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

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Food for thought

I got up this morning and turned on the TV to catch the start of the France-Spain football quarterfinal match. Unfortunately I was too early and it was instead just time-filling "build-up" coverage. Over on the another channel (TV2) religious programming ruled the airwaves.

It was a show piped in from the US and featured a energetic preacher similar to that parodied on The Simpsons. They were advertising a video called "Discipline: Taming Your Flesh". As Tom would say, it sounded like something you would expect from Madame Lash's House of Masochism.

An excerpt of the video was shown with the subtitle "Crucify your flesh". Here is the complete text of what the preacher said in this snippet.

"If you can not beat a hamburger, how can you expect to beat a devil that is trying to kill you in the wilderness."
A truer word has never been spoken.

Monday, June 26, 2006

For your viewing pleasure

Here it is, "live" on the internet, the 48 hour movie sensation...


The genre is "Based ona true story". Note the compulsory elements:
  • Robyn Slade, an eternal optimist
  • A mirror
  • The dialogue: "That's what I'm talking about"

Interior Decorating

This weekend I finally picked up the bunch of prints that I was getting mounted and framed. And because you always come here to read about me (ho ho) I thought I’d tell you about them (with pictures!).

We’ll start with this one:

This is called Tiki Girl by Doug Horne and is number 455 of 500 glicée prints. As such this print was quite collectable and I had it framed rather than mounted. When I finally build my Tiki Bar it will look something like this, but with more bamboo. For the moment though this hangs in my office.

This is the art I picked up at Armageddon (sorry for this photo's crazy angle, but there isn't much room in our hallway). It’s done by a Whanganui artist called Jem Yoshioka. If you look closely (right) you’ll see that this is actually ink on wallpaper. It’s basically a collection of sketches and poetry but flows nicely. Block mounting let me keep all of the stuff that was right at the edges.

This is the promo-poster for local store Eyeball Kicks. Pop artist Mitch O’Connell was commissioned to do the art by Calvin and Monique who own EK. It’s larger than the posters you might see around town (roughly 3’ by 2’) and was consequently a lot heavier. But it was only $5 for the poster!

This is a lithograph I bought from the States. It’s by a new favourite artist of mine, Andrew Bawidamann. Tom will happily note the single olive on a stick. I also got a couple of Bawidamann’s military postcards but have yet to put them up. I was quite pleased because this only cost me $15 (NZD) to buy and not much more to block mount. Also, you make it out here but Bawidamann actually signed the work, which was bloody nice.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I come from a land downunder

I’m just going to quickly respond to the latest press release from the National Party’s John Key: After-tax wages in Oz more than pre-tax in NZ.

John Key MP National Party Finance Spokesman has made various claims about the financial differences between Australia and New Zealand. I know he has probably (probably) got the numbers right about income and taxes and so forth, however, you can work it out for yourself if you are so inclined. Here are some links: The Australian Bureaux of Statistics, StatsNZ info on income, New Zealand Income Survey (June 2005 quarter), The Big Mac Index (regarding purchasing power).

But what about that other fact in Key’s release?

"Dr Cullen can't continue to ignore this assault on our workforce. Australia's made no secret of the fact they are looking for Kiwi workers, and the number of New Zealanders crossing the ditch has climbed to around 650 per week.”

The emphasis is mine.

The actual number they are using is 2,713 Permanent and Long-Term (PLT) departures from New Zealand to Australia in the month of May 2006. They have just divided that by four weeks to get 678.25 people leaving NZ for Oz each week.

Of course this is gross and not net. If we look at PLT arrivals FROM Oz to NZ the number drops to 1,755 in May or approximately 438.75 people per week leaving for Oz. (I’ll put it all in a table at the bottom of the post to make it easy to read).

Has this figure climbed to 678 per week as John Key suggests? Nope.

The number of “New Zealanders crossing the ditch” has been dropping since at least January. In January there were 4,276 PLT departures for Australia with a net departure of 2,625 (a net weekly figure of 656). In fact the number of departures has dropped 36 percent and the net-departures have dropped 33 percent.

The 2005 figures show the same trend; higher levels of departure in January tapering off to May. However, the May 2005 figures are still higher than the May 2006 figures (I was too lazy to do a significance test, but so was John Key).

Here’s the table (please note that net departures is arrivals minus departures, hence the negative numbers). This information is available here.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Have your say

Hi everyone.

I hope your enjoying the new look Hammer. I would actually like to hear from you about the new scheme so I can improve the blog for your reading pleasure.

Please leave a comment and tell me what you think. For example Mike said: "change those stupid colours on the sidebar I can't read them, idiot!" And so I changed them.

Also if any of you come across a comment from Kristian Jorjetko which is just a bunch of spam links can you please tell me which post he left it on so I can delete it. Thanks.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Quick Sport Round-up

The Hammer started as a sports-blog but has deviated somewhat of late (Che would love that phrase). So here is quick round up of the sports I should have been covering.

Only a few days after Superbowl Champion QB Ben Roethlisberger was released from Mercy Hospital, following his motorcycle accident, he issued the following statement edited):

"In the past few days, I have gained new perspective on life. By the grace of God, I am fortunate to be alive…I recognize that I have a responsibility to safeguard my health in the offseason so I can continue to lead our team effectively…I was confident in my ability to ride a motorcycle and simply believed such an accident would not happen to me. If I ever ride again, it certainly will be with a helmet…”

I would now like to draw your attention to the phrases “I was confident in my ability to ride a motorcycle” and “If I ever ride again”.

Today the story is that Roethlisberger will be issued $388 in fines and fees for riding without a license and not wearing a helmet. Only licensed riders are allowed to go sans-helmet in Pennsylvania. To obtain a motorcycle license in Pennsylvania, riders must first get a learner's permit, which requires a $10 fee, a vision screening and a written test. The permit is valid for one year, during which a road test must be passed to obtain a full motorcycle license. Only after two years of possessing a valid license is riding without a helmet allowed; that restriction is waived if the rider takes an approved safety course.

The word “idiot” keeps popping into my head when I read about this.

Sadly the woman who hit Roethlisberger has been receiving threatening phone calls (actually to be correct he hit her, but she illegally turned in front of him). This behavior from fans just makes me mad. Leave her alone, retards. However, read this brilliant piece of reporting from Fox Sports:

Police on Monday declined to reveal the name of the driver of the car, citing the threats. She has been identified in published reports as Martha *********, 62, of Pittsburgh. Her husband, Martin *********, has said she felt terrible about the accident.

I deleted the surnames, Fox published them.

To the OTHER football now and the Australian team is complaining about the referee again but this time in their game against Brazil.

Defender Scott Chipperfield said the final scoreline was not a true reflection of the game. The Australians had more shots on goal in the scoreless first half but conceded a goal just after halftime to Adriano.

Um, shots on goal do not determine the score-line. If so Spain would have won this morning 26-5 over Tunisia.

In the NHL, the Stanley Cup winner will be decided in game seven. The Edmonton Oilers have fought back from a 3-1 game hole to tie the series and now the final will be as tense and exciting as if they only had a one game series.

In the NBA, the championship winner may be decided in the next game (although the odds are this will also come down to the seventh game. After leading two games to none, the Mavericks then lost three straight to take the Heat to within one game of winning the whole thing. I hope the Heat win, I like Shaq and Wade.

Anything good on?

Still waiting to hear what new local TV shows will be accepted from TVNZ’s last push for home-grown comedy? Maybe you’re working on a brilliant spec-script or pitch?

In the meantime, watch this steaming pile of formulaic bull-hockey that TVNZ are going to air.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Someone you don't care about

Her name is Lisa Lewis. She is 25 years old and lives in an apartment near the beach in Mount Maunganui. Lisa’s parents split when she was one year old and she went to 14 different schools. She has an 18 month old son called Jaden. Lisa runs a Tauranga-based business called The Personal Assistant – a network of personal shoppers, planners and organisers (though in some articles it is a wedding planning business).

Lisa has also had some plastic surgery. We definitely know that she has fake augmented breasts. Oh, we also know that she just made roughly $4,000 by selling her bikini on TradeMe.

How is it that I know so much about some retard that ran across the field in a rugby test? Am I some weirdo who stalked her, rummaged through her rubbish bin looking for clues, and digging up past boyfriends? No, I just read the paper and watched the news.

A search for “bikini” on Stuff reveals 11 articles about Lisa and two Articles on reader feedback about Lisa (and a DVD review of Into the Blue (starring Jessica Alba)). Seriously, how much do we, the public, need to know about Lisa? Hell, I don’t even need to know her name!

There should have only been one article about her (or even just one paragraph in an article about the game) and it should have said:

A female streaker ran on to the pitch in the final minute of Saturday’s test match between Ireland and New Zealand. She was arrested for disorderly conduct and will have to pay $330 in fines and court fees. Prosecutor Sergeant Bill Cronin said the streak was a planned move and that she had gone to the stadium carrying the sneakers she wore when she ran on to the pitch. She is also banned from attending games at Waikato Stadium.

The NZRU has (finally) come out and said that they are pissed off by the media hype surrounding Lisa. And fair e-bloody-nough!

This is the perfect example of the media running with something that was pretty stupid to start with. See this all actually started with the Tana Umaga handbag incident. This kept escalating through the media trying to one-up itself over and over. At one point there was a handbag related cartoon everyday in the DomPost as well as hundreds of very unfunny emails. A Google News search for “handbag rugby” gives me 366 articles (I didn’t use Stuff because it broke-down on me).

But after the handbag sold for roughly $20,000, and got lots of screentime (including, on TV3 News, live updates on the sale during the final hour of the auction), it was almost natural for the media to focus on the camera-friendly Lisa when she announced that she would be auctioning off her bikini.

The public have taken it with a mixed reaction. The following come from the above mentioned reader feedback on Stuff.

Lisa Lewis's actions in putting her bikini up for sale on Trade Me are that of a desperate attention seeker. The bikini should be removed from Trade Me as she is attempting to profit from a pre-meditated illegal act.
Peter Findlay

Willing seller, willing buyer. All perfectly in line with free enterprise. Well done girl! Streak in peace.
Ben Cheah

Why is the NZRU making such a big deal about a streaker? It's entertainment, all part of the spectacle. These guys need to pull their heads out of their arses. People do fun things at the rugby. Its mostly all good natured. That's why the Hong Kong sevens are such a huge success.
Tim Warne

This person has broken the law and did so deliberately for personal gain and should be charged. The fact she may have a "record" is her own doing! She's made a very lumpy bed for herself and should be made to lie in it. Also, the streakers of past games did not do so for personal gain, and those days have long gone.
Gwen Foster

How boring. I thought streakers were supposed to run around naked. Tell her to get a real job or next time get her gear of!
Jimmy Nisbet

Why oh why did you publish the story of that stupid woman? Such stories open the door for other clueless dead beats to try a similar stunt for all future games and events within New Zealand. I will also be sending an email to Trade Me requesting they withdraw the auction. This woman was actually breaking the law if anyone cares to check - and Trade Me are assisting her in making money from her crime. Get a life New Zealand and grow up for heavens sake.
Diane van Leeuwen

Most of the comments are negative towards Lisa. The comments that are positive reflect more on the nature of economics (supply and demand) or on the entertainment value of streaking rather than saying Lisa is a good person. And some are just plain lecherous.

It has to be said that there is more than a touch of fetishism in both of these recent incidents. A story about large, burly rugby players with handbags followed by various depictions in the media of the whole team carrying handbags (which were always pink). Rippling muscles and feminine accessories, hmmmm, it’s K Road late on Saturday night.

The next story involved an ex-stripper, with breast implants augmentations running around in a string bikini which she then sells to the highest bidder. Does everyone think that it was bought by a man? Freud would have a field day. Actually “field day” is a way for me to quickly mention the other NZ story which hit international headlines.

I hope that this is the last we hear of Lisa. I just know, however, that we’ll be seeing her on Celebrity Treasure Island soon enough.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

[Notice] Ignore the blog

I am making changes this weekend so ignore all crazy colours or mistakes on the blog.


Friday, June 16, 2006

Spam of a different kind

I get the odd Spam mail sent to the blog's address every now and again. They are usually for prescription drugs or financial schemes. I have even received an actual Nigerian scam letter.

However, yesterday I got one that was really off the wall. The photo is below:

I have never needed a self-lighting acetylene torch tip but who knows what the future holds? And if it comes up I know where to go now. Thanks to the Acetylene and Propane Equipment Company of Maryville, Tn., 37801.

Is this a sign of Spam getting better or worse?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Tomorrow's Children

This Wellingtonista post reminded me that I was going to write something about the “Yoof”. Or at least one youth inparticular, the one who was sitting at the back of the bus yesterday.

He was, I noticed as he left the bus, still at high school (as he wore a school uniform). He was a ginga (which I can say with impunity as a Daywalker) and had that look teenage boys often have of being made completely out of knees. Gangly and awkward.

I wasn’t eavesdropping on this young man. Instead he was talking very loudly to a girl (and later another girl) about his brilliant exploits that were always “f**kin’ hilarious” and caused him and his chums to “f**kin’ fall on the ground laughing”. He was clearly trying to impress the girls who were mostly quiet with small murmurs of "yeah, cool".

He detailed various accounts alcohol and drug abuse that resulted in him being injured in multiple ways. One of these stories involved him getting stoned (on what I don’t recall) and his friends placing a box on his head. They would remove the box and shout at him in order to “freak him out”, which he thought was “f**kin’ awesome” and “f**kin’ hilarious”.

The best story was where he and his “mates” played a game in a McDonald’s Family Restaurant where they “breathed really fast for, like, a minute or two and then took a big gasp and someone would tighten a scarf around your neck and you’d pass out and have these little, like, micro dreams”. Needless to say it f**kin’ awesome and hilarious.

I suggest that we set-up the future so it’s idiot proof.


And so it starts...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Why are folks so dumb?

Let’s start with the Aussies, shall we?

The government of the Australian Central Territory had put in place laws “which would have given gay couples the same legal rights as married couples by describing the marriages as "civil unions"”The Attorney-General tells these firemen to call off their gay marriage

But no more. From midnight tonight (Wednesday 14 June 2006) those laws will be invalid. The federal government has overridden the territorial government. Australian Attorney-General Philip Ruddock* said that “The Commonwealth Marriage Act makes it clear marriage is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others”.

Thank God he made that clear, I mean what’s next? A bear marrying a sandwich?

*that's him in the suit telling a group of young firefighters that they will have to call off their gay wedding.

I knew that the current Australian government wants to be America, but for crying down the sink! Here is a great interview of Bill Bennett by Jon Stewart who absolutely takes him to task on the gay marriage debate in the states (via crooks and liars, hat-tip to KFMonkey).

In sport, where idiots abound, star Superbowl-winning Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was involved in a car crash. Only he wasn’t in the car, he was on his motorbike… without a helmet. What was his reason for not wearing one? He stated last year that the state law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets was repealed in 2004.

So despite his coach telling him not to be so stupid; despite Hall of Fame QB Terry Bradshaw telling him to ride the damn thing when he retires; and despite TE Kellen Winslow JR missing an entire season (and possibly ruining his career) in an accident last year, Roethlisberger went out riding his bike without a helmet because he didn’t have to wear one.

This would be just mildly stupid if he had just been riding a Vespa or similar. Instead he rises to Darwin Award level by riding a 2005 Suzuki Hayabusa – a bike that is called the fastest legal street bike in the world. He gets extra credit for the fact that nearly all of his injuries are to his head (his knees were hurt as well as he fell from the bonnet of the car). He lost several teeth (one report said “nearly all”), has facial lacerations and cuts to the back of his head and broke his jaw.

Make with the funny

My morning blog-trawl revealed this little gem...

Head over to the Thordon Bubble for more examples to enliven your morning (or afternoon if you slept in, bastards).

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The OTHER film

Those of you who are observant will have noticed the progress bars in the sideboard.

One of which is called "Horror Script Progress". The script was completed a while ago but the film is still in production so I left it up with a link to the official site.

Well just today, over on the other official site, you can see the trailer for this film! UPDATE: I have just "stolen" it and imbeded it right here for your veiwing pleasure.

Those who are pregnant, suffer from high blood pressure or a weak bladder may wish to exercise caution before viewing...

Monday, June 12, 2006

Comedy of Weather

I don’t believe Wellingtonians are that stupid. Here is what I think happens every windy rainy day:

The beautiful people at Feeling Great (or possibly the WCC marketing dept) get out and about stuffing broken umbrellas into random litterbins. They also employ people to wander around and have Charlie Chaplin moments as their umbrellas explode in various directions.

This morning while I waited to cross the road under a shelter, a business man across the road stood with a flimsy umbrella in hand. How do I know this was a put on? He wore only his business suit. No long coat, no gortex wet-weather gear, not even a hat.

His umbrella was instantly turned inside out. He then spent several comedy moments trying to turn it back the right way round as me and the girl next to me laughed hysterically. I only wish I had the Bennie Hill music on my iPod. Just when he thought it was sorted the light changed for us to cross and the inevitable gust of wind reshaped his umbrella into a martini glass.

Comedy like this doesn’t happen by accident.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Things are gonna change around here! At least over the course of the next month.

I'm teaching myself html code so I can spruce up this site from its current Blogger template look (which SO 2005).

First things first, I have changed the little progress bars on the side. The ones I was working have stalled but still exist. When I get bacck to working on them the bars will go back up.

Secondly, Jess has got herself a blog. Go check it out. That way you can say you read her blog before she was famous. (If you arriveed here from her site, welcome the posts about the film are here, here, here and here).

So look out for big things here at the Hammer. Big things.

[Update] Oops, here is the link to Jess' blog which will help if you want to visit it.

Friday, June 09, 2006

I’ll get there eventually

Sleater Kinney and Neko Case are officially my new playlist for life; which is to say that I listen to them a lot. As with most music trends I came into these two late in the game, and so far I only have Sleater Kinney’s The Woods.

My partner is telling me I’m getting old listeningNeko Case to country music (as she calls Neko Case) and maybe she’s right. As I listen to bands I like at the moment I can’t help but think “those guitars have a nice twang to them”. How long will it be before I’m browsing the Naxos CDs in those bins outside of music stores? So I just tell myself that it’s ALT-country and I feel better.

ALT is such a good term/suffix in the English language. Be it at the front of a musical genre (i.e. ALT-Pop) or in the middle of a phrase (i.e. “why don’t you CTRL-ALT-FUCK OFF!”). It tells the listener everything they need to know about the person who is speaking it. Just take a look at number three on this Google search.

But anyway I’m straying a little here.

The last Pearl Jam album I bought sounded distinctly “country”. A quick chronological browse through their earlier stuff revealed that this sound happened over time. The guitars got “twangier” and vocals became more and more Johnny Cash-ish.

This isn’t ALT-country (by the way I’m capitalising simply for effect), its just country influenced rock. Like basil-infused olive oil (some readers are laughing at that, you know who you are).

Neko Case isn’t ALT-country either. She’s just country. But damn it’s good country (i.e. no fricking line dancing). Sleater Kinney isn’t. Sleater Kinney is rock. Oh, alright, ALT-Rock, happy?

But what is Ryan Adams (the man with the name that everyone mishears the first time)? And what about the Kings of Leon?

Sigh. This is for another time I’m afraid. I have to jet. More crap musings on Monday.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Leaving a thin film.

First of all a quick pimp: Mike has written up his recollection of the events of the film-making weekend in a blog-triptych in which he writes in every genre:

once upon a time...part un

once upon a time...part deux

once upon a time...part trois

And now, here are the Wellington Finalists for the 48hours Film Competition that will screen tonight at the Embassy:

Clean Slate ("The Baby Farmer")

Hydra Productions ("16 Bullets")

Long Live Megatron ("Optimistic Prime")

Open Book ("Robin Slade: The Actor's Actor")

Northside Steelers ("Emotional Rescue")

Prime Rib ("Gunther & Me")

SE7 ("Seven in Seven")

Traces Of Nut ("Monster")

Ufo Film ("That Fateful Day In April")

Unproductive But Optimistic ("This Thing Called Hate")

White Tiger ("Slade In Full")

Congrats to all who made it into the finals, you all deserved it! Speaking of crap-arse films…


...did anyone see that pile of ball-sacks on TV2 on Sunday and Monday?* Category Seven: The End of the World. I will rant about this movie presently, but I have to dash now. Remember to check out the Making of Coupled.

* This post was supposed to go up a little earlier.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Blown a seal

I'm gonna post another 48 hours-based blog in a bit but first...

This just in: JIM ANDERTON IS A LYING ****!
From Scoop:

Documents obtained by Forest and Bird show that [Conservation Minister, Chris] Carter warned that the sealion pup population had declined 30 percent in the past eight years and the decision to increase the kill quota from 97 to 150 did not appear to have been based on any scientific information.
So he lied to my face in his reply. Bastard!

Speaking of bastards...

The New Wellingtonista site is up. They aren't the bastards, this "person" is.
Here is a description as to what happened.

Making 48 hours

Remember Karim Sahai?

Well he documented the making of our film for the 48 hours competition, Coupled.

And now I present it to you...Bongo, The Sponge Monkeys and the 48h Film Competition: A behind-the-scenes photo documentary...

Click here for video

NOTE: this is just a temporary measure until I sort something cooler!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

[48hours] Screening

So our film has screened to mixed reviews. I prefer this one…

Bongo And the Sponge Monkeys

I might be getting everything mixed up now but I'm pretty sure this was based on a true story - about a girl and her lover who wake up one moring after a night of passion to find they are handcuffed together and key is no where to be found. Very nice acting - loved the guy and his love of food - nice touch. Hope it does well.

…to this one…

Over a dinner, one couple recounts the story of how they met to another couple. They woke up handcuffed together and had no idea where the key was.... Or did they? This had some nice production values and some genuinely funny moments, interspliced with dinner scenes that felt like a really bad ad for housing finance.

“Bad ad for housing finance”, that’s pretty bloody harsh! (though if there are any ad people out there who want a housing finance ad written, I’m available). This one was nicer…

Bongo And the Sponge Monkeys

(Based on a true story)

It was probably based on a personal experiance [sic] of a crew member becuase [sic] I couldn't think of anything it was based on. It was nonetheless a fairly well told romance.


However, I showed it to my workmates yesterday and apparently they laughed out loud the whole way through (I wasn’t there and was told by a third party later). This makes me think that ours didn’t stand out as well when viewed with other funnier, but less story driven movies.

One of the films in our heat was hilarious, I laughed my arse off. But in the end it was just a string of references to other films in that genre. This may sound like sour grapes, but part of making a film is making something unique rather than rehashing a series of jokes from other films (which is why I refuse to see any of the Scary Movie incarnations).

I'm not bagging any of the films in our Heat because they all had redeeming features. The guys who made Amish Housewives apologised for "taking 7 mins of [the audiences'] lives away". Which was fine by me because I laughed a lot at that film. Even the girls who made the last film in the Heat: Shoedunnit. Because they were all girls, male characters were denoted by moustaches.