Who has got the cure for the sit-at-home blues? Ask Dr Grabthar. Now with bigger, easier to read font!

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

[General/Sport] The New Jersey Devils made me do it

It’s not often, here at the Hammer, that one is able to write a piece about America’s new “religious right” and sport at the same time. But this little article sure is good.

Change the New Jersey Devils’ name? Is New Jersey State Assemblyman Craig Stanley crazy? What would he prefer? The New Jersey Jesuses? [What is the plural of Jesus?]

Actually though that isn’t too bad. Maybe the New Jersey Gods? Nope it’s blasphemous to think of more than one. The New Jersey Red Seas? Too easily parted and could be confused with the Detroit Red Wings. The New Jersey Holy Ghosts? This would be shortened to “the Ghosts” and then we’re back where we started.

If you’re gonna get rid of a name, get rid of the Washington Redskins. It is the only racist name left in American professional sport (that I know of). Chiefs, Braves, Indians, Blackhawks, these are all fine because they are not derogatory towards Native Americans (“Indians” is a little close to the mark, but it is a classic misnomer from the time of Columbus and they heve removed the hideous logo. At least they aren’t the “Injuns”). “Redskins” was a term akin to “darkies”.

Recently a poll was taken in which the majority of Native Americans said that they were not offended by the term “Redskins” and had no problem with the team using that name. However, when one looked closer at the data you could see that acceptance went down when compared to education level (i.e. the higher the education level the less likely that the name would be accepted). The sample size of this survey was also questionable. Then there is issue of usage. If I say: “Do you mind the name the Washington Redskins?” you say: “Nah, that’s cool”. If I say: “Do you mind me calling you Redskin”, you say something quite different.

Just change the name and quit offending anyone. I’m sure the fans won't care what you're called as long as you win some games (which Washington doesn’t do despite spending the most on players and earning the most from fans).

My hero, Gregg Easterbrook, had some options for the Redskins using cool Native American words:

  • Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons – a little long winded perhaps
  • Washington Cho Nee - Cho Nee means "large people" in Apache
  • Washington Dzeel - in Navajo, Dzeel is the kind of strength that comes from courage
  • Washington Idini - Apache for "like thunder"
  • Washington Jepziwok - Chippewa for "great athletes"
  • Washington Matwesaso - Nanticoke for "courageous" and a relevant choice because the Nanticokes were the dominant tribe of the Potomac region and hence the next name…
  • Washington Nanticokes – see above
  • Washington Wohnata - Lakota Sioux for "they are champions"

Maybe if the Devils do become the Christs or the Apostles or something, then Washington could be the Devils. Washington the home of the Devils, how apt (scroll down for laffs).

Monday, May 30, 2005

[Sport] Round Up

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog.

This is mainly a sports based post today but it may wander of the track a little way through.

First a thing that has boiled my blood ever since it happened. Shaun Matcalf (and couple of his mates) decided that he didn’t want his pregnant girlfriend to keep their baby. So he lured to a secluded area and then he and his friends attacked her, kicking her in the stomach repeatedly in an attempt to cause a miscarriage.

Metcalf was a young rugby league star. He had become the youngest player to ever represent the New Zealand Warriors and was on his way to (adult) national representation (he and his friends had already represented NZ in the under 16 competition).

Perhaps this meteoric rise had gone to their heads, who knows. But they were told, after the conviction, that they would never play league again. After a review, they have now been told that they can resume playing.

The article is unclear as to whether this means club or professional league and if it is the later then I am very unhappy with the New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) board. Here is a quote from the NZRL from the NZ Herald.
“Though what they did was abhorrent and foul, it did not lead to the death of anyone.”
O.K. So you can premeditate a vicious assault on a pregnant woman with the intention of killing her unborn child, but as long as you fail and the woman herself doesn’t die, then you still represent your team in sport. Given that Metcalf’s girlfriend had decided to keep the child, this is attempted murder.

This is a rather unsafe message being sent to the league-playing youth of New Zealand and indeed to New Zealand as a whole: If you are good at sports, you don’t have worry about being punished.

Let him play club league because, as the NZRL says, it can be rehabilitative. But do not let him ever be in a position to be able to represent our country (or even a province) ever again, he has lost that right. Despite whether they should be or not, sportsmen and women are role models, I do not want Shaun Metcalf to be anybody’s role model.

On a lighter note (although given the previous topic ANYTHING would be lighter) at Stuff you can vote for your All Black team one position at a time. (Do we really only have three prospects for loosehead prop? One of whom has already left the country.)

Now I’m here I’ll stick with rugby. The Lions have announced their team to play the (mighty) Bay of Plenty in Rotorua this weekend. And it’s a full strength one (or at least pretty close). No Jonny Wilkinson, but they probably don’t want him injured just yet; still Brian O’Driscoll will be captaining the squad. I’ll be there to watch all the carnage. I’m expecting the Bay boys to give them a closer run than most would think, but without Glenn (what more do I have to do to be an All Black) Jackson they don't have a great kicker/playmaker to rely on.
[I could blog all day about the glaring exclusion of Glenn Jackson from the All Blacks last year (being a young version of Andrew Mehrtens is obviously not enough, nor is being the top points scorer in the NPC, nor is being a winning first five for the NZ Māori).]

Oh, and apparently there was a Super 12 final (literally final) on the weekend. Apparently the Crusaders won, again. Yawn. Bring on the Super 14, so we can see the Crusaders win, again. Sanzar, just hear me out…

The guys on TV3’s Arena all said that if they were selecting the All Blacks Justin Marshall would be their first pick. Actually what happened was one person said it in an emphatic fashion and all the rest copied in order to look like they actually knew something. Jeez, if you all Love Justin Marshall so much why don’t you marry him?

My first pick would be Richie McCaw then Dan Carter then Tana Umaga and then a whole bunch of others (like Glenn Jackson [see above]) and if, when I had finished, there were enough Cantabrians in the squad I would consider Justin Marshall. Marshall plays his best football when surrounded by people who play better than he does. Byron Kelleher passes and runs better and can easily adapt to whomever he is playing beside, Marshall seems to have trouble doing this. I would pick Marshall as the guy who thinks up tactics on the sideline. Also Marshall pouts too much. Kelleher just goes like a Jack Russell.

Let’s switch codes now. The French tennis open is happening as we speak and the hype factory Williams sisters have departed leaving only Lindsey Davenport to keep America’s hopes alive. For the first time in a long while the men’s tournament is more interesting than the women’s. Roger Federer is so good, but he is yet to win at Roland Garros.

In baseball, the Yankees lost to the Red Sox. Of course this is baseball so one game is just 0.62% of your total games, but still: SMACKDOWN. I don’t like the Yankees. I think it’s funny that despite every punk kid from New York to Auckland to Djibouti wearing an NY cap, Manchester United is still the largest sports franchise in the world. Ha ha ha.

This seems to be a good place for a quick note from Arse fan Jim Coe [by Arse I mean Arsenal, but Arse is funnier]:

[Malcolm] Glazer may be a billionaire, but seems he doesn't have the spare cash to buy [Manchester United] outright. So he has to borrow to pay for it. So the debt is his, but the club's assets are the collateral on the loans, so if he can't pay the interest then the club belongs to the bank. Presumably, a bank has no interest (no pun intended) in running a football club, so they will sell off the club's assets. Like players. Think Leeds, times about six times the debt.

So as far as the club is concerned they are going from debt-free to being ₤650m in the hole. Profits will go into servicing debt rather than improving the club. The 650m is over 10 years, but United's half year profits to March were only 8m. Oops.

Of course, this is a worst-case scenario, but it is certainly plausible.

Ha ha. Suddenly Arsenal's debt doesn't seem that bad.

Malcolm Glazer also owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The NFL had to approve his purchase as the NFL has rules regarding cross-ownership. The NFL was worried about the connection between Man U and a casino that is to be built by the club in conjunction with the Las Vegas Sands Corp. The NFL does not want to be connected with gambling.

The 2005 Indy 500 has been won by a Briton. Well done, Dan Wheldon, you can drive in a circle better than anyone else. Indy cars are so very boring, possibly the most boring sport in the world. But how hardcore is Danica Patrick? She is a rookie and came fourth.

By the way Danica Patrick is a girl. But quite frankly who cares? First and foremost Danica is an awesome driver, the reason she lost was because her car almost ran out of fuel so she had to slow down. You will notice that most people will say: “Danica did really well for a girl” and similar things. On TV3 last night she said “I want to be remembered for winning rather than being a girl”. TV3 sports presenter Michelle Pickles then said: “you go girl”, deftly undermining Danica with a single line. (Note: in most articles, like the ESPN one above, they will refer to her as Danica, while referring to other (male) drivers by their surnames, I believe that this is because it could be confusing for a reader to see “Patrick is the first female driver to…”. I have done the same here).
UPDATE: The best quote about Danica I have seen is this one:

In any case, a fourth-place finish with 24 laps led – the first ever for a non-male driver at Indianapolis – should be more than enough for Patrick to clinch the $25,000 JPMorgan Chase Rookie of the Year Award.

"Non-Male"? Do they mean female? Were the Indy car reporters considering transgendered people?

Given the money poured into creating cars that are lighter and lighter, I am surprised that more racing teams aren’t encouraging smaller, lighter women to drive their cars. Read the article and then say it with me: “Robby Gordon, dry your eyes mate…”

Also if you’re like me and watch TV3 sports news, you could be forgiven for forgetting that there is an NBA finals series being played out in the states. The Suns are almost out, with the Spurs taking a commanding lead. But the big battle (and quite frankly the real grand final series) is between the Miami Heat and the Detroit Pistons. I don’t want to pick a winner of that one. They are tied at one game apiece (the third is being played out as I write this). I like Shaq and the Heat but you can’t go past the retro coolness of the Pistons.

Almost finally, here is where I move away from sport, the Herald is running this non-article. Methinks that a certain reporter may be in a certain 48hours film team.

Here is short piece on a bitter Mikey Havoc. Seems there was a bit of leaving-in-the-lurch by dirty old, rotten old, dirty old Newsboy. Still I love Eating Media Lunch and Quality Time. I think the Havo just needs to find himself a new straight guy, or do an current affairs-style show. Think Campbell: Live with more swearing and humour, like the best bits from Quality Time (i.e. not the skits).

Friday, May 27, 2005

[General] Equal Gaming Rights

This lovely piece of work has been circulating the internet recently.

It is well worth the read.

The Gamers Manifesto.

Ps. Jose', your degree was in Humanities? I thought you did...actually I don't know what you did, it must have been Humanities.
Does that make you a Humanitarian?

[General] Hey There Maths Chummmmmmmmm ... p.

Seeing as how maths is all the rage on the Hammer nowadays, I thought I'd better ditch my Humanities degree and join the cool kids.

To that end here's an interesting article on the lure of maths.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

[General] Mathletes

Who would have believed that of all the subjects that I have talked about in my blog that MATHS would be the most inflammatory topic? Who? You? Yeah right.

I am, as Mike points out below, a pure mathematician. I am not against applied maths as that is what you should do with maths eventually. Apply it. I mean mucking around with primes is fun (“fun” is being used relatively here), but you also do cool cryptographical stuff with them.

But let’s see what my visitors have written (as per my policy of “you write a good comment, I’ll post it up”).

ben.run said...
The best kind of math has no practical application at all. Oh I loved the pure algebra's. None of this calculus crap for me :-)

Good on you Ben! I did enjoy the odd piece of integral calculus cake now and then. But nothing beats those pesky little letters.
mike said...
Sorry to bust in on you pure mathematicians, but I have to have my 2c as an engineer! I was going to come out swinging and lay into you pureheads, but I have to agree with all you're saying. Often you just have to accept things for what they are - e.g. it's better to bend your mind to accept imaginary numbers than try to bend
imaginary numbers to your mind.

Having said that, as an engineer, we need real-world examples, as that's what engineers do. I guess, then, the use of the mathematics defines how it should be presented. If the use is for a real-world application, then a real-world example should be used. If it's not for a real-world application, or is a fundamental concept, then real-world applications or analogies should probably be left out, as they may confuse the issue later. As for imaginary numbers, unfortunately, engineers have to use them quite a lot (and we use j instead of i, because, as we all know, i is the symbol
for instantaneous current). It's definitely more a tool than a reflection of
reality though - I mean, what the hell is imaginary power??

Hmmmm...an application of two negatives making a positive is tough. Well, I guess there is the old AC current x AC voltage = Power. If current and voltage are in phase, even though they change in time from positive to negative the power is always positive (except for when the current and voltage are 0, when the power is also 0). When current and voltage are out of phase it gets a bit more complicated (and is one situation where i, er j, is necessary)! This is a pretty weak analogy, because the voltage/current isn't really going negative, it's just changing direction.
Ahhh, I had forgotten the old i versus j deal for engineers. And I would have to agree with our next commentator that the electricity example is liable to confuse kids more than help them (don’t worry though I will disagree with him too).

With most of these kinds of things there are a lot of “depends”. For example Ben and I obviously prefer mucking around with hypothetical mathematics that has no tangible reality attached to them, like number theory. Others, who are so inclined either by profession of just how they think, prefer to have a realistic, tactile base for their thinking. Neither way is better or worse. I had a physics professor who once claimed that Americans were better experimentalists and Russians better mathematicians because the Americans had heaps of money to spend on experiments and the poorer Russians had to do everything in their heads. [If you are Russian and take offence, I apologise, I think it was just an example].

And now onto our last commentator; the one who made me a real blogger. He (or she) was anonymous and said that I sucked. My first flaming! I have now entered that hallowed hall of Blogdom.
Anonymous said...
You guys suck you really do (I'm pretending I'm on talk back radio, and flaming when a well reasoned argument would do).
Firstly: i is not a pure as the driven snow kind of concept. We only use it cause it's
applicable. Do students love learning about i? No, cause i sucks. The graph for square roots has NO solutions in the negative area, ergo no i plural.
As for real world examples of things Surely we only talk about voltage cause we've
never seen these electrons (or fundamental particles). So the maths tells us what voltage is. And we are going to use this maths (which is not represented by a thing we can ever have a meaningful relationship with) to represent the negative times negative problem? Sounds fishy. Step back (I do this for a living):
If your friend takes 4 strawberries (something you can have a meaningful relationship with), then you can say you have lost 4 strawberries. Hence, negative 4 strawberries. Well, if you then find out the person was going to steal 4 strawberries off you twice, but never did, you'll be eight strawberries better off. Eight positive strawberries. Actually, bank accounts are better for illustrating this kind of thing.
The first thing I would like to say is: You represent negative numbers in an easy manner for a living? You can make a living from that? Like an actual living or do you just sit around the house and create real world examples with your friends?

And now to continue: Yep, there is no such thing as i. It’s called an imaginary number for a reason. My point was that it is hard to teach kids about a concept that really doesn’t exist, as you said. It does have a use though (not when it was first thought of mind you). In fact a lot of uses outside of engineering (although I can’t remember one off the top of my head, it was in a class called Complex Analysis, the title didn’t lie [heehee] and so I’m a little shady on the details).

Infinitesimals were cool too. They really don’t exist either along with numbers larger than infinity like “Aleph-0” and “Aleph-1” (insert symbol didn’t work with blogger). But you can use both as tools to make valid proofs of otherwise very hard theorems.

Now your example. It takes quite a large logical step, which might go over many kids’ heads (although I never mentioned kids in the question). I think you’ve actually just gone 2x4, but claimed it was negative at the start. Though to be honest this seems like the type of thing most economies are run on (“there was no stock collapse so you doubled your money). What you have said, and please correct me if I’m wrong I’m just blogging out loud here, is that he was going to steal from you twice but didn’t. You say that is -2 lots of stealing? [In order to get (-2)x(-4)] Isn’t it actually 0 lots of stealing?


Anonymous (can I call you Nonny?) maybe you were right; this makes more sense in terms of money. I’m thinking gambling debts.

Anyway if you’ve got something good send it in.


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

[General] Morning Ramble

Good morning, it’s thiry four minutes past eleven and I’m onto the second coffee. This means I have only just woken up.

Last night was the world premiere of Blind Man’s Bluff: The Musical, which was the film we entered into the 48hours film competition. It went as well as we could have hoped. People laughed at the right bits and the story was easily understood (unlike some of the other films). We hope that our strong story will make up for the missing music etc. There were a few good films that were ineligible for any prizes as they were handed in late.

There are seven heats, 57 valid entries and only twelve finalists for Wellington. So we might have a chance. Of course none of this was done for the glory of winning but rather the satisfaction of a job well done.

Our lighting man and documentarian Paul Campion (here and here) has put together a making of that I am dying to see. Apparently there is a scene of Mike and me writing which involves us staring into space for 15 seconds, not moving at all. It's a fair and accurate depiction.

Speaking of Mike, go and check out his website because he has updated his blog to include a cast and crew list with weblinks to everyone’s sites.

I’m a little worried about the search terms people are entering which find this site. Here is a quick list of some of them:

Finally for this post (it feels like a multiple post day today), scientists in Israel believe they have discovered the part of the brain that deals with sarcasm. How great is that!? Wow, that is the best discovery ever!

In other weird news items (yeah, I know I said the last one was “finally”, sue me): examiners in the States have run into a problem with one of their maths questions. In an effort to make maths “real” for kids the examiners used a sports example for a question.

The question used an American football team and asked how what their average yardage was over the first six plays if: on the first play they lost six yards; on the second play the made three yards; on the third play they lost two yards; on the fourth play they made seven yards; on the fifth and sixth they made twelve and four yards respectively.

The answer they were looking for was: three yards. However, as all the football fans would have picked up instantly, after the first three plays the team faced 4th down and 15yards and only made seven yards which results in a turnover. So the fifth and sixth plays wouldn’t have happened. The examiners stated that the question was thoroughly checked for mathematical accuracy but not once for sports reality, and fair enough.

"It has nothing to do with football," Mildred Bazemore, chief of the state Department of Public Instruction's test development section [sic] said. "It has to do with the mathematical concepts that you're studying."

Too bloody right Mildred!

This is an annoying issue with the current system of the world. Long gone are the days when maths was fun because it offered a challenge to the brain, in the last 100 years we have had to make maths (and science in general) relevant to the world around us. There was an article on Campbell: Live about it last week, if you saw it you know what I mean (I actually missed it myself).

I remember when I was doing Sixth Form physics and our teacher had to come up a question about motion and inertia etc. He had to write it as a real world question but he couldn’t think of a real world situation where this type of thing would happen (i.e. no friction etc). So he said: “Mary is having a dream, in the dream…”

We all had a good laugh and then answered the question.

I understand the need to teach kids how to use “applied mathematics”, but it gets annoying when you always have to come up with a real world example for every topic. Imaginary numbers (see also: complex numbers) are always a favourite. To start with they are imaginary, they are purely theoretical, you can’t have 1+7i apples, a car does not cost $(500+82i). Try explaining to secondary students that you use imaginary numbers for electrical engineering or that e^(i*Pi)+1=0 and they’ll just give you a blank stare.

That’s as close to a rant as I’m gonna get today. There will probably be another post today, check back for it. In the meantime ponder this (sorry JC): what is a good real world example to show how a negative number multiplied by a negative number gives a positive number?

Friday, May 20, 2005

There were four posts today:

  1. The first was about Super 12 rugby
  2. The second was about some very interesting articles on the internet
  3. The third was my first game review, an ad for Jose and look at another review of the REM concert.
  4. The fourth was the replies to my poetry blog of the other day, you can scroll down to find it below.
  5. [Technically this is the fifth blog today]

Have a great weekend!


[General] Iambic Pentameter This!

On Wednesday I posted An Ode to Idiots, a poem about people who had done me wrong. I asked for some contributions to the ending (the ending of Mark and Matt that is) and here they are.

I don't know about the other "poets" but I found this exercise to be very cathartic and good for the soul. I would recommend "revenge poetry" to anyone.

[NOTE: These poems are about Mark and Matthew but are not real nor do we wish them to be, we are just having a bit of fun at some TV celebs that we hate. A few of these are gross, but not THAT gross.]

From Mike:


Matthew and Mark
For a bit of a lark
Wanted to render themselves into bits

In their very small brains
Where stupidity reigns
Their idea fitted their sub-ordinary wits

"'Twould be most fun"
Was the tale they spun
"To blast ourselves into smithereens"

What they failed to spot
As the blast grew quite hot
Was Matthew's nose rushing on past Mark's spleen

As the bits so small
On the ground they did fall
A bystander's remarks sent all into fits

"How they got quite so rich
Is definitely the bitch
As they really were such enormous gits!"
Also from Mike:

M and M - A Poem

M and M are a couple of self-styled likely lads
Who are really as funny as a knee to your nads

They like to make fun of the distressed or disabled
In fact, anyone who's different or otherwise labelled

How they keep themselves in the media glare
Is a mystery to me and others of mind fair

Were it not for the fact that they used to play rugger
No one in this great land would give them a bugger

So it is with great glee that this poem has a chance
To put things right, to skewer them with a lance

When it comes to deciding your programme of choice
Give the two Ms a berth and hark another's voice

Better yet, go read a book.
From José:
[WARNING: This poem gets very, very blue near the end. How bad is it? Think Team America, and then think, "Wow Team America was really crass, what could be jaw-droppingly worse than that?" Yep, this poem gets very blue; so the editing team at the Hammer have decided that if you really want to read the dirty version you will have to click on the comments tab at the bottom of the post. The below version is rated PG]

Ode to Marc Ellis

Oh dearest Marc I do not watch your show,
And I think I never will.

I've see you flogging orange juice
And you're a very bitter pill.

You seem to think that rapists sweat
And that fart gags are cute.

So here is what I'm gonna do to you
And Matthew, your bimbo root.

[Edited section]

Marc, I don't hate you or your mate
I know you need to make a living.

But why don't you f*ck off to Aussie
Where all the other muntards are chilling.
From Hadyn:
[WARNING: this also gets a little nasty nearish the end, but not as bad as above]


I had forgotten, until José said,
About the “rapist” quote.
Mark Ellis, I would make you concrete shoes,
So that you would not float.

As you sleep with the fishes,
I would hope you’d realise,
That being misogynistic,
Is something women despise.

We’ll throw you in the Tasman,
Maybe you'll wash up on the other side,
Where you can be as racist as you want,
That’s if you haven’t died.

Matthew Ridge where are you going,
Don’t think that we’ve forgotten,
About you building all those houses,
With no money and timber that was rotten.

Let’s take you to your Car-fé
And water blast you down,
Tie you to a V8 super car,
And let it drag you out of town.

And that was the last we ever heard,
Of Matthew and of Mark,
But sometimes their ghostly cries,
Can be heard late and after dark.

“Please forgive us, one and all,
We did some terrible things,
Mark made fun of breast cancer research,
And Matthew put Nicky Watson on magazines.”

“But we do not deserve this,
We were just so un-PC,
They loved us on talk-back radio,
And we had a few shows on TV”

“I was on Treasure Island”,
A ghostly Matthew does remember,
His eyes are full of boiling puss,
His corpse partially dismembered.

“And we got some laughs”, Mark reminds us,
“On Game of Two Halves”,
His body pierced with rusty needles,
And bloody gashes on his calves”

“Somebody must’ve liked us” they shout,
“Somebody out there”,
But there are no replies to ghosts,
Just a stillness of the air.

And so the ghouls go back to hell,
And leave the Earth in peace,
But this is just a fantasy,
They’re back again next week.

So please if you’re a viewer,
(Or at TVNZ),
Please follow Mike’s advice (above),
And read a book instead.

[General] Games and Jose's Pants

[[Here for the ‘funny’ Poetry? Click here]]

My third post of the day (I’m bored at work why should you be, right?) is going to be my first attempt at a game review.

But before I get into that, I have been surfing through varsity.co.nz. There’s no link to the main site which is just a NZ dumping ground for email humour and random posts/reviews (much like this site but with more bandwidth and you have to sign up). The jewel in their crown is the work of, good friend, José (also known as Fishmeal). His cartoons are called Fountain Funnies and are spread out over this page (you have to start at the bottom); don’t bother reading anything else, you won’t laugh, trust me. His ranty blog thing, which is alluded to below, is called Rants Pants (again there is no single place to read them all, you have to search). How’s that for a plug José?

But while trying to find José’s angry, angry blog I came across this, which contrasts heavily to this. The first is written by a fan of Brighteyes, and the second is written by me. The first guy paid $80 bucks to go to the concert. This means he sat up the back, I forked out much more and got to stand up the front. He has a photo (I’m not sure if it is his photo or not but if it is he must have had a great zoom lens) and I lacked the will power to take my camera in (godammit!). He seems to have been standing in a weird part of the crowd where people liked Brighteyes’ music. Where I was standing, people were trying to start conversations because the music was so bad. He also claims that he is not a REM fan, but knows the songs off their new album. I am a fan and I have steered clear of the new album.

Let’s just say we differed in our opinion, and that Brighteyes suck. And with that, I leave Varsity.co.nz forever.

Right, on to the game: EA Sports Rugby 2005 (Xbox).

First read this review by Gamespot.com who are from America and don’t see rugby all the time.

When you start you have to play through a tutorial session to guide you through the basic controls of offense and defense. In the New Zealand version you are tutored by commentator Murray Mexted (I assume in other countries it is someone else). This is cool and I was happy to run through stuff.

What the game fails to mention is that you have to manually save your profile after you do this or the next time it loads you will have to do it again. Not to mention the fact that you will have lost all of your game progress. As far as I’m concerned manually saving your profile went out with the 90s.

So, onto the game itself. Controlling your player on offense is easy enough. You use the right thumbstick to control sidesteps, fends and shoulder charges (which can be annoying because it depends on which way your player is facing). On defense it’s the same, moving is easy, tackling is easy. The problem in defense is that when you change player it doesn’t always select the best person. You get what I call “Madden Syndrome”, where the player you actually select does something really dumb because you didn’t realise you had selected them.

The animation is good, the tackles look really painful and you can tell which players have been in the thick of it by the grass stain on their uniforms. You cannot pass in the tackle however which is so annoying when you’re on a burst. This happened to me a lot because the view is such that you cannot see very far in front of you. The view is side on (which it needs to be for a game like rugby) and so opponents will come out of no where (off screen) to tackle you.

Defense is a shambles. Not only does the computer poorly select players for you but when you tackle someone you default to someone who is usually offside. Rucks are very difficult to understand in real life and are beautifully recreated here in the game, where they are even more complicated and impossible to understand. You will randomly (it seems) be awarded the ball. I tried using the in game “cheats” (using hands etc) but I always got pinged by the ref.

The place kicking takes a little time to get used to but you get it eventually. In-game kicking for touch is much harder. When you do kick you can’t see where the touch line is (problems with the view again). (I had an interesting experience with kicking last night, I was near the line and pressed “A” which is dive for the line, but “A” is also kick (when in the major field of play). My Richie McCaw avatar kicked the ball, which bounced off the crossbar of the goalpost and straight back into his hands for the try.)

I have a ‘beef’ with the menu as well, which is too slow (press down, wait, press down, wait) and doesn’t offer enough options. The music could’ve done with a bit of local kiwi flavour (The Datsuns, the D4, even Savage, who is constantly pimping himself out) but the whole thing was made in the UK apparently. The sounds are good, each local crowd has its own unique chanting style, the ref is always chattering (which helps a little with the gameplay) and the tackles have a good solid sound to them. But the commentary…my God it’s bad. Murray Mexted is so bad that it becomes frighteningly lifelike. He hardly ever speaks and when he does it never makes sense.

Out of ten I give it a six (could try harder). Of course this is my first review so the rating means nothing. I have yet to play it against a real human so it might get better (but I doubt it).

Later today I will post all of the poetry responses I got to the “Mark and Matthew go to hell competition”.

[General] Selective breeding still produced GW Bush

[[Here for the ‘funny’ Poetry? Click here]]

Did you hear about that Newsweek thing going on in the States at the moment? This post from my favourite monkey (the Kung-fu Monkey) has a clear description that puts it all into focus. There is also a number of swear words.

For a “lighter” story, try this one about the American eugenics program of the 1920’s to 1970’s. “From the early 1900s to the 1970s, some 65,000 men and women were sterilized in [the US], many without their knowledge, as part of a government eugenics program to keep so-called undesirables from reproducing”.

Waikato ethicist and Brother-in-law Scott responded to my inquiry about whether the article could be true:

Unfortunately the article is probably true (if it isn't true, it's so damn close as to not matter). In Medical ethics, we covered eugenics (the belief that medical problems can/should be solved using selective breeding) briefly. It was commonly considered a good idea in most of Europe (including the UK) and the US. The US held several conferences on it before the Second World War, and prided itself on implementing programs well before Hitler was in power. After the war, propaganda used against Hitler meant that the public associated eugenics with Nazism (a reasonable association), and the public were simply not told it was continuing. I have a funny feeling doctors might still believe this stuff (eugenics is to doctors what the rational free market is to economists). In Nazi Germany, the rate of euthanasia of those people considered unfit to live (intellectually/physically disabled) was (so I've read) dependent only on doctor's moral choices, rather than any kind of incentive or censure. Apparently doctors were killing people outside the criteria because they wanted to. The American problem seems to just be a more "acceptable" continuation of that. Here is another source to cross reference.

I’m not angling for controversy here at the Hammer, but it seems like if you surf the net you just bump into it.

Ps. José got hate mail the other day at his other post, and I am so jealous.
Pps. I accidentaly called Scott a sociologist and he gave a more accurate weblink for eugenics as well.

[Sport] Super 12 final

[[Here for the ‘funny’ Poetry? Click here]]

The Super 12 final between the Crusaders and the Waratahs at Jade Stadium is shaping up to be a good battle. The Crusaders have the better chance at it though because at their heart the Waratahs know they don’t belong in the finals.

This is the failing of many teams. This is why the Chiefs crashed out of last years semis. (Personally I do not like “historical statistics” because the group you are looking at has usually changed. There’s always a first time. Here’s a good one, until their last match the New Zealand Māori had never lost to Australia; does anyone give a shit about that statistic anymore?)

Yeah ok, I know the semis haven’t been played yet, but writing that first paragraph now saves me having to write it later. Both the Bulls and the Hurricanes have played well this season, but neither of them is going to the final (though I would love to see both of them through).

To beat the Crusaders the Hurricanes have to be exceptionally disciplined, play at their utmost ability and in the first minute Jerry Collins has to “accidentally” shoulder-charge Richie McCaw (right in the forehead). Then get one of your big forwards to crash in over the top of Aaron Mauger (pronounced “Major” for some ridiculous reason). Don’t try it to Dan Carter cause it doesn’t seem to work on him. Then lastly get Justin Marshal as angry as you can, and if you could hurt Caleb Ralph in some way that would be good too. Why? because the way to beat the Crusaders is to disrupt their team play. Marshal (as can be seen in many All Black games) plays like a chump when he’s angry (or when he’s not playing with others that make him look good). Mauger is the type of player to go a bit "nuts-o" as well. McCaw has a concussion. And I just do not like Caleb #$%%@# Ralph.

Follow this game plan and victory is all but assured.

Remember how recently there was talk about Rico Gear. It followed this line: “How could Rico Gear go to Nelson just to play for the Crusaders, how despicable of him!” Now all the talk about Gear is: “He’ll be in the All Black squad ahead of an incumbent”. So what happened was, a player of talent moved into from a province where he would not be allowed to start (if play at all), to one where he would be assured a start and now he is up for national selection (he will definitely make it into the NZ Māori). I love that idea. I just hope that he will honour his contract with Nelson Bays and not run out on them as well.

Final score: Crusaders 42, Hurricanes 23

Ps. I realised last night that I have the perfect example of why the bonus point system is f*cked.
Two teams play a long hard game which ends in a 20-20 draw. One team scores two converted tries and gets two penalties; the other team gets four unconverted tries. So the first team gets two (2) competition points and the other team gets three (3). It’s still a draw but one team gets more points than the other. Perfect.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

[General] An Ode to Idiots

What are blogs for?
They are for:

  • Longwinded and often poetic diaries of (usually ordinary) peoples lives
  • Political and media commentary
  • Humour
  • Ranting and venting ones spleen.

It is this last genre of blog that I am about to write today (but as a poem).

In a similar vein to the Lists of Fury written previously, I bring you: What the hell are people thinking! – An ode to idiots.

Hurry home, hurry home, I urged my car,
The Quiz has now ended, and we have to go far.

The quiz is in Thorndon and we live in Melrose,
Over the hill and down long windy roads.

Where drivers do not slow down for corners like these
In fact just this morning I was nearly hit by a Mercedes.

He saw me, but still cut the corner
I slammed on my brakes and laid on the horn(er)
[sorry for the crap rhyme]

He drove off regardless and I thought to myself
“This better be the worst of it or else…”

That morning you see, I had just been to the vet
To take in my cat again who fights our neighbours pet.

But, back to my mad dash from the quiz we had lost,
I rush home from these things no matter the cost.

For on Tuesday at 10 is a wonderful show,
Full of light and humour and brows that are low.

With Jeremy Wells delivering the punch,
I admit I’m a sucker for Eating Media Lunch.

So I turned on the telly and waited for EML heaven,
And I sat through the end of Police Ten-7.

But during the ads (amidst the promotion and sex)
Was a message “Matthew&MarksRockyRoadToTheLandOfTheRisingSun coming up next.”

What did this mean? Where was my Jeremy?
Instead the worst show in the world lay ahead of me.

Two ex-league dickheads, in a Japanese farce,
Trying to be Jack@ss but just being arse.

Thinly-veiled ethnic humour, Howard Morrison-style,
I sat there aghast and up rushed the bile.

With EML gone and the wound all open,
TV2 had come along and rubbed the salt in.

How could they do this? Remove EML?
You hear me TV2 producers? You will burn in Hell!

And then today at work, after I had done all my chores,
I surfed the net to read about Star Wars.

I wanted to know if the hype was all true,
And so I started looking on Google for a review.

Google sent me to one that began well enough,
But then the reviewer began to get rough.

He wasn’t a fan and had never been,
The recent Star Wars were the worst movies he'd seen.

Then to prove that he was better than I,
He proceeded to divulge the whole storyline.

With no spoiler alert, which is often the norm,
He began to describe how Luke and Leia are born.

So movie critic when you get down in Hades,
Say hello to the TV producers and the guy in the Mercedes

For Matthew and Mark, a new kind of torture must be devised,
For those two munters I heartily despise…

And so starts a new competition. Please send me your poem (or leave it as a comment) of Matthew and Mark being tortured. Please circulate this post to your friends so we can get a lot of poetry going on.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

[Sport] Super 16 and Beyond!

O.k. Here is my plan for a Super 16, SANZAR are you listening? Good, because this is what you should have done.

1. Four expansion teams.
One team from Japan, one combined team from the Pacific Islands and one from Australia. The fourth team can either come from South America or Japan.

Considering that this year the three Australian teams won (on average) 5.66 games each, the four South African teams 3.25 games each while the five New Zealand teams won 6.8 games each. Do the Aussie and SA unions think that spreading the talent further will help or hinder their teams’ chances?

So why have I said to include a team from Australia. Australia is a huge television market and this still about making money. This is the reason the Japan is such a good idea they are mad about sport over there (this is the same reason they should get the Rugby World Cup, but that’s by-the-by).

It is 11,550kms between Capetown and Auckland. It is 10,337kms between Auckland and Buenos Aires and only 8,837kms between Auckland and Tokyo. So travelling time is not an argument.

2. Get rid of the dumb bonus points.
Order the standings by winning percentage (i.e. number of wins divided by number of games played). Settle tiebreaks on the table by looking at who beat who during the regular season or if this doesn’t work (see below) look at points-differential. If it is still a deadlock, look at number of tries scored and then number of penalties conceded.

3. Remove the Round Robin tournament
Currently the Super 12 runs for a 12 week regular season and a two week post season, this probable long enough. 14 weeks is almost four months. The NFL has 32 teams and runs for a 17 week regular season and a five week post season.

The Super 16 will only have half as many teams as the NFL. There is no reason to split the teams into divisions or conferences or have an endless season like other sports do. Each team can play 11 others in the regular season with one bye-week (goodness knows why they need one, but…). The four teams that a team doesn’t play will be determined by their placing in the season previously.

For example if Team A does really well in one season, then next season the teams it doesn’t play will be the lower ranked ones. Conversely if Team B does poorly then it will not play higher ranked teams in the next season. So basically if you have a great season, expect a harder draw next year and vice versa.

A shorter season has two effects: it will have less of an impact on the local provincial tournaments (like the NPC and the Curry Cup); and it allows for the easy addition of extra teams in the future.

4. Change the post-season.
Currently 4 of the 12 (or 1/3) teams make through to the post-season. So there’s two ways you could go with the Super 16 post-season.

You could keep it a simple top four teams go to the semi-finals. First plays Fourth, Second play Third; the winners go to the final. The higher ranked team always has home advantage. This makes for a 14 week season.

Or you could make it slightly more complicated. (NOTE: there is no such thing as “slightly more complicated”, if it more complicated then it is always “a lot more complicated”.)

You could have six teams make the finals. The top two have a bye week. In the first round: third plays sixth, fourth plays fifth. Of the winners the lower ranked team plays first and the other team plays second. The winners go through to the final. The higher ranked team always has home advantage. This makes for a 15 week season.

I have no preference other than the fact that the second option would have a higher TV audience.

5. Allow greater player movement but stop big team salaries
Each team is allowed to contract ANY other player from the extended pool. This means that the Highlanders could field a team of Aussies if they wanted (I imagine that they wouldn’t but they could). However there will be no “Dream Teams” assembled because a salary cap will be enforced.

Just like the NFL the cap will be enforced year round, no team is allowed to compete if they are over the cap (and any points they get will be deducted if they get them while over the cap). I’m not going to go into the economics of it but there will be clear system that includes player bonuses etc.

There will also be an allowance for players from outside the extended pool. Each team will be allowed two players on their roster who come from non-Super 16 countries.

Despite all of this, each franchise is connected to “feeder provinces”, like teams currently are. The franchises are responsible for providing funding to these provinces for development purposes.

6. The Draft
After a particular date (say 6 months before the start of the season) any player who is not under contract to a franchise can enter the player draft. There are some rules about contracting before this. New players (who have never been under a franchise contract) are allowed only into the draft and can not be contracted before the draft process. This means that some players from provinces will not go to the franchise that they feed. This shouldn’t discourage teams from developing players because the provinces won’t let it and quite frankly the franchises will get something out of it.

The draft will be ten rounds long with each franchise getting one pick. Your pick is dependent on your position in the standings of the previous season. Draft picks can be traded for players who are under contract or other draft picks or future draft picks or drafted players (i.e. Team A can trade a contracted player and it’s low second round pick for Team B’s high first round pick etc). It is up to the teams to decide whether these trades are fair or not.

The franchises do not have to sign the players that they draft. They are just given the chance to before anyone else. This is another way that teams who are not doing so well can boost their chances.

7. SANZAR gets a shake-up
First things first SANZAR gets a website. On that website are up-to-date statistics and results. There will be detailed reports on players’ health and pitch conditions. In New Zealand you can gamble on games, by not giving the public this information they are may as well just roll a dice.

Also on the website will be a clear and easy to navigate rulebook. Currently a Google search of rugby union rules gives one such reference tool, have a look.

This rulebook will come in handy when the SANZAR judiciary board convenes. This board will be used to give punishments on infringements made by players and teams. Currently the system is not consistent with its rulings. The board will be made of six (seven if there is a South American team) members one from each of the participating nations (NZ, Australia, South Africa, Japan) and a member from the Pacific Islands (and one from South America if needed).

Rupert Murdoch needs to be cut out of any ownership. Newscorp already lists the NRL as an “asset”, I am sure that nobody wants him owning any part of New Zealand rugby. Nor should SANZAR listen to Newscorp when redesigning their set-up. Basically in this part of the world rugby sells itself. Let Newscorp (as Sky TV) bid with the rest and make sh*tloads of money off it.

But then go further: add stipulations. Any successful television rights bidder will have to allow for the screening of at least one live and free-to-air match every week featuring a national team in each country. This means every week in New Zealand there will be a free-to-air match featuring a New Zealand team, every week in Japan there will be a free-to-air match featuring a Japanese team etc.

Do I think sales of Sky TV will go down? No. [Note Sky doesn’t care as much about rating because they don’t sell as much advertising]. Do I think that Sky will refuse to bid? No, they would have to be brain dead (um…I mean more brain dead). Do I think that Sky’s bid will be lower? Maybe initially but other stations will ramp up the prices if Sky drops theirs, so it should be good. Also it will increase viewership of the sport, which is what SANZAR mainly want (hahahahaha, ok so they mainly want the money but viewership is also important).

8. Share the wealth
The total takings from ticket sales, TV rights will be dolled out to each franchise equally. Teams can keep their own merchandise takings and sales from corporate boxes and season passes. This is yet another way of trying to create an equal playing field so that anyone can win.

OK, why do I want any team to be able to win? Because a competition where you know that one of two (or possibly three) teams are going to win is dull. Every season the same teams make the semis, every season the same teams come in last; a South African team has yet to win the Super 12.

This the tenth (and last) year of the Super 12 and in those ten years only three teams have ever won the competition (Crusaders(4), Blues(3) and Brumbies(2)).

Those ten years also saw:

  • Three different winners of the FA Premier League (Man U(6), Arsenal(3), Chelsea(1));
  • Five different winners of the NBA (Chicago(3), LA (3), San Antonio (2), Houston(1) Detroit(1));
  • But 7 different winners of the NFL’s Superbowl (and this includes the Patriots’ three wins). A few, like Baltimore and Tampa Bay, win and then suck the next season; but at least they won once! You see fans like it when their teams win. They should not have to get excited every year about not getting relegated.

People will get angry at these suggested changes. These people are fans of the big teams who always win and fans of teams that make the most money (fans of smaller teams will never complain about this). But if sport isn’t fair and even, then what’s the point? If you three teams always win then you three teams go and play by yourself and the other 9 teams will have their own competition, otherwise it is a waste of my time.

So that’s how it should go down. You hear me SANZAR?! If you ruin rugby, so help me God, I’mm gonna geet yooouu!


Monday, May 16, 2005

Alright, it’s 2.12pm, five coffees, a chicken korma and a bottle of V (there is another bottle of V and a Moro bar waiting as well). I think I can continue with some posting about rugby. (Have a scroll down to see my earlier post about the weekend’s activities too).

In terms of predictions, I obviously didn’t get things as correct as I did last week.

Crusaders V Hurricanes
Crusaders by more than 12. It pains me to say it but that’s how the stats stack it up.
ACTUAL RESULT: Crusaders 40, Hurricanes 20

Waratahs V Blues
The Blues can still (in theory) make the semis. But they won’t, Waratahs by 12+.
ACTUAL RESULT: Waratahs 25, Blues 20

Chiefs V Highlanders
The Chiefs are on a role and the Highlanders are not, having said that, I pick the Highlanders by less than 12. Crazy prediction of the week: both teams will come away with 4-try bonus points.
ACTUAL RESULT: Chiefs 31, Highlanders 8 (Crazy prediction was half right, which doesn’t count)

Reds V Brumbies
If the Brumbies win and get two bonus points in the process (which is impossible) they still have no hope in hell of reaching the semis Hahahahahahahaaaaa. Brumbies by 12+ (not that it will matter! Hahahahahaha). NOTE: This has been revised (with much less laughter) above.
ACTUAL RESULT:Brumbies 38, Reds 21

Bulls V Stormers
The Bulls will be keen as beans to win this one with maximum points. Given that I have predicted the Hurricanes losing, the Bulls can leapfrog them on the table with a win. The Bulls have scored more points and the Stormers have given up more. So I will say the Bulls by less than 12.
ACTUAL RESULT: Bulls 75, Stormers 14 I smell a rat here.

Cats V Sharks
The fight for the Wooden Spoon. I give victory to the Cats, considering the Sharks -179 points-differential. Wooden Spoon goes to the Sharks.
ACTUAL RESULT: 20 all draw

So who is in the finals?

The Waratahs have a big sigh of relief as they play the Bulls (they lost to both the Hurricanes and the Crusaders). The ‘Canes have to stay in Christchurch to play the Crusaders again.

Wait a minute (I hear you ask) how did the Bulls get ahead of the Hurricanes on the points table? Well (I explain) they have the same competition points and the Bulls beat the Hurricanes 21-12 in week four (the Bulls also have a better points-diff). But (you continue) the Hurricanes have won seven games? Silly, silly, silly (I reply) haven’t you learned yet? The super 12 isn’t about winning games, it’s about scoring tries. You can lose a game by six points and still come away with the same amount of points that you would with a draw.

This year (and maybe this has happened before, but I wasn’t taking any notice) the Super 12 has become a farce! The Super 12 is in a crisis but I have seen no one talking about it anywhere!

Of the top six teams four make it through to the finals. The other two teams in the top six this year have LOSING RECORDS. I don’t write things in capital letters for nothing. The Brumbies and Chiefs hold the 5th and 6th spots respectively. They both have five wins and six loses. In the 7th and 8th spots are the Blues and Highlanders who each have six wins (the Highlanders also have a draw under their belt).

Both of these teams should demand that the rules of the Super 12 change. Considering that we are going to the (already ludicrous) Super 14 next year I think this would be the best time to do it.

Ok. The next post will be what SANZAR should have done. Until then read this little article about EA Sports Rugby 2005. I bought this game second-hand the other day for $50. It is slow, hard to see what you are doing and you are constantly off-side (why the game doesn’t default you to the ruck after a tackle I’ll never know).

[General] A Post Fuelled By Caffiene

Well its 10.35am on Monday morning, I’m on coffee number four and I am just starting to feel the real “come down” effect of a 48hour film competition. As I combat sleep here at my desk, let me tell you how it went.

Also have a gander at Mike’s post on the whole shindig (“shin dig” being an entirely accurate description of events).

The deal with the contest is that you have from 7pm Friday to 7pm Sunday to write, film, edit and hand in a completed film of 4-7minutes in length. Remember that 4mins is about the length of a music video and you have a good idea of the time and effort involved.

Mike asked me a few days beforehand if I would like to write. I was all like “Shit yeah!” If he asks me next year I’m gonna be all like “Hell no!” (Who am I kidding it’ll be “Shit yeah”; it’s the same reason I’m planning on a new tattoo, I’ve forgotten how much the first one hurt).

Friday we assembled. The team consisted of writers (Mike and I), director (Darryl), parts and technical crew for the forest moon (Paul, George and James), musician (also called James) and a host of other crew and actors (Sarah, Sarah, Liv, Siobhan, Amy, Andy, Scott, Marcus and Errol). [If I missed anyone please send angry emails]. Our grand leader Jed was at the Paramount to get our genre and the elements needed to be put in.

You see, each team gets a random genre of their own; in addition there is a random draw of elements that need to be included in every film. The three elements were:

  1. a banana
  2. a line of dialogue, “Please don’t do that”
  3. a character called Bodil de Rezney who is an animal lover.

Our specific genre was musical.
I'm sorry that should read: Our %#$%ing specific genre was &$$@ing MUSICAL!!!

As writers Mike and I whimpered, just a little, when Jed’s voice, tinny through the speaker phone, said “it’s a musical”. The team launched into action. We brainstormed for roughly one hour before Mike and I were left to our own devices. This meant long periods of staring into space.

Finally the story began to take shape. We decided on the classic operatic storyline of the love triangle that forms between a man, his wife and his best friend. For our film the best friend would be played by Pablo the golden retriever. I imagine that the film will be up for public screening sometime in the near future so you can see all the sordid details then.

I feel that I should note that first thing Monday morning my brain gave me about twelve or so, easy to film, easy to write, easy to edit ideas for musical films. Goddamn stupid brain! I’mmm gonnna geeet yoooouuu!!!

By 2am Saturday morning, Mike and I had forged a solid musical that we felt was the complete package. We had even crafted spectacular songs with the most hilarious lyrics known to man; at least that’s how they seemed at 2am Saturday. (Mike credits me more than he should in his post, which means I was successful in my ruse of looking like I was creative).

Saturday day was mainly spent at Mike’s house filming. This meant for most of the day Mike and I were hunched over his laptop making rewrites as scenes were cut and recut to make filming easier.

All the while poor James (the musician) had to create music around lyrics like “My speciality is Species-ality / I’ve been seeing your Seeing Eye dog”. He was really looking forward to one scene where Mike and I had a calypso-style song, we had to ring and tell him that it was cut.

The actors did wonders with the songs by the way. It’s pretty hard to sing lines like “Is that dog wearing a bra?” I realise now (stupid brain, where were you on the weekend) that we needed a conductor to keep the tempo of the songs for the actors.

For the last few scenes Mike and I just lazes in the background giggling at the songs and outtakes. At one point I noticed that Paul (who was doing the behind the scenes filming) had his camera on us. I played up and gave Mike a shove, little realising that behind him was a chair. So we kept Mike from tumbling through the window, but I have a feeling he’ll get me back.

I wasn’t needed on Sunday because it was editing day. So I fucked off to the Food and Drink expo at the Stadium and gorged myself on free food and alcohol while everyone else put themselves in the pressure cooker sweatbox that was the editing “suite”. Despite this day off, I was still screwed, because I never got to sit down.

The screening was at Jed’s last night at about 7.30pm. Roughly 37minutes after the film had been handed over to the officials. Yep, Mike and Scott raced through the Wellington city streets and got the tape in seven minutes before the deadline. Seven minutes! That’s practically a lifetime!

Still the universe never lets you get away with out a little drama. At 25 minutes before the deadline, the editing team finished and went to print the film to video (from the computer). The computer told the editing team: “Error: Cannot print to video”. Needless to say that there was a coordinated reaction from the editing team. Jed calmly pressed “cancel” and tried again. That you God/Allah/Buddha/Shiva for letting the second attempt work, we will sacrifice many sheep and oxen in your honour.

Well it’s 11.42am Monday and five cups of coffee now. The first thing I had to do today was meticulously proof the document I have been working on for the past two weeks before it will be printed and distributed to the public (I will tell all of you when it is published because it is so damn cool). It took a whole lot of coffee but it’s done now.

Will I be in next year’s 48hour competition? Shit yeah! I think it might be good idea to start planning now…

Ps: heaps of people were taking photos so I might be able to zap some up here in the near future.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Nothing to say

Dear Reader

I am doing this tonight.
I need to conserve all possible ideas.
As such today's blog has been postponed.

Thank you

Thursday, May 12, 2005

[Sport] Mascots: More than a big foam head?

Outrage and anger. That is what some Bay of Plenty fans will be feeling after the announcement today that the BOP Rugby Union is pursuing a trademark of the name Hori Bop. I can feel that I have lost a few of you already.

Hori Bop is the name of (rugby team) the BOP Steamers’ mascot. But unlike, I assume, many teams, the Steamers (as they have been called for only the past few years) didn’t create their mascot: the fans did. That is to say one fan: Hapi Winiata. The now deceased Winiata created the mascot back in 1953. In recent years the role has been played by Terry Leaming.

Hori is a strange kind of mascot. He is not an animal or bigheaded cartoon character. He is a big fat guy with a beard and “Don King” hair who is painted blue and yellow. He yells a lot and, on occasion, waves a stick. Recently the current incarnation ran for mayor of Tauranga (on a platform of free pies for rugby fans and topless beach volleyball).

Last season Mr Leaming was told he could no longer be on the sidelines. Who knows why? Also last year the BOPRU began the process of trademarking the name Hori Bop. BOPRU CE Paul Abbot said that it was a similar to when Waikato trademarked Mooloo (Waikato’s cow mascot). Mr Leaming is, understandably, upset by this new development, which he sees as another attempt to keep him from being the teams’ mascot.

This is how the issue plays out in my mind. The BOPRU is attempting to keep the name under control. Mr Leaming has, apparently, done things in the past which the BOPRU has frowned upon or disagreed with. However, as Mr Leaming is a private citizen the club cannot stop him from doing whatever he wants (i.e. run for mayor). And if Mr Leaming wanted go out on the town and get absolutely smashed and curl up in a puddle of his own vomit, he should be allowed to, except that he now represents the union and they wouldn’t like that (disclaimer: I have no idea what Mr Leaming does in his spare time). The union wants to control their mascot in the same manner that they control their players; i.e. under strict rules governing off-field conduct. I believe this is probably why they made him sit in the stands and why they have pursued the trademark (disclaimer: I do not know the exact reason for either of these actions).

Chances are that the BOPRU will get the trademark. If this is what happens, Mr Leaming (or Don Hori) needs to immediately negotiate a contract with the union. Hori Bop IS the Steamers mascot. The last thing I would want, or any other BOP supporter (or member of the BOP Mafia) for that matter, is the union getting a PR firm to come up with an “eccentric” character to run up and down the sideline. Good luck to you Hori.

Having done a Google search to find the links inserted above I came across this list of world rugby mascots (Argentina just isn’t trying hard enough). New Zealand’s there, just scroll down, still the less said about Canterbury’s weird half-human/half sheep hybrid Larry the Lamb, the better.

In other sports news: New Zealand is bidding for the hosting rights to the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The government has promised $20 million to the bid if it is successful. It would be cool to get the cup. I remember thinking of going to some of the “smaller” clashes like Ireland vs Tonga or Namibia vs Romania (an age old rivalry). But the Aussies sold us out. And we won’t get it again in 2011.

Why’s that Hadyn? I’m glad you asked, because the RWC will go to Japan. And fair enough, in some ways. Japan got the Soccer World Cup (finals) and did extremely well. Japan will make more money (the biggest factor) for the IRB. Japan needs to grow it’s rugby potential so as to become more competitive in the future (and SANZAR won’t let them into the Super(duper) 12).

If it goes to Japan I won’t mind at all, it just better not go to the bloody South Africans!

Perennial National Bank Cup wooden spooners, the Eastern Flyers, are happy that the NBC is going to an extended two-round format. They are also saying that they will not merge with the Capital Shakers (the other struggling team). They do say that they might have problems with money though and that they currently only practice once a week (due to the problems with coordinating the team over the lower North Island.

I recently said that Netball was being run quite well at the moment and didn’t need salary caps etc to keep it competitive and interesting (especially this season, GO MAGIC!). But perhaps Netball NZ might look at profit sharing. This would ensure that teams don’t drop too far behind the others.

Finally some non-sports news: Stevie Wonder is going to release a video for the blind.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

[General] War is Hell

I now have a new personal best for “most posts in a day”. Please read all of the other ones.

Ladies and Gentlemen please try the other new link (down on the righthand side).

KITTEN WARS!!!! (Thanks to Hulk for the link)

It’s not as violent as it sounds. When you reach the site you will be presented with two kittens. Click on the one that you think is the cutest. That is how the war is won.

For the cutest of the cute click on “Winingest Kittens” (but first prepare your eyes so that you don’t get blinded by the pure power of cute).

I used to like No Hands and then Hobbes and Tucker, but now I cheer for Sox.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

[General] Episode III: Revenge of the List

There have been about four posts today. Please take the time to read them all...

From Dave (Bill):
I couldn't resist. Hopefully some of these haven't already been predicted...btw, don't worry if you have spoiler paranoia, reading this will probably not reveal anything about the movie...

TOP 10 SUPRISES IN EPISODE III (in reverse order)

  1. Darth Sidious unravels fiendishly clever Jedihaircut code
  2. Billy the Goldfish appears as a young Admiral Ackbar
  3. Gradual ‘browning’ of entire galaxy
  4. Magic of digital cinema allows you to order merchandise while still in the theatre
  5. Natalie Portman decides it’s time to start acting
  6. No more Mexican stand-offs… please? oh god, please no more…
  7. PG13 rating applied for frequent references to“space boobies”
  8. Yo momma… the Hutt!
  9. Audiences finally ready for gay droid marriage...and......
  10. If it’s white smoke, we have a new Sith Lord


This just has just been recieved by email communication:

Wednesday is the official Slap Your Irritating Co-workers day.

Do you have a co-worker who talks nonstop about nothing, working your last nerve with tedious and boring details that you don't care about? Do you have a co-worker who ALWAYS screws up stuff creating MORE work for you? Do you have a co-worker who kisses so much booty, you can look in their mouth and see what your boss had for lunch? Do you have a co-worker who is SOOO obnoxious, when he/she enters a room, everyone else clears it?

Well, I am so very very glad to officially announce tomorrow as SLAP YOUR IRRITATING CO-WORKER DAY!

There are the rules you must follow:

  1. You can only slap one person per hour - no more.
  2. You can slap the same person again if they irritate you again in the same day.
  3. You are allowed to hold someone down as other co-workers take their turns slapping the irritant.
  4. No weapons are allowed...other than going upside somebody's head with a stapler or a hole-puncher.
  5. If questioned by a supervisor [or police, if the supervisor is the irritant], you are allowed to LIE, LIE, LIE!

Now, study the rules, break out your list of folks that you want to slap the living day lights out of and get to slapping.....and have a great day

[General] spip: A New Link

Kia ora koutou,

I have added a new link to the page. It is the home page of David Le Fleming a New Zealand artist currently residing in London.
His art is very good by my own standards. I saw his last NZ exhibition which was paintings on old car bonnets. I find it similar in idea to these guys and yet different (wow, I am such a erudite art critic!)

Check it out. Buy one if you want. That'd make him happy.

ps. Little known fact about Dave is that he is the owner of one of the highest hereditary titles in NZ.

[General] The Real List of Fury (part 2)

Mike reminded me the other day that I had left some people off the “List of Fury”. I had written it in six minutes before I went home and so the amount of thought was minimal. The entries are not in any order either. So, the following is an addition to the original:

6. Mark Ellis
He hasn’t done anything for a while that has seriously pissed me off but he stays in the list for historical crimes against my brain.

[NOTE: Actually just last night I saw that he and Matthew Ridge (who is hoping desperately for money now that he owes so many people so much) have got a new TV show where they are in Japan doing stupid shit. Looks like the type of thing where they will start saying "Me rikey vely much". I hope they overindulge on Fugu.]

7. Savage
For making his album appear really good, for making the first 30-odd seconds of each track to be excellent and for disguising the fact that each song (and in turn the whole album) is just a big ad for Savage. You expect that of most Hip-hop artists but every song (including Rock Like Me, which is an ad for Dawn Raid clothing). I should’ve bought Hollie Smith instead (and so should you!)

8. Idiot Girl
The girl who drifted into my lane the other day and cut me off because she didn’t check her blindspot (and when she did see me she kept on drifting across despite the fact that I was blasting my horn at her). I pulled up next to her at the lights and she was texting!!! (Yes, this does deserve three exclamation points).

9. Guy at the BP service station
Bro, you work at a service station. You are not cool. If I was allowed to fill my own gas bottle I would do it, but it’s a job you have to do. Do not make me wait outside in the cold just so that you can look all staunch when you saunter on out. You looked like a dick. Everybody hates their job (well most people) but don’t take it out on me. Oh and your girlfriend told me to tell you “it’s over”.

10. Woman at parliament with her dog
OK, so the law says your dog has to be on a leash in public areas during the day. It is also a good idea to feed your dog. When your dog takes a dump on the lawn outside parliament (where people let their little kids run around) pick it up! If you can’t follow these rules: stay away.

11. New Zealand TV sports shows
They are still bollocks. Special mention to ex-cricketer Simon Doull: Hi Simon, (can I call you Doully?), you suck!

No wait that’s too harsh and sounds like I’m ranting. Simon Doull, you repeat the opinions of idiots off sports talkback, your ideas are loosly based on opinion rather than fact, you repeat yourself but you are slightly better than host Andrew Saville. Hi Andrew, (can I call you Saveloy?)…

12. Guy in the building across the road
Quit copying me when I stretch. Else I will be forced to mention you in my blog. Oh yeah, I can see you. Go and talk to the girl two seats down from you; she’s been on the phone for ages now.

13. The Sweet Chilli Philly ad (Philadelphia cream cheese covered in "decadent" sweet chilli sauce).
The one with the women who are angels. I hate that ad so much (no one gets angrier at the tv than I do). If it’s heaven, then the table wouldn’t break and if the table did break it would be easy to put together a new one (because it’s heaven!). The fridge opens by itself but the table can’t put itself together? And what are they implying when they ask how the table was broken? These aren’t angels, these are marketers.

14. My partner
Who bought Sweet Chilli Philly on the weekend. Thus sending the message to the (devil) marketers that their advertising was spot on. (Just kidding Honey, I would never really put you on this list).

15. Me
For liking the Sweet Chilli Philly and thinking about buying it at the supermarket last night. I then purchased the new sugar free “sweet as” L&P. Because, as mentioned by Naomi Klein in The Corporation (a must see), the marketers listened to what we (the people) wanted (i.e. Kiwi retro) and sold it back to us. It would just be rude of me not to buy it after they listened so well. Wouldn’t it?

16. The Guy at the Supermarket
I hate going to the supermarket in general. It is always full of weirdoes (actually this time I met my friend Morag there the other day, Morag is not considered part of the weirdoes).

How many of you have seen Clerks? Oh really, not as many as I thought. Ok, in Clerks there is a scene where this woman goes through the fridge of the convenience store looking for the bottle of milk with the longest “best before” date. At the supermarket the other day there was this guy doing that exact thing with loaves of Vogel’s Bread.

Just to give him a bit more depth for you readers I will give a description of the man (flesh him out, so to speak): short (maybe 5’6”); balding; rotund (I like that word, it's so descriptive) he was almost a perfect circle; bright red polar fleece jersey; glasses; and a cell phone clipped to his belt in a faux-leather cell phone pouch. You know the type. I saw another of his clan outside Dymocks last week. This one was staring intently at the display of Star Wars III paraphernalia in the window while holding, in one hand, a hamburger, and in the other, a greasy McDonalds bag.

Normally I would let the man (supermarket version) have his little craziness, but, he was blocking off access to all the Vogel Bread with his trolley and was taking his sweet time. Moreover he had previous blocked an aisle I was trying to get down while him and some old lady looked long and hard at tomato sauce.
…anger rising…

17. *NEW ENTRY* The Foot and Mouth Terrorist
By merely making the threat of releasing a vial of Foot and Mouth this idiot could cost, the Reserve Bank estimates, $10 billion within the next two years. One small market has already closed its doors to NZ meat until it can be satisfied, agriculture minister Jim Sutton says more will probably follow.

This was all done for a “ransom” demand of “a large sum of money” and a revision of the government’s tax laws. This guy (or girl) needs to be found and strung up by his buster-browns (I’m actually not to sure what that means, but it sounds good).

The same goes for the muntards who threatened to release stoats into native bird sanctuaries and the genius who smuggled the rabbit killing calicivirus (also called Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease [RHD]) into the country and then released it. What the hell are you thinking? Doing that will do the following: make all of the country hate you for being an idiot (like killing all of our native birds so you can introduce Australian possums will make us like you); make the government spend more money on the environment (because the environment is THE most important thing, without it we can’t live, and they’ll have to clean up your mess); and make the government tighten its security measures (which will impact all of us).

Not to mention the fact that we have had hundreds of years to learn that introduced species (or viruses) are generally not a good idea, in fact it is almost 100% the case that they are a very, very bad idea. Even NZ snails are infesting the US now. Here read this.

Nice one, dick.

There will be a new and different list with a different theme coming (hopefully) later today so check back for that one.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

[General] Top Of The Hour Chunder

A newsreader on Sydney's 2UE radio station had to power through a nasty spot of the mushy heaves. An audio clip can be found here, right click on link once you're there to save it. Be warned though, it's fairly gross.

Monday, May 09, 2005

[Sport] NZRFscrewU

%#&$%ing NZRFU!
$#@&ing $%^#@@&^*#er!
Professionals my #$$!

This morning I went to the NZRFU site and copied their data into an excel spreadsheet to do my analysis. This is the table which I modified for my table below.

The NZRFU had made a small mistake (which they have since corrected) and had the Hurricanes on 30 points instead of 34. This is NOT a data entry mistake on my part. However, this means my post has the following mistakes in it:

The Hurricanes cannot lose their semi-final berth no matter what. They would probably prefer to play the Waratahs in the semis though. The Bulls can leapfrog the Hurricanes ONLY if they get 5 points from the weekend (a win with 4 tries). If the Bulls lose the Highlanders can make it into the semis with a win. If the Bulls lose the Blues can make it to the semis with a win. I don’t know how tie-breaks work in the Super 12, but if the Brumbies can win with a bonus point then they might make the semis (if the Blues, Highlanders and Bulls all lose).

Remember that all mistakes are the fault of the NZRFU!!!! Not me. I accept no responsibility at all.

If the Brumbies do make the semis (because they beat the Bulls 21-19 earlier in the season; although I really don’t know how they run tie breaks) then Super 12 rugby is officially a farce. Why? Because that means that team with a losing record (5-1-5; assuming the NZRFU website is correct now) will be in the finals ahead of three teams with a winning record (i.e. 6 wins or more). I hope that it will not happen and that if it does that the offended franchises (Bulls, Blues and Highlanders) all withhold games until the bonus points are turfed out.


I have edited the original posts below so please read them, if you haven’t already, below.

ps. I have been told that tie breaks are run by looking at "4-try bonus points" followed by "close loss bonus points". This still means that the Brumbies would get through.

[Sport] Keeping the Faith

%#&$%ing Blogger! $%^#@@&^*#er I have tried to post this column 10 $#@&ing times now! Html tags my #$$! Any way it’s finally here so read and enjoy…

This is the column where I get to quote and congratulate myself on being ever-so-smart.

Blues V Hurricanes:
What I said: Hurricanes by less than 12, the Blues may get a four-try bonus-point.
What actually happened: Hurricanes by less than 12. What I forgot was when you have two teams who have great offence the game is usually a low scoring affair.

Waratahs V Reds
What I said
: Waratahs by more than 12
What happened: Waratahs by more than 12 (possibly the easiest call of the week, but remember I was going on scoring stats alone).

Highlanders V Crusaders
What I said: Crusaders by less than 12, maybe even by 1 [Big defence meets big offence normally means a win for the defence, but I’m picking the Crusaders with their points-diff]
What happened: Crusaders won by more than 12 (27-13). Stupid last minute try to…some guy..after some terrible refereeing. I was reminded of something Hunter S said about sport while I watched the game: “[even if you support the team] you find yourself scratching the television trying to claw the lungs out of the junkie quarterback who just scored to beat the spread”. Damn you Crusaders.

Brumbies V Chiefs
What I said: Chiefs by less than 12, infact I also pick this game to be won by 1 point just so the Chiefs will have a zero point –diff.
What happened: a draw. My actual analysis had this at a draw but I so wanted the Chiefs to have a zero points-diff.

Sharks V Bulls
What I said: Bulls by more than 12, like shooting fish in barrel (Har-de-Har-har)
What happened: Bulls by less than 12 (23-17).

Cats V Stormers
What I said: Like, who cares. No that’s nasty. Stormers by less than 12
What happened: Stormers by less than 12.

So it’s “fairly well done Hadyn”. Not bad at all. I had a thought though. What if I just pick the home team to win every game? That means this season I would have correctly predicted 34 of the 60 games, a 57% success rate. This week my success rate (for just winners) was 83% and for winners with margins was 60%. Hooray I’m better than guessing!

Here are my predictions for this week.

Without ridiculous bonus points (if you want the table including the ridiculous points added please see below), the Crusaders lead followed by the Hurricanes (because they both beat the Waratahs). Here’s the table.

  1. Crusaders
  2. Hurricanes
  3. Waratahs
  4. Highlanders
  5. Bulls
  6. Blues
  7. Chiefs
  8. Brumbies
  9. Stormers
  10. Reds
  11. Cats
  12. Sharks
(Cats are ahead of the Sharks and Chiefs are ahead of the Brumbies on Points Diff).

Here’s what will go down this week, remember this is strictly done on point statistics, (there are no other publicly available stats anyway):

Crusaders V Hurricanes
Crusaders by more than 12. It pains me to say it but that’s how the stats stack it up.

Waratahs V Blues
The Blues can still (in theory) make the semis. But they won’t, Waratahs by 12+.

Chiefs V Highlanders
The Chiefs are on a role and the Highlanders are not, having said that, I pick the Highlanders by less than 12. Crazy prediction of the week: both teams will come away with 4-try bonus points.

Reds V Brumbies
If the Brumbies win and get two bonus points in the process (which is impossible) they still have no hope in hell of reaching the semis Hahahahahahahaaaaa. Brumbies by 12+ (not that it will matter! Hahahahahaha). NOTE: This has been revised (with much less laughter) above.

Bulls V Stormers
The Bulls will be keen as beans to win this one with maximum points. Given that I have predicted the Hurricanes losing, the Bulls can leapfrog them on the table with a win. The Bulls have scored more points and the Stormers have given up more. So I will say the Bulls by less than 12.

Cats V Sharks
The fight for the Wooden Spoon. I give victory to the Cats, considering the Sharks -179 points-differential. Wooden Spoon goes to the Sharks.

So the three big matches are Crusaders/Hurricanes, Highlanders/Chiefs and Bulls/Stormers. So it is natural that this weekend I will be very busy.

Now, on to other rugby matters.

If I didn’t need to pat myself on the back enough already, here is another reason why I don’t care Norm Maxwell is going overseas.

My faith in rugby union has been renewed by, of all people, an Aussie.

“The thing”, lyricised former Wallaby Peter Fitzsimmons, “that sets rugby apart from every other [professional] sport in the world is the passion each player has for his jersey”. (Sniff, wipes away a tear) This appealed to my sports romanticism, which is always my downfall. By the way, I inserted [professional] on purpose; given some players fanaticism for their club teams.

Fitzsimmons is against the draft and against the salary cap. He is known for saying “pay ‘em what they’re worth”. On a side note: what is a player worth? Really? And once you’ve figured that out, what’s a teacher worth? Or a street cleaner? Because we should really be paying them first.

Any how he’s right, in a way. Sport is more exciting when the players actually feel something for their jerseys. Remember when players used to swap jerseys? Giving an opposing player your jersey, your most-prized possession, for theirs was a huge gesture. However, let’s not let rose tinted glasses get in our way. We are way past that now.

If players really felt something for their jerseys and province would we have seen Rico Gear go to Nelson in order to play for the Crusaders? Or Radike Samo decide that he would rather play for Aussie than his native Fiji (I wonder who would pay more?). See it’s not even about money any more, it’s about opportunity.

Basketball’s “Mailman” Karl Malone left the Utah Jazz, a team he played with for 18 years (1985-2003), for the LA Lakers because he wanted to win an NBA title before he retired. He left for a (reported) pay cut and LA lost to the Detroit Pistons.

Devotion to your team, province or country is one thing. Devotion to a coach or team-mates you might hate; devotion to a losing team; devotion to low pay and terrible work conditions; devotion to angry fans is a completely different idea.

Should a player wait in the wings for someone else to be injured just to stay in his province or should he be allowed to move to another province that will let him play? Surely he will be as or even more devoted to a province that believes he is a good player than one that thinks he is third best.

Fitzsimmons is right though. Drafts don’t always go to well. Remember Eli Manning crying and stamping and asking his Daddy to help him in last year’s NFL draft? I also wonder how the draft will work. No one seems to want to explain the details.

That’s enough to digest for now. Congrats to the BOP (Waikato) Magic for defeating the Southern Sting in the National Bank Cup. And Happy Mothers Day Mum!