Saturday, March 5, 2016

An Audio Visual Triumph - Sole Mio

Haven't done a post here for a while, but was moved to it after last night, the occasion......
Sole Mio's  "On Another Note" tour concert, Palmerston North's Arena 2 stadium.
Audio visual triumph..., magnificent voices, fantastic stage and sound management, more incredible given that the place is a bit of a barn.
There must have been close to the documented 5000 crowd capacity, good view all round aided by a couple giant screens.
The back-drops were a masterpiece, couldn't figure out if they were 3 large rear projection panels, or actually video panels themselves, of some sort. Anyway, they were great, switching scenes appropriately between numbers, and even doing a bit of video motion.
Pene, Amitai, and Moses............. what can one say.
We got the full treat from opera to popular, accompanied in some part by grand piano, other by canned orchestra, and then by their own uke, guitar, and double bass, rousing opera through popular swing to sentimental ballad, delivered by an impeccable and fulsome sound system.
They sang the whole program. As an audience we got a full nine yards, and some surprise to walk out after two encores to find it was only 10.30pm (from an 8pm start, on time too). No time-wasting warm-up act here.
Their quiet dignity and cherishment of family and community values fueled the national pride tank.
Its Pacific for me......
the union jack can take a hike off the national flag.
10 out of 10, and much better in person than the CD

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Movie: Spy

Good laugh here, serious actors Law and Statham doing comedy, and Melissa McCarthy the brilliant spy, (with the odd flaw).
Chuck in Miranda and 50 Cent, and you've got a riot.
9 out of 10.
Be nice if the troupe could be brought back for a series.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Book: Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Total Recall"

Best Read of the Year..... achievement on so many levels, and despite the scandal of recent years, you have to take your hat off to the man.
From a country on a losing side of the war, to the corridors of politics in one of the world's greatest nations, Arnie illustrates the power of having a dream to chase, and the tenacity to do the hard yards to get there.
A bit of a "how-to" book really, how to do good at body building, how to go to America, and succeed there. How to succeed in business, build an asset portfolio, not just get into movies but make it big time, and finally get to be Governator, with a lot of derring-do, learn as you go, and insight into all the paths of life he strode.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Movie: A Million Ways To Die In The West

Cant understand the bad reviews for this movie, been home an hour and still laughing.
The gags, I think, seem to cop the criticism, but its the whole situational comedy/farce thing that amused me, much like with The Lone Ranger.
The story's about a nerd doing all the wrong things to keep his girl, and being led to handle it right, and get to a totally more satisfying place. Don't we all wish..?
Often I asked myself where this movie was heading, then you get to see why, everything overdone for a purpose.
What makes the punchline of a joke is its coming out of left-field, and there was a ton of that in this movie.
All the lead roles were masterly done, and I'm sure gorgeous Charlize will still be in my head long after tomorrow.
I'm a big Seth MacFarlane fan, Family Guy, and Ted, the aforementioned critic cant even spell his name right.
11 out of 10.
Just the tonic I needed after a stressful work week.
Dont go see it if you're a prude.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Books: Couple of good reads here

Couple good reads Ken lent me:

Peter James "Dead Tomorrow", another Detective Roy Grace novel, starts off with a bod being dredged off the bottom of the English Channel and turns into a slickly written rush from several different perspectives to the central denouement involving human trafficking and organ harvesting.
The subject matter's a little on the gruesome side for me, but James paces this mystery extremely well with the approach from the different characters, so you can get through the 650 odd pages in nightly instalments with each segment neatly partitioned, and another thread resumed the next.
He also provides a good insight into what it'd be like to be a parent of an organ transplant candidate.
9 out of 10, and only missing the perfect score on account of the macabreness not being my cuppa.

CJ Box "Winterkill"
I've read a couple of Box's Joe Pickett yarns before, and for a long while into this book I had a sense of having already read it, but no, it turned out new read territory.
Ken passed this book on because we'd been through the Twelve Sleep County, Wyoming, on the US rides he organised for us Kiwi motorcyle tourers. We've done the trip in the summer, so its interesting to imagine the winter-scape that Box mostly writes about in his novels.
In this one, aside from severe snow-outs and mysterious killings, Joe deals with rampant bureaucracy, sovereign nationalists, and threat of losing an adopted daughter.
Joe's no super hero, just a capable ranger dealing with extraordinary circumstance, which makes the this particular genre an agreeable read.
8 out 10, good descriptive prose, storytelling a bit ragged round the edges in places.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Life of Note: Mikhail Kalashnikov

The Saturday Dom runs a weekly obit page on lives of note and there's some really interesting stuff on people who had an influence on history, no less so than did Major General Kalashnikov, inventor of the AK47 assault rifle, who died age 94, couple of days before Xmas.
Its estimated 70 million of the Avtomat Kalashnikov 1947 model (I guess avtomat is Russian for automatic),  were made, excluding copies produced in third-world backstreet workshops. 7.62mm carbine, it can fire 600 rounds per minute, accurate to 300 metres, still lethal at 1500 metres, reputed as robust, lightweight, easy to maintain, operable in environments ranging the full gamut from sand to mud, less sensitive than the American M16, and more reliable than most British counterparts, continuing to operate when most others would jam.
Kalashnikov was born in Khazakstan, a 17th child of a peasant family, went to work on the Turkistan-Siberian railway on leaving school, and on call-up for military service in 1938, trained as a tank driver, then a tank commander, seriously wounded in the 1941 Battle of Byansk, (a stand-off southwest of Moscow where two Panzer divisions surrounded the 50th Army, who managed to extricate without much actual fighting, despite a huge toll of 80,000 killed and 50,000 taken prisoner as a result of the artillery and air bombardment), brooding on the superiority of German weapons, he conceived the idea of making a simple weapon for soldiers "that dont go to university", and built the prototype while recovering at the railway workshops, all with hand tools.
On later posting to the Emsk small-arms proving ground he developed the final version, which became the chosen standard weapon for the Soviet army, but given the 1947 date, never saw active usage in WWII. The pity of it all, and much to Kalashnikov's disappointment, the rifle went on to become the weapon of choice for anybody but the good, was probably responsible for killing most of the Russians killed during the Afghanistan occupation, and the Chechen uprising. Asked at a press conference how he felt about inventing a weapon that had killed more people than the Hiroshima bomb, he replied he'd received a lot of negative letters but still slept well. "Weapons are not to blame when used illegally," he replied. "the ones to blame are the politicians, not the designers."
Anywhere other than Russia, Kalashnikov would have become a multi-millionaire for his invention, instead he got honours heaped on him by Moscow, Hero of the Socialist Labour, Stalin Prize, Lenin Prize, a doctorate in engineering, 3 Orders of Lenin, Order of the Red Banner, and at age 75, Yeltsin promoted him to Major-General.
Ironically, he became a friend of Eugene Stoner, the inventor who made a fortune from his M16 rifle, who gave him more than a taste of the lavish hospitality he missed out on.
A lot of people would condemn the invention of such a weapon, but you couldnt deny the influence the man had on history.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Book: Never Go Back; Lee Child

I'm so hooked on Lee Child and Jack Reacher, he has to be my all time favorite read.
This one I started at 10.30pm to go to sleep on, only I roared through it to the end without the sleep.
11 out of 10!