Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fat free? Yeah right...

Couple of times recently have remarked to friends while visiting, how good their coffee is.
Finally flicked its the full-cream milk enhancing the taste experience, so changed my weekly order to include a carton of Farmhouse traditional rich and creamy. Non-homogenised too.
Heck, even my fresh fruit and muesli is quantum enhanced.
The big impression I'm getting, is simply.... satisfaction.
The major problem with the diet culture is you're forced into foods that are so bland you're forever searching for that something missing, and you fill the gap with stuff you shouldn't.
I've just had a chunk of grilled brisket for breakfast, 70% animal fat, and if you mention food to me before 5pm tonight, I'll puke. Now isnt that where we should be heading with eating plans?
In the same vein, have been a disciple of that bloke advocates the olive oil diet, couple of dessert spoons a day. Some literature tells you grape-seed oil is the go, so alternate with that, for cooking too, but jees, read the label, its got trans-fat in it!
So butter's back in my fridge, even though I use that Flora Pro-active plant sterol stuff to help the old cholesterol situation, which incidentally has trans-fat in it too.
There's something oxymoronic about having eggs for breakfast to get some brain-food cholesterol, then greasing your toast with Pro-active to block it.
The cat's started drinking milk again too.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Movie: Battleship

I went to this movie because the reviewers panned it, comments like "dim-witted alien invasion romp". Others said it was just a pick-up from the arcade game of the same name, which means nothing to me, I've never played it other than the old one that looks a bit like naughts and crosses.
And like so many other panned by the critics movies, I enjoyed it, I was entertained, I got my punter's bobs-worth.
I think these critic guys suffer from intellectual snobbery induced seizure, thinking that a decent shoot em up appeals only to teenage boys, fact is the snobberati have been so talked out of it, that the genre is a raging success anywhere else.
That said, this movie didnt get it quite right, but it was damn close.
This one scored in my book because the aliens were recognisably mammal and humanoid, I mean, bio/evolutionary science has suggested for yonks that protein molecules can only ever come together in the way they do, the way we recognise.
Second, it had a triumphant ending for us guys, and this one included some grudging friendly ethnic rivalry. Stuff the tragedy genre, I want to buy hope with my weekly movie spend, like with lotto, with the will, strength, and ingenuity, to overcome. I'd never bother with re-visiting Titanic, even in 3D, the lesson should have been learned a century ago, only a dick would charge through a field of ice-bergs.
The one area it slipped up was having a hero with mental foibles, they make such problematicly unbelievable leaders in crisis situations, and while the media might take every opportunity to splurge the opposite, I have a lot more respect for the quality of American military leadership than that.
Oh, the eye candy was fantastic in this flick too, Brooklyn Decker, and Rihanna, so maybe I am still a teenage boy, LOL, and yeah, Liam Neeson was nicely cast as the Admiral.
4 out of 5, and stuff the critics.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cape Palliser

CB looks back toward Wellington
Every now and then you strike a "Best NZ Ride", and this is one of them, giving the CB an outing to catch up with the Ulysses weekend excursion to Lake Ferry, South Wairarapa.
Had to work Sat morning, and duly arrived at the Lake Ferry Motor Camp just in time for the BBQ being knocked up by the committee, good chow...
The cabin as expected was pretty spartan, I guess fair value at 4 bunks for $60, but the 50 metre bare tootie dash in the night to the external ablution block was a bit of a trial.
There are also motel type units available at $80 per night, and the hotel's just a couple hundred metres away if you want a bit more style.
Sunday morning saw the mist clear off the lake, and if it wasnt for a couple of us defying the mob and taking the no-exit to the Cape we could have missed the jewel in the crown completely. Its a 30km odd trip to Palliser on a sealed road, plenty of bends, some with bumps that need watching for, but the view's fantastic. Might be different in bad weather though, so exposed to the south it is.
Palliser is the fishing community where scores of bulldozers and tractors for boat launching line the road and beach-side. There's a small golf course too.
From the village to the lighthouse is 4km odd of unsealed road, but the surface is smooth and free of loose metal in the wheel ruts. Vehicle traffic could be heavy, so a bit of care is needed.
There's a heap of seals out there, takes a bit of looking to pick them out even from close quarters, so good are they camoflaged on the rocks.
Spot the seals
The lighthouse was commissioned in 1897, the Cape and adjacent coastline having been the scene of several shipwrecks, one 6 months prior resulting in 12 of the crew of 21 drowned. The lens in the light is still the original, flashing twice every 20 seconds, and visible up to 48km away. The tower is one of two on the NZ coastline painted candy stripe to distinguish it from the backdrop hills, and there are 258 steps which can be climbed up to it.
If you like walking you can take a DOC track to Putangirua Badlands. We didnt do it, but the pics show something resembling the real deal like in USA. The area is remote enough you'd feel confident your vehicle wouldnt be interfered with while you were away.
Sam and I happily left the others going for it on the way home, opting to take in the Taxidermy Museum at Kahutara, well sign-posted off the Martinborough/Featherston road. Plenty of interesting stuff here, at a very modest fee, $5 donation.
Well worth the journey down this part of the island. Be sure your tank is full, its a fair step out to the Cape and back. You even get to take your bike through a ford!

Sam and the CX500 through the ford

Friday, April 20, 2012

ANZA - Giving credit where its due

Took the Dyna in for its 6000 mile service yesterday, the first since I bought it 3000 miles ago.
Stu did the workshop stuff, and obviously a tune up, because on the way home, it felt like it had found another gear, and low down running in the higher gears was much improved.
I was so impressed I phoned them soon as I got home to compliment them on their work.
The cost including a WOF, was very reasonable, and the wash-down before pick-up was appreciated too.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Great day out

Raukawa stop
Yesterday was a Ulysses ride to Whakapapa Ski Field. It was supposed to be an economy run so I took the LowRider for a look-see on the fuel usage question, but in expectation of a low turn-out, the ride was reverted to just an outing.
Never should have feared, it was a good turn-out, and I did my own fuel consumption test anyway.
So, off up the Parapara, where I was quickly into my usual spot at the tail of the field, been on bikes all my life, even did a patch of hill-climbing, sprinting, and minor racing in my 1500cc Anglia years ago, but I simply cant keep up with these guys.
The Parapara hills are in fine order with the good summer rain we've had, but not enough to feed Raukawa Falls, they were the lowest I've seen, when we stopped for the leg stretch. The road surface is pretty good these days too, with all the re-alignment and re-surfacing been done, lots of bikes going both directions.
In to National Park Rail Station for morning smoko, which like Ohakune Station has had a bit of a historical tourist attraction facelift. The food was excellent, choice cabinet stuff. The scones are legendary, and a few of the team lapped into the jam and cream, I had soup of the day, mushroom and noodle I think, not too bad.
Then it was up past the Chateau to Top o' the Bruce.
At National Park I was starting to get doubts about how much gas I had left, the gauge showing about quarter remaining, but when we started the climb, the needle dropped down to the empty post. Pulled over and had a discussion with Rob, not sure about which way the fuel cock should point to be on reserve or not, and decided to punt it was the climb that had sent the needle ballistic and carried on to the top of the road.
Most of the team had never been on the chairlift before, reminding me of the thrill and wonder of my first time on it. We negotiated a bulk discount for lift tickets, feeling pretty smug, then along comes Keith, pulling his gold card and getting the same for half the price!

Pinnacle Ridge..., they ski down there too
  So, up two levels of lift, was able to point out the Wanganui Ski Lodge where late member Ulyssian Hugh Gilberd and brother Richard were so devout in earlier years, and having a marvel at how the Waterfall Quad chairs derail onto an idler slow enough for you to get on and off, then clamp on for the acceleration out of the blocks. The food at the top cafe was sparse and expensive, so we just had a coffee while we marvelled at the steel and exposed beam structure of the new building, (the previous one burned down a couple of years back).
There were quite a few hikers and day trippers around, one of the cafe staff told us it was a 6 hour round hike to the Crater Lake and back. I recall once doing it with skis on my shoulder off the top of the Knoll Ridge poma in about an hour and a half to get up there, and a nice leisurely ski down, in my shirt sleeves on a sunny spring day.
However, today it was nippy enough, and a novel experience for me to look down at all the exposed snow-less rock, hard to imagine how there'd be enough snow to fill it in.
Anyway, bit of trepidation trying the around $15-17 menu items back at the Top o' Bruce Cafe, but we were in for a pleasant surprise, the tucker was good, Lou's mussel meal was 3 fat fritters, Sandra gave her piece of quiche the thumbs up, Chris got a big plate of lamb meat balls with salad, couple of the blokes got decent bowls of chips or wedges for $6 and $11 respective, and my burrito had enough mince and chilli to give me a fat tummy and fat lips all in the one go.
They've got a real chef in there, hand delivered our meals. 8/10. Good espresso too.
So, back off down the hill, the guys liked the good surface on the mountain road, and my fuel gauge shot back over 1/4 full, the change in gradient obviously playing havoc with the sender unit.
Just to be sure I topped up at G.A.S. at National Park, 11 litres to fill the tank, for 189 km travelled thus far, 5.8 litres/100 km. Quick check with ANZA this morning, they tell me the tank holds 18.2 litres, so even when the needle hits the red zone, I've still got plenty to go on. Interesting my workshop manual dosent say what the tank capacity is anywhere, but I have deduced from it I still had the fuel cock reserve to come and go on.
Another great autumn April day out, sharing with ex-Brit Chris on the chairlift, how fortunate us Kiwis are in access to stuff that's out of reach to a lot of folks in other countries.
And enjoyed his birthday shout at the Celtic de-brief too, but we all skipped on the chips.

Ngauruhoe from the chairlift

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Show: Fairytale High School

I put this up because the show was well...
It was Wanganui High's Junior School production, rotated second yearly with the whole school's major musical.
Having followed a couple of nephews through their time at the school, I'm amazed by the depth of theatrical and musical talent they showcase, ever a major thumbs-up for Wanganui youth talent.
This show was an hilarious hotch-potch of fairytale characters, Beanstalk Jack, Peter Pan, Goldilocks, Snow White, the dwarves, Mary, the Giant, the Wicked Witch, the Ugly Sisters, you name it, very well written.
The kids acted with great infectious enthusiasm, and portrayed their respective character nuances to much amusement by the audience, maybe even extemporising a little of their own.
For a school production, the costuming was outstanding.
And as always, the orchestral contribution was sure-noted and talent ridden for so young a group.
Well done Wanganui High, and another feather in the cap of the tutors involved. The school's been blessed with an exceptional music/drama dept over recent years.