dead - in fact, some would probably get more.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Three Sunny Afternoons Don't a Summer Make 

Good god not much of a summer in Auckland so far. Mostly variations on: cloudy-n-cool, cloudy-n-humid, cloudy-n-cool-n-windy. Delightful. Where are the easy news stories on how sunscreen sales are way, way down and retailers are hurting? Icecream sales must have plumetted too. I did buy one the other night, though, on account of how my bus never showed up after work and I was over an hour late getting home. I needed a pick-me-up after that.

So far this year (and it's only Jan 22) my bus fare has gone up 9%, and we've received a letter from Mercury Energy saying our bill is going up by about 4% from mid-February. Ahh, roll on a good rates increase, and then we're truly fucked. I guess petrol has come down by 2% or so. I can't help but notice my pay hasn't increased at all yet.

Have had all sorts of trouble with Blogger lately, in terms of losing decent posts before they even see the light of day. And I have lacked the wherewithall to cut and paste my text to a safe location before hitting "publish" (but not anymore). For a while I couldn't publish using Firefox, and on Explorer I could only access some stripped-down text version with a message warning "could not connect to".

Anyway, onwards and upwards:

1. That Governator ain't too bad, eh? In fact, he talks a fair amount of sense. Universal health insurance for example. Withdrawal from Iraq for example.

2. John Bracewell is crap and I have proof. Namely, he admits he doesn't know what's wrong with the batting. Well, John, how about the fact that your batsmen have major technical faults, including an inability to move their feet (Astle), a tendency to waft away uselessly outside off stump (Fleming), a fondness for swotting away in front of their legs (H Marshall) and so on. How about making them practice until they exhibit some ability to fix these issues? Radical, I know. Even McCullum and Vettori can barely hold a bat at the moment. Maybe it's time for a radical shakeup?

They should start by dropping Marshall. In his last 15 innings he's scored one 50 (exactly 50) and averaged 16.50.

Bring in a new opener: Vincent or Cumming.

Maybe even bring in Sinclair to keep wickets and bat 3, if McCullum can't organize an innings of more than 20.

Play Patel and Vettori together. If you can really, really only afford one spinner, consider playing Patel only.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The New Template is the Old Template 

Yep, we're back to the tried-and-trusted 2004 vintage template, by popular request of blog visitors who liked the features made possible by the three column format, specifically things like "tosser of our times" and "pictures of pretty girls". I still plan to update it somehow, and at some time in the unspecified future.

Wouldn't mid having a Mohammad Yousuf (2006 test avg 99.33) or even a Ricky Ponting (2006 test avg 60.78) in the Black Caps at the moment. I don't care to mention KP Pietersen (2006 test avg 65.28) just because the Poms are so, well, goddam awful really. For the record, SP Fleming scored the most runs for NZ in test cricket in '06 (570) and had the best average (47.50). Astle, Fulton, McCullum, Oram & Cumming etc. all averaged in the 20s. Styris and Vettori were in the 30s. A certain H. Marshall averaged 13.80.

Meanwhile, looks like there could be some fun at the Australian Open tennis today. As one local Serb told the SMH:
"We hate those Croat c----, we want to smash their heads in after the game," he said. "We knew they were coming, tomorrow there will be more. There'll be 200 Croats, but that doesn't matter, we'll bring shanks and stab every one of them."
Quiet please. Game on!

That quote certainly caught my attention, but so did these in the NZH about the senseless increases in public transport prices (which weren't low to start with!!). There will always be an excuse for hiking the fares it seems - even when fuel prices are falling.

Renee Hodder, Massey:
If it goes up any higher it's not going to be worth it, really. It's getting pretty expensive. It was $120 a month for me; now it's closer to $140.

Paul Ryan, Newmarket:
It might get to the point where it's easier to bring my car in every day. It costs me $3.60 a day for the train and I probably wouldn't use that in gas. Plus I have free parking at work.

Deepal Singh, Blockhouse Bay:
I think it's too much really. Six months ago it increased and now it has increased again so it's become quite expensive. If it gets any more expensive I might start bringing my car in.

Well said citizenry of greater Auckland. ARTA are in danger of pricing people out of public transport, and back into their cars.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

So Al-Qaeda. Is it real? Or is it like your father dressed up on Christmas? 

Hey George Orwell! A little help?
Yesterday the headlines blarred out that the U.S. Bombed the hell out of Al-Qaeda in Somolia. What the hell? How exactly does a dried out rural village in a region without adequate food manage to threaten the U.S., and all the while ringing up Bin-Ladin to plan tactics. Every newspaper on the planet that made reference to the U.S. Bombing Al-Qaeda was full of shit. All it was, was an overly loaded military bombing the shit out of a poor and utterly defenseless village in Somolia. Why is there not an embargo against the U.S. for this stunt? The world went to war with Iraq in the 1990s for an unprovoked attack on foreign soil, so why not now with Washington?
Also, I'm hard pressed to believe that there ever was such a thing as Al-Qaeda, and I'm even more skeptical to the thought that they would be mulling about the Eastern horn of Africa just waiting for their move. Oh yeah, there are shit loads of political and social connections between Afghanistan and Somalia, just like there are between the late Saddam Hussien and the Taliban. Let's not forget the famous geopolitical axis of leprechauns, elves and fairies. I mean if we're writing fiction, let's not stop, you know?

It's unreal that one of the shit poorest places on earth, so poor that most of the world just doesn't give a shit, had to bear the brunt of a full military attack because the president of the U.S.A. needed to justify sending another 20,000 souls to a fictious war to be butchered. This is what you're up against.
Happy 2007.
Oh yeah, and global warming is fucking us all dead. I'd like to shine my ass directly at the American voter and ask why the fuck you people voted in Mr. 'War with everyone' rather than than a guy who actually says that he gives a shit about climate change. Face it. Your political system is fucked beyond belief, and it impacts the whole goddamn planet. Can't you people have a revolution and set things right?

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Suck on this fuckers! 

2006 weather stats.

Auckland was the sunniest of the five main centres with 2189 sunshine hours, followed closely by Christchurch (2169 hours), and Wellington (2159 hours). Dunedin recorded 1960 hours, and Hamilton 1996 hours.

Yeah it might piss down regularly but at least it cleans our smog covered sunglasses.

From the same article: "The year was marked by too little rain in some places and too much in others", said NIWA Principal scientist Dr Jim Salinger."

Does he get employed to find that shit out? I could have told you that with observations from a few different living rooms around Auckland.

Once again peeps, summer in Auckland starts between the 10th of January (on a good year) and the 20th of January (on a bad year) and runs to the end of March with April still being a decent month. Set your watches and alarm clocks to it, take your holidays then and love your mothers.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Can You Speak Korean? 

Well know, but I can read a bit.

Fucking computer in the pc room in Anyang is displaying everything in in Korean so I am having to draw on my extensive knowledge of the Korean language to bring you this piss arse post.

Been back for nearly a week and its been cool so far. Out boozing with friends (who are still in Korea years later) and with my brother in laws who were trying to see how much soju they could get down me (not much, 4 shots I think, I'll stick to beer thanks).

In the news here the mayor of Anyang who came to my wedding has been sentenced to two years in prison for accepting bribes. He probably needed to so he could pay for our wedding 'donation'. As I was discussing with bluebeard on the phone today, there are two types of politician in Korea. Ones who have been caught for accepting backhanders and ones who haven't been found out yet. Either way, everyone of these SOBs is working the job two ways at the same time.

The weather has been alright. Snowed one day lightly but the temps haven't been so bad that I haven't been able to ride my bike along the glorious Anyang stream (picture what a large open drain would look like leaving the chernobyl site). I think we had a high today of 1 degree. Overnight lows of around -5. If you spit on the ground you would be confident of finding it again a week later put it that way. Boy does my arse hurt from the bike seat. I had to ride standing up most of the 15 kms home today. The bike lane goes all the way to Seoul but I don't think my arse will get me that far and back. I'm tossing up whether or not to try riding there next week and then getting the subway home. I'll keep you posted.

Not much else happening here. North Korea still haven't invaded. Been 57 years now.

right, I'll leave you to it.

Jal Ga Chingu dil

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Nice weather for ... err, South Islanders? 

Fuck. The last six months of weather have been absolute crap. First the coldest June in about 40 years (probably 140 if you ask me). I distinctly recall one afternoon - Friday 23rd - when it felt remarkably close to snow in downtown Auckland. The fun continued through a chilly July, August and September (barring a very short window of great weather at the end of the latter) before the wind picked up for, oh, 3 months. Three freakin' months of relentless, cold (sometimes biting) southwesterlies. Delightful.

And then "summer". Cool. Cloudy. Windy. I've counted precisely three days that could truly be counted as summery thus far. And now today - raining and muggy. Lest anyone think I'm complaining, has anyone been bitten by a mosquito in Auckland thus far this summer? No, didn't think so. I rest my case.

Now, another Black Caps game today after which I hope to find some time to post some stats on recent performances of our batsmen in particular. It will be interesting to see if Craig McMillan can capitalize on a rather steadfast outing last time, or will capitulate for his typical 2, 5 or 11 runs.

And I have vowed to totally revamp our template here at BIR, which has remained basically unchanged for over 2 years.

So lots still to do, as well as full-time paid employment. It sure has been quiet around here with dc_red and bennyasena too busy working, yamis too busy on international vacation, and bobert missing presumed drunk in a central american jungle.

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