Monday, December 20, 2010

Movie: The Town

Ben Affleck leads and directs this movie, a good effort both acting and directing, but the movie itself's a bit depressingly violent, the sort of depiction of America that spoils it for the other 99.9% good folk we meet on the road.
There's plenty of suspense in that you're always expecting the characters youve identified with might get topped in their next heist. At times you're reminded of that story where the sherriff's being questioned over why put 68 bullets into a crim, and he replies, because that's all we had, so deserving were they.
But then, that's good literature, if it gets you on or off-side with the characters.
Story gets a bit fairytale to match the violence too.
By comparison, Clint Eastwood does his directional efforts better by theming good books.
Not really my cup of tea. 3 out of 5.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Norfolk Island 10/12 #1

It had to happen to me one day.
The weather over the whole country hasn't been the best for the traveller last week or so, even if a welcome relief to the early drought conditions.
Got out of WAG airport without interference from fog, ditto getting into AKL for the Norfolk connector, but got spat out of immigration on account NLK airport's closed, so here we are, courtesy of AirNZ, travellis interuptus, put up overnight till the flight schedules come right.
Just have to mention this hotel, Holiday Inn Auckland Airport, about 10 mins courtesy coach from the landing strip.
Nice room, a standard one, flat-screen Bravia on the wall, twin sumptuous double w/ choice of soft or firm pillow, hi-speed internet (clocking at 9.11 kbps), no mini-bar, (but who needs that when you can get what you want room service), a decent bar, restaurant, and top obliging staff. It only goes up one floor, so minimal humping of gear involved too.
You can get all this, depending on occupancy demand for between $126 to $180 room rate, maybe cheaper if you book through the internet.  Only bug-bear, and its a pretty normal one here in NZ compared with the rest of the world, you have to pay extra for your internet connection, $30 for 24 hrs here.
However, the coup de grace is the tucker. Just partaken of the evening buffet, salad bar, choice of mains, baked fish, baked chicken, lamb curry, or pork roast, plus baked taters/kumara, rice, and vegies, (the broc was overdone though), and a nice array of desert, baked sponge, var cheesecakes, fruit, or cheeseboard.
I'll resume my diet tomorrow......
after breakfast. (which incidentally was pretty good too)
Top marks to AirNZ for extending interupted travel courtesy to cover meals.
My roadie mate Rocket is a fan of accommodation search and booking guide (international), and this place figures quite well there.
Excellent value.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Right Hand Rule

The change from left-turning giving way to approaching right turning, back to the old right hand rule, can't happen soon enough. Neither should we have to wait till after the RWC.
Most of us grew up with the right hand rule, give way to your right, and if turning right give way to everything.
To give the controversy a bunt, I'll allege our current rule is responsible for 50% of intersection accidents and road rage, (its a lot simpler to whack someone, than figure out the difficult, lol).
We're the only developed country still doing it. Victoria reversed its implementation after 2 years, and I'll give them points for seeing its faults rather than attribute to any possible lack of Aussie ability to understand its workings.
I had a little reminder the other day how dangerous our current system is. I was in my right-hand lane, signalling to turn right at the lights. A bus was approaching from the opposite direction, so I stopped.
Right at the line, the bus indicated to turn to his right, and as the approaching left lane up till this time was entirely clear, I started my right turn too.
But, suddenly, from behind the bus, a motor, obviously vexed at being in the wrong lane behind a no-intention signalling bus, hooked out, shot across the intersection, and there we screeched to a halt, 4' apart, but me wearing some expletives from the driver. Fair enough, I broke a biker's rule never to go until the coast is absolutely clear.
But under the old right hand rule, where the left lane would have had unrestricted right of way and traffic flow, that motorist would have been in it, and completely visible to me.
Under our current system its a real bummer trying to decide which lane to approach an intersection in, even when you're first to it, because the vehicle pulling into the lane beside you, might be going in another direction, or more likely, will try to drag you off for lane rights across the intersection.
The proposed new rule does have one snag, the right hand rule wont apply at a T junction. This is plain nuts.
One other point, something similar to the old RHR still operates in USA, only its a left hand rule, and I think our conditioning to the current stupidity only makes assimilating to riding there the confusion it can be.
Even better is their 4-way stop system at uncontrolled intersections, first in has right of way, then subsequent, but we'd need to modify our national aggro for it to work here.
Actually, we've got roundabouts, which offer pretty near the same thing, and might even be safer.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Arming the Police

Have just heard Police Assn's Greg O'Connor on ZB's Larry Williams Live, being questioned on his renewed stance for arming of police, (as in strapped to the hip), following the serious machete attack incident on a Taihape lawman.
If the police arm up, wont the crims follow suit? asks Larry.
Too late says Greg, the crims are already there, growing in drug based where-withall and resource to obtain. Theyre carrying to protect themselves from inter-gang dispute, but increasingly police, and inevitably, more public are getting caught as collateral damage.
Seems like a side-arm wouldnt have helped in this circumstance prods Larry.
Maybe not so if the crim knew at the outset he was out-weaponed, responds Greg.
Everyone from the PM and the Police Minister down dont support arming of police, says Larry.
Greg responds, it would be interesting to poll the public now, 9 lawmen killed in the line of duty in the last 2 years, multiple more attacks.
If the police cant protect themselves, how are they going to protect the public.
There might be a hue and cry about it right now, (on implementation), but in 6 months time, it'll be like nothing happened.
I'm on Greg's side.
In America all police are side-armed. All the ones we struck were polite, amiable, and helpful. I dont doubt they could be insistent.
The big difference between here and there is simply that we've got more and worse baddies in our society than America has, and this was somewhat of a shock to me to experience. As Greg said, we arent some peaceful little South Pacific paradise anymore.
I had a look up of police stats between our two countries, the rate of serious injury crimes, and crimes against property, per 100,000 of pop. is double here in NZ than in USA.
The situation regarding murders is the reverse, but I bet it wont be for long if we dont arm our police.
Or we'll end up like America before Wyatt Earp came to town. Pies

On the road victualling is very important!
In the news yesterday of significance is Pete, of Pete's Pies, formerly of Carlton Av at the Alma Rd roundabout, is opening up for business again.
Pete made the best pies in Wangas, and I went into near withdrawal when the shop burned down earlier this year.
However, Pete's Pies is re-opening soon in Sanson, in what used to be the pet shop, approaching from the north, its on the left about opposite the Shell station. The daily 26,000 traffic through this SH1 burg will give him the patronage his product deserves. The news item stated the premises is much larger than the old place, so with a bit of luck, we might be able to get a coffee there too. Actually, it has a respectable size forecourt, lots of space for off-street bike parking, a great meet-up venue.
Also worth a mention in Sanson, is the fish and chip shop next to the pub. Top F&C's, big slices of decently fresh fish, nice batter, good helping of chips, and they're open well into the evening.
The home-made pie situation hasnt evaporated in Wangas either. Carlton Takeaways, 44 Liffiton, on the main drag just past the town end of the motorway bridge has stepped up to the plate with what I think are now the best pies in town.