Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Holiday Musings

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  • Geoff Lealand,

    Quite outstanding, Ben!!

    Phew--2000 word book intro done and now I can relax. Might crack open my gift bottle of West Indies Mount Gay Rum (my daughter sniggers every time she spots it)

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Wow Ben - look forward to hearing about the next decade.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3227 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    It was not a wasted decade at all.

    No, not at all. Rather special in fact, but all mine have been so far. Some very bad bits, some thoroughly shitty moments but on reflection at a personal level, yeah fine.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    It was not a wasted decade at all.

    Damn, Ben. You seemed conspicuously absent here over last week or so, and then you wander back in and go Bam! Still soooo much to learn about all this.

    I could sum up my decade similarly; 3 beautiful children, etc (although we travelled in the 90s, so the OE list would look pretty short) but now it would just be copying.

    I started programming in 'hairy-chested' HTML in 1995, and the promise of a connected world at that time seemed almost limitless. If anything it has already surpassed my wildest dreams, as engaging in life-changing, or at least affecting, discussions with people I haven't yet met was not something I foresaw.

    And if you are responsible for keeping large quantities of spam out of my life, then frankly you should be on the Honours list.

    Look forward to shaking some hands at some PA event next year, but if I have to wait another decade, so be it. God, this sounds like a cheese ad.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Damn, Ben. You seemed conspicuously absent here over last week or so, and then you wander back in and go Bam! Still soooo much to learn about all this.

    Couldn't think of anything sensible to say for a week. I'm experimenting with keeping quiet during those times. I'm not so sure I like it, but I need to give it a good go to be sure.

    Might crack open my gift bottle of West Indies Mount Gay Rum (my daughter sniggers every time she spots it)

    I'm still sniggering. Hope it went down with a yo ho ho!

    Some very bad bits, some thoroughly shitty moments but on reflection

    You don't tend to get the really good bits without risking the shitty. My first experience of childbirth was traumatic, but I wouldn't have got the joy of child rearing without it.

    Wow Ben - look forward to hearing about the next decade.

    I don't think what I did in the noughties was remarkable. Most people who are trying to live good lives will do all that and more. But it can be tempting to try to summarize the whole thing down to some keywords, where in actuality, a lot happened and if you reflect on the good things, it can be encouraging.

    Being the start of a new decade, do we make New Decade's Resolutions?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Being the start of a new decade, do we make New Decade's Resolutions?

    No, no, no, no..at the risk of repeating myself (which I'm doing) , it's not a new decade. Not yet. Hold your horses. We have another 364 1/4 days before we can raise that glass.

    [yes it's a slightly petty hobby horse of mine, but I'm celebrating 2553 where I am anyway, or 2552 if I'm a traditionalist..much less confusing]

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Couldn't think of anything sensible to say for a week. I'm experimenting with keeping quiet during those times. I'm not so sure I like it, but I need to give it a good go to be sure.

    Yes, but I'm accumulating, so I'm not letting a small detail of having nothing sensible to say stop me. I have noticed that after a thread has been fairly well flogged, it seems acceptable to post a video, or just drop the odd one liner. But even that takes some skill, so I'm holding on to the idea that practice makes perfect.

    See, I'm not paying attention cause I missed the 'feet up I'm on 111' opportunity.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    [yes it's a slightly petty hobby horse of mine, but I'm celebrating 2553 where I am anyway, or 2552 if I'm a traditionalist..much less confusing]

    Fortunately, new evidence suggests God took a gap year between the BCs and ADs, in preparation for the whole cosmic semen thing, a year zero was inserted, and the Decade is still over.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    But even that takes some skill, so I'm holding on to the idea that practice makes perfect.

    God took a gap year between the BCs and ADs, in preparation for the whole cosmic semen thing, a year zero was inserted

    You appear to be getting the hang of it...

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 893 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    No, no, no, no..at the risk of repeating myself (which I'm doing) , it's not a new decade. Not yet.

    Yeah, we all know that we started numbering from one, so all the zero years are technically at the ends of decades, not at the beginnings. It's just that, fundamentally... we don't care. :)

    the whole cosmic semen thing

    I feel like this phrase needs to be more widely, uh, disseminated.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    I feel like this phrase needs to be more widely, uh, disseminated.

    I'm not sure I can claim it, but while searching for the reference on Google using the search string "st matthews billboard semen", my little missive above was number 4 on the list.

    Bloody hell, that was fast! So I think you could say it is disseminating itself fairly liberally.

    Ah, yes of course, it was the Fundy Post link on the Original Blog. See Russell, I am reading them. And it doesn't actually say 'cosmic semen', so maybe it's mine after all. That's me done for a while. Lightening doesn't strike twice. Are you listening God? No lightening strikes!

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    On another tack, there is an interesting dialogue between James Cameron and (Sir) Peter Jackson in this morning's Herald (Timeout), on the future of film. A certain irony in Cameron arguing that It's about storytelling, when he can't construct an original storyline to save himself.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Cameron arguing that It's about storytelling

    Storytelling. I assume he means the startling originality of retreading a 'going native' plot, but using big blue aliens?

    (Huh. I appear to be more down on this movie than I had anticipated. Maybe someone needs to swoop down on a big orange dragon with a giant machine gun and teach me a lesson or two.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Retreading a going native plot. This one's dedicated to Tze Ming.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Matt Godfrey,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    It's just that, fundamentally... we don't care. :)

    Like I said, me petty,and lets blame Dionysius Exiguus and his ilk who had no concept of zero.

    It is odd to be in a place though where nobody, aside from the expats (who mostly are still staggering around Kao Sahn and the seedy sois with hangovers) think it's anything other than Jan 2, 2553.

    At least in Indonesia, where they pay at best token lip service to the Muslim year, its mostly 2010, but Thailand never had the benefit of a western colonial power sorting out their nonsense.

    I like it.

    The uncomforting thought though is that the 20th century was celebrated across the world (the parts that didn't call the year 2443 or 1319) as beginning on 1/1/1901, and indeed it wasn't until 1990 we jumped a year and talk of the new decade started a year earlier. I just want my year back. You get given parsimoniously few as it is without the media stripping one away.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I find it difficult to sleep in a strange bed, you may ask why I'm sleeping, or in my case not, in a strange bed. Well, it's the holls see? I thought of cramming the four poster into the back of the Hilux but somehow I knew it was a no go sort of situation. So that's how come I woke out of some kind of disturbed slumber to hear the other half muttering half baked economic theory.

    "Monetary reform is not on the agenda" I heard

    "What?" I asked in a tone usually reserved for bar fights.

    "I said" she replied "It's warm, I'm going out on the verandah"
    She looked at me as if I were some kind of vagrant with an unpleasant odour. Not surprising really as I hadn't washed for two days and the weather was, to say the least, sweaty but pleasant with a slight chance of showers.

    The slight chance of a showers involves a short trek through mature native bush to a Kauri tree with a Califont strapped to its mighty trunk.
    "Please turn gas bottle off at the valve" reads a note scrawled in the native tongue, hippy. There are, however, no instructions for turning the damn thing on.

    Being a man of means, whatever that means, I was able to figure out that if you turn the thing off at the valve at the gas bottle then the bottle with the valve must be involved in resuscitating the beast. All well and good but those of you familiar with such technology will know that there is more than that to getting the bloody things to work

    "Right, gas on now what?" I opened the door of the, obviously, hastily constructed enclosure. Of course, my assessment of the haste in which this box was constructed is based purely on city dwellers principals, for all I knew this could have been an entire seasons work by a dedicated herbalist.

    Well, to my delight as I opened the door I could see a whole list of instructions, in plain type. Unfortunately this plain type was printed in a size that could only be read with the eyes of a teenager. Purely by luck, and not, I must admit, by forethought, I had my glasses tucked into the grubby neck of my tee shirt.

    Glasses on I proceeded to scan the text. As I mentioned, the text was a size that could only be read with the eyes of a teenager, a Russian teenager. As luck would have it previous life experience had prepared me for such an occasion.

    Way back in the dim and distant past I had the fortune to acquire a basic knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet whilst waiting for a flight out of Mockba, Moscow to those of you who have not shared this experience, on route to London from Delhi. The flight, Aeroflot 192 if my memory serves me well, although to be perfectly honest it rarely does, arrived in Mockba on time and in one piece. Unfortunately the same could not be said of my connecting flight on both counts, it had flown where no plane was supposed to attempt to fly, through a mountain. Well to be honest, again, only a little bit of it had tried to fly through the mountain and luckily for its passengers the pilot, or in Russian, pilotnik, had managed to wrestle the crippled plane safely to its destination without further incident.

    It was because of this that I and my fellow travellers were to spend the next four days held up in an imposing structure within the confines of Moskow airport, eating chicken Kiev and translating propaganda posters into English. But I digress.

    I suppose while I'm digressing I could explain why I thought my other half was expounding on economic theory rather than hearing what she actually said. This is quite simply that I had been reading our David's wonderful Reserve Bank Annual which I can recommend highly.

    Anypoo. Having finally managed to nurse the Soviet beast into life I stood, naked as the day I was born, under a steaming gush of cleansing water, it was then I heard the voices, German voices. Have you ever had one of those flashbacks to a time before you were born, which technically are not flashbacks but vague memories of movies seen as a child, war movies.

    As the voices approached I had visions of men with guns and those helmets that almost covered the ears that I thought were more sensible than the ones that the English Tommies wore that, kind of left the ears totally exposed to the rigours of combat. The voices came closer. One of the things that always intrigued me about the bush is that you can never really tell what direction sounds are coming from. I leant forward to peek under the canopy of trees to see if I could spot the trespassing Tutonics.

    It was because of this that I found myself bending over with my back to a group of tourists, mostly elderly women shouting "Oh mein Gott" which caused me to whip around with waving willy shouting "Oh holy shit" Grabbing for a towel to try and recover some modesty I felt my mouth blubbering out apologies whilst my brain was saying "What the fuck are these Germans doing trampling over the place?"

    Within moments they were gone, muttering unkknown words of horror.
    I finished my shower without further ado, dried my now well observed body and trekked back up the hill to tell my partner of my ordeal.
    "Hey hun" I said as I walked in through the door "I've just been perved at by a bunch of bloody Germans".

    "I believe you have met my parents" said Gunter, mein host.

    I have never been so embarrassed, because the next thing he said was "Did you turn off the gas at the valve at the bottle?" in his wonderful Austrian accent.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Brilliant.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Hmm. Gas, showers and Germans. Probably best not to pursue that one.

    Great story, Steve.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Great story, Steve.

    I feel sorry for the Germans.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I feel sorry for the Germans

    Boy do ve hav ze thread for you.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Some of the more literary amongst you may have noticed a surfeit of commas in my last post. Commas are a common crop up this way and at this time of year they are in season. Northern commas are quite similar to the southern apostrophe which grows higher up in the word and sometimes denotes possession, not by spirits or such, it also can be used as a replacement for excessive lettuce or letters as they are sometimes known.
    So, as a gift to all of youse down south I decided to send some ripe and juicy northern commas your way. Feel free to use as many as you like in your own posts.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Some of the more literary amongst you may have noticed a surfeit of commas in my last post.

    I thought you were just doing it for comma'cal effect. It worked by the way. Bloody hilarious. Comma, colon, umlaut. ,:รถ

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    A certain irony in Cameron arguing that It's about storytelling, when he can't construct an original storyline to save himself.

    Storylines don't need to be original, they need to be compelling. The two are often found together (you're drawn along with the story purely to find out what happens next), but not necessarily. The original Star Wars has a great plot, despite the fact that the storyline is blindingly obvious from early on. Similarly, I'm sure we've all sat through godawful art house flicks with storylines that prioritised novelty over watchability.

    Related point: I don't think it's always about story. P G Wodehouse is one of the best writers ever in English, and he only had about three plots.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 709 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Storylines don't need to be original, they need to be compelling

    I agree and I will quote (again) Phillip Larkin's dictum Every story has a beginning, a muddle, and an end.

    I am not convinced, however, that Cameron's visual imagination is matched by an ability to construct a compelling and convincing plot. Indeed, his dialogue is more cringe-inducing than creative..

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report Reply

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