Friday, September 29, 2006

Must dash

Listening to: Soulstice-Shapeshifter. Mmmm Hmmm

No time to talk, I'm off to Taupo for hi-jinks and shenanigans.

To entertain you in the meantime, here is Lucky the wonderdog.

She isn't in Taupo. She is in Kuata resort, in Fiji's Yasawa Islands, but that is another story.

(She really is a wonderdog. When she isn't asleep....)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

In memoriam

Sort of related to the post below, Fi's half-brother Steve died a year ago today. Not much else to say really, except I'm sure he's having a good time wherever he is. Beer in hand most likely.

RIP Steve


This week, your very own cotton reality check. We all end up the same in the end, regardless of how much crap we accumulate on the way.

Coming soon:
A post about what happens when spilling sulfuric acid on yourself goes horribly wrong.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

On my mind

Things on my mind this week

I had the idea of William Shatner covering The Muppets "I'm in love with a big blue frog". I'm. In love. With a big. Blue. Frog.

The Thai coup was interesting. Military coups are normally bad, but this one seems to have popular support, which is cool. I find it humourous that they waited until the to be ousted PM was out of the country.

I wonder if the Pope now has new media minders. Does anyone else find the comment/reaction ironic?

Not-Kates continued bad flatmate karma. Yerghh.

I'm working on a Tao (for lack of a better term) of indoor netball, in a determined effort to take the game less seriously.

The band on the treadmills video.

New and interesting and old and interesting music I'm planning to acquire.

Interesting to see that the debacle that is the disbandment of the RNZAF's combat element, and the non-sale of the aircraft got some media time this week. I don't know if the misinformation and occasional flat out untruths issued by the government on this issue for the last five years is deliberate (they may just be badly informed), but it is frustrating. It may or may not have been the correct thing to do, but it was clearly motivated by political considerations rather than practical ones, which is also frustrating.

Utterly fed up with the non-story over this Brash-Clark name calling he said she said BS taking so much airtime. How about running the damn country instead. I don't care if an affair was had or if so and so is gay. I really don't. We have no need or right to know. Judge these people on how they do their jobs, not who they sleep with.

Canterbury lost the Ranfurly shield. Fantastic. I love it when the shield goes on the road. I hate it when one union grabs it and dominates.

Can anyone explain why we have the franchise based regional netball competition, and the national championships, with apparently the same teams? Answers in 15 words or less please.

I am planning some kind of cull of my library. I have been planning this for some time. I will possibly be planning this for some time to come.

D3vo's flatmate has bought a church organ on trademe. Like his house parties weren't interesting enough already :)

'Who let the dogs out' is a terrible, terrible song. It's not funny, just nasty and malicious.
(watching the U-choose 40 again). Almost as bad as 'Mambo no.5'.

Does anyone else find the use of 'Bittersweet symphony' ironic in a bank commercial ("you're a slave to the money then you die...")?

The BSA has not upheld complaints about the toddler driving the SUV commercial. I find this surprising, as it kinda horrifed me when I first saw it. Small children trying to drive a car is apparently clearly implausible, along with bulls driving a Hilux.

My Wednesday night pub quiz team won on umm, Wednesday, with the score of 99 out of a possible 110. I think this is a record, as I can't recall ever breaking 100 in all my years of participation with many teams. That said, a lot of the questions were gimmees. That also said, we beat our nearest rival by 8 points; I though it would be lot closer.

I have yet to be convinced that the Hilton on the waterfont is a good idea.

Right now, I am the physically fittest I have been in years.

The uchoose list of one-hit wonders has a high commonality with last weeks list of fashion disasters.

Mentioning the u-choose seems to generate more comments than the subject of the post the reference appears in.

Milo is a good hangover preventer.

That is all.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

T for the week

I am honouring Not-Kate, and possibly her minions if required by making her lovely birthday gift this week's profiled T.

I actually used to do this as a child. I still 'fly' my models occasionally as I am building them, but much more whimsically and more importantly, silently.

This will make great apparel for the airshow I am going to in Sydney next month.

Great T-shirts were also presented as gifts by Steve, Laura, and my sister Sarah.

And a good time was had by all

Listening to: Uchoose 40 fashion disasters. Somehow I think Nirvana won't win this one, unless the video for 'Lithium' makes an entry. Devo is at 19 with 'whip it'. Excellent video.

Thank you to everyone who got to my party and made it go off in the way it did. You are all excellent. Having it in a bar on a friday night probably helped. People had a good time, and my CD's seemed to work, in that people thought the selection was good, which pleases me also.
The tattoo whip around was very touching and almost overwhelming. Thank you to all who chipped in. Of course this makes me irrevocably commited to it now; one cannot let down this much support.

Good lord, 'I was made for loving you' by Kiss is in at 13. This is the very first music clip I can remember, if any further proof of may age is needed.

Anyway, if I failed to describe my design properly, here is an early concept drawing.

I'm not putting the final-ish drawing up here lest it get nicked. I know that is unlikely, but I'm not up for the risk. Also why the copyright is there. Revisions differ a bit, most notably in that the bird assumes a more realistic stance.

You'll have to wait for the ink to see the final design.

Oh jeeze, 'YMCA' is in at 10. It can only get worse from here.....

Thursday, September 14, 2006

What are the odds?

So as I was driving to work yesterday at about 1450, I was passed by a speeding Range Rover. When leaving work at 0425 this morning (long shift....I had to wait for things to happen), I was passed by the same speeding Range Rover (I recognised the number plate from pass 1). What are the odds of that? Or is there a ghostly Range Rover haunting State Highway 2, terrorising unsuspecting late night workers?

I have had about one hour of real sleep and about four hours of fitful dozing in the last 24 due to my heroic efforts at work last night, and attending a work training session this morning. I am tired. I know I am tired because as I was returning to work this morning, I was playing Incubus' "wish you were here" in the car, and it was a beautiful morning and a complete kodak moment and I nearly cried and got shivers down my spine because it was such a perfect gelling of music and scenery. I don't normally get that emotional about driving to work. I have to stay up though, becuse if I sleep now and not later tonight I will be even more out of whack, and it will mess up my sleep patterns for the entire weekend.

Preparty nervousness is now setting in. Will people turn up? Will it go off? Will my music work? etc etc etc. In the back of my mind I know it will be alright on the night, but I am jittery nonetheless.
Off to finish the CD's now.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Things I like about me

In belated response to a Notkate post from umm, ages ago, here are maybe ten things I like about me. If I can think of ten.

1. I know when to talk, and when not to talk.
2. I know lots of stuff, but actively try not to bore people with it. I often answer questions, post comments etc in a way that answers the question simply without information dumping. I like to think I am not arrogant or show-offy with my knowledge of various things. I have refrained from correcting people because I didn't want to embarrass them.
3. I generally know when to walk away, and when to run.
4. I am good in a crisis. I remain calm when it really matters (sometimes it does not). This seems to run in my family, as my siblings have also demonstrated sang-froid at times.
5. I will generally try to do the right thing, or what needs to be done, even if it is something I find unpleasant or intimidating.
6. I am very good at my job. I have a strong work ethic when I am paid to. I believe in doing things right first time in my work.
7. I am loyal and trustworthy, and discrete. Tell me a secret and it will stay secret.
8. I am honest. I hate lying and being lied to.
9. I am usually thoughtful.
10. I will admit I am wrong when I am proved to be so.

Didn't think I'd make ten.

T Shirt and other stuff

Ha! You all thought I'd forgotten to post a T didn't you! Better late than never.

I believe the above cartoon represents a true and accurate representation of my dancing ability. The random movement thing, not the score. I can do a fair Peter Garrett impersonation. I generally only dance to various forms of electronica, with fairly high BPM. I can't get the hang of slow stuff, although I enjoyed dancing at my wedding, and that was fairly slow.
I like the idea of "well, we don't know what it is, but it sure dances well".

Other stuff

I've been busy mixing CD's for my gathering on Friday. There are rules to making a mix CD. Keep a flow. Never artist block (group songs by artist). Have strong opening and ending tracks. Don't put too many slow songs together.
I am mixing in a fairly random way while still obeying the above constraints. I generally think of the next song to add while I am ripping the one before it. I have no set lists, but am thinking of additions while at work, and compiling from memory. I am trying to be representative of all my tastes. At the same time, I have thrown in a few songs specifically for people I know will be in attendance. I enjoy making comps. It reinforces the fact that I have no favourite song. I have about a dozen self made compilation CD's of favourite songs though. A trend I have noticed about my comps is that they tend to be quite upbeat. I like a slow mellow or sad song as much as the next man, but they don't seem to make it.
Incidentally, I am ripping from my CD collection, 99% of which I have paid for, so no malarkey about stealing alright? I hate collections that consist of burnt CD's. The packaging is a big part of the album's character in my opinion. I burn for compilations.
I am open to requests (subject to approval) if there is anything particularly desired by attending readers. You have about 36 hours to comply before the last CD is mixed.

Also it has come to my attention that some are assuming that all parties must be on Saturday and planning accordingly. My party is on FRIDAY. Not Saturday. You could turn up on Saturday but myself and the people who actually read the invitation won't be there. Remember, assume makes an ass out of u and me.

I was going to write something thoughtful about September 11th, but decided against it. Some may have noticed a lack of world events or political discussion on my blog. It is deliberate. Other people do that much better than I could.

I have a kind of blog envy at the moment. After reading a number of blogs today, they all seem more interesting than mine. Kind of like when everyone elses food looks better than yours at a restaurant. I guess I just don't have as much to say as other folk, and don't say it as wittily. I don't post punctuating links often, primarily because I don't actually spend a lot of time surfing. My online time is quite focused.

So I spend all evening at work looking forward to a cold beer when I get home, and what do I find? No beer in the fridge goddamnit. Warm beer in the laundry. Sigh.

A co worker had a minor car accident while picking up pizza last week. Apart from having aquired the nickname 'Crash', he can say he was hit by a pizza driver from Hell and have it be the literal truth.

Netball last night was fun. I have noticed that I get so focused on the game that I don't notice when regular players are entirely absent. Implications of this are as yet unclear.

My beard is now longer than my hair. I will probably shave it off before Friday though.

To further mark the occasion of turning 30, I have decided which new tattoo to get. I'll go see a tattooist on Friday to discuss. I got my first when I was 25, five years later plus three decades of existence seems a good excuse to get a Kiwi design planted on a shoulder. I like tattoos. I like seeing what people choose to imprint on their skin in order to express themselves. My first tat is a celtic design, which is my particular ethnic heritage (I love the traditional Maori and Pacific Island tats, that can have a symbology and language all of their own, and sometimes have to be earned rather than chosen). The second is about where I'm from. The third will be more for fun. Why? I don't really know. I think it is about establishing my identity by customising myself. There are a lot of celtic armbands out there, but I have seen none like mine.

In reaching 30 alive I have proved my first girlfriend wrong. Still, we were angsty teenagers at the time she said that, and get on much better now.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Bad week to be an Australian legend.

I wasn't really into the Crocodile hunters antics, but it was cool how he raised peoples awareness on conservation and wildlife issues.

Peter Brock was the definition of a legend. One Wellington street race his car broke down. By the time his pit crew fixed it, he was way way down the field, with no chance of victory. Instead of just putting in the laps and going through the motions like a lot of drivers would, he drove the hell out of his machine, with the result that the television coverage started focussing more on him than the leaders, as he ripped through the field to finish way higher than anyone expected him to. A lot of it was done with his elbow on the windowsill.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Bookfair a go go

Listening to 'Permanence'-Gramsci

I love bookfairs. Mainly because I love books, and the reading thereof. There is possibly a causal link between this and my skill at quizzes. A quick glance around my place reveals four books that I am reading concurrently, not counting magazines. I treat books like TV, changing channels/books depending what I feel like. I don't generally use bookmarks. I just flick through until I find where I was at.
Its very mild tonight. I have the dryer on, so the back door is open, and it isn't even cold. This and other portents, like my car being covered in pollen mean that spring is here. This also means that my annual purchase of antihistamines and preventers is due.
Anyway, I was talking about bookfairs. I love the not knowing quite what you'll find, and the thrill of the hunt as you chase down a book you have been looking for for years. Several books in my library have been sourced from bookfairs, after long quests. I don't like the crowds, or the fanatical hard core collectors who carry boxes around and get in everyones way.
The two biggest fairs in Wellington are the Downtown Community Mission fair in the Queens Wharf event center, and the Upper Hutt Rotary fair, usually held at CIT.

On Saturday in company with regular fairers Rich, Dennis and Fi, I hit up the DCM fair.
$34 later, this is what I came up with.

A selection of magazines, mostly related to model aircraft. I spend more time reading about building them than actually making them, which is a habit I need to reverse. Still, the magazines are a great source of hints and tips, and most importantly, inspiration. I get a cheap thrill from looking at the close up photos of the subject of an article and knowing 'I can do better than that'.

'Treasures of the National Air and Space Museum', $1
Pocket size companion to the US NASM, located in Washington DC. Basically if it is a historically important air or spacecraft, it is there. The Wright Flyer is there, along with the Spirit of St Louis and the Apollo 11 Command Module. Very impressive place which I hope to visit someday.

'Metamorphosis'-Mike Wilks, $2
Basically an enormous spot the difference book. Every page is doubled; the double has differences. As this includes pages of text, as well as detailed paintings, this one could take a while to peruse if I have the patience.

'I learned about flying from that'-From the editors of 'Flying' magazine, $1
A compilation of columns from an aviation magazine where pilots describe near-misses, incidents, accidents, and how they got into and out of them. Lessons about complacency, over confidence, lack of preparation abound. I find it interesting as I like flying and work with complex machinery, so some of it cross pollinates. Plus they are usually pretty good stories in their own right.

'Contact'-Carl Sagan, $1
Source novel for the movie. Read it ages ago, enjoyed it, so I picked it up.

'40 Squadron RNZAF, To the four winds', $1
Brief paperback history of the RNZAF's transport squadron (the ones that fly the Hercules and the Boeing 757's, which I have heard referred to as 'Helen's broomsticks' in certain circles). Interesting little publication from the early 80's.

'The riddle of the Titanic'-Robin Gardiner and Dan van der Vat, $1
Despite the naff title, this is a very interesting mid nineties analysis of the Titanic disaster, origins and aftermath. I have always been fascinated by the 'Titanic' and her story, from as early as I can remember. The well researched book examines the myths and legends versus qualifiable reality of the ship and her fate. It also considers the consiracy theory that it was not the Titanic that sank, but her sister ship the Olympic, the identities having been swapped after the Olympic was made uninsurable by a collision in 1911. The Olympic had a long and peaceful career, finally being scrapped in 1937. Third sister the 'Britannic' wasn't so lucky, being sunk by a mine while serving as a hospital ship in 1916. At least one of the crew to survive the Britannic sinking also survived the Titanic disaster.

'Swirly World'-Andrew Fagan, $4
Mocker's lead singer Fagan buys a tiny yacht and makes solo voyages all over the place, including setting the record for the smallest craft to complete a double crossing of the Tasman according to the blurb. If his musical and DJing style is anything to go by, this should be an interesting read. The blurb lists partner Karen Hay's occupation as 'novelist'. I didn't know that. I just thought she was a former TV music show host and killer of good radio stations.

Modern Fighting Aircraft, Bill Gunston $6
Not so modern as it turns out, being published in 1984. This is a large format reference book, with details and illustrations of military aircraft. I have the equivalent volume from 1977 also. I devoured these things when I was a kid. I find them interesting now, as they are reflective of the time they were written, at the height of the cold war. Planes that were still current then are now history. While western types are pretty well documented, anything from the Soviet Union, China or the Eastern Bloc is reduced to fuzzy blurry photos, speculation, ridiculously inaccurate in hindsight 'artists impressions', and in one case a satellite photo (a lot of Chinese stuff still falls into this category occasionally). They are fun in that things that are widely known about now were still very secret at the time. The Stealth fighter, which was operational in 1984, gets one paragraph of rumours, a completely inaccurate sketch, and an incorrect designation. It's also fun for me in seeing how the great projects of the time have panned out twenty years later. Some things that were ultimately never built are anticipated in great detail. Others show how complex and complicated defence projects can be. The French 'Rafale' fighter is an example. In 1984 it was known as the ACF, and is shown in model form, as it hadn't been built yet. Where is it in 2006? In the process of entering full scale service, after twenty years of development. Plus Gunston is one of my favourite aviation authors. He really knows his stuff, and often manages to get some humour into fairly dry topics.

'Above Wellington'-James Siers with Alex Veysey, $5
Probably the best buy, this 1985 book consists of aerial photos of Wellington and its surroundings. The photos are all from the early eighties, and are of a Wellington that I remember. Some parts are still familiar, others are very different. The picture of central Lower Hutt has no Queensgate mall or Huia pool. Where the mall is now there is a patch of waste ground that I remember as a good source of treat plants for our pet rabbits.
The thing that struck me the most, and which took me a while to figure out, is in a lot of the shots of the central city in particular, there are very few cars. I wondered where they all were, until it occured to me that in the early eighties, there was still no Sunday shopping, and Saturday shopping was only until noon generally. On the weekends the city was a ghost town, so I figure a lot of the pictures were taken on a weekend, hence no cars.
I love books like this, and am amassing a small collection of them. It helps connect you to the place you live when you see how it used to look, and you can remember the time when it looked like that.

Dinner Party

Tonight Fishy and I hosted her sister Carol, neice Megan, and the Rich/Kirsten Gestalt for dinner. I cooked. All day I was looking forward to getting home and cooking. Odd.

Chilli philly with rice crackers. The cook had scorched almonds, not liking chilli philly or rice crackers.

Crumbed beef schnitzel. Crumbed with egg yolk, breadcrumbs and secret herbs and spices. Accompanied by 'perfect' boiled rice.

Mushrooms pan fried with butter and cajun seasoning.
Steamed broccoli and peas.
Omelette from leftover crumbing egg

Steinlager, Chardonnay, pinot noir and apple juice (I wasn't hammered, but I could see it from where I was. Lucky I was sober enough to cook.)

Saucy chocolate ice cream.


Good time was had by all

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Flying High

My favourite plane movies, largely based on accuracy as I understand it (as a plane nerd). This combines two loves, planes and movies. Inspired by a comment on my snakes on a plane post, this is where I get all nerdy on yo asses.

Flight of the Intruder (1991)
Based on a book by someone who was there about the latter phases of the air war over Vietnam, well, it works better as a book (the book is something of a benchmark in the 'telling it like it was' scheme of things). The movie isn't that great plot wise. The planes however, are exactly right, right kind of plane, correct colour scheme for the period, even correct weapons load under the wings for the mission being depicted (something usually ignored by film-makers). Also all of the in cockpit instruments look like the real thing.

Empire of the Sun (1987)
Great book, not quite as great movie, but still has my favourite movie shot of all time, the track-pan from behind Jim that keeps both him and the Mustang flying past him in shot. The airfield attack shown is pretty much how it was done for real.

The Battle of Britain (1969)
Again, the planes look right, and is in general as authentic as the film-makers could make it. Notable for a shot where a low flying aircraft is seen to climb in order to not collide with a fence. Also great for the soundtrack during some of the takeoffs. An unmuffled V-12 aero engine will always sound better than any V-8, turbo or rotary. Always (I'm not really into Ford v Holden because of this).

Terminator 2 (1991)
On the list solely because the helicopter chase down the freeway was filmed for real and not faked, including the bit where it flies under the overpass.

BlackHawk Down (2001)
If the book is anything to go by, what you see on screen is pretty much the way it went down.

The Dam Busters (1954)
Again, pretty much as it happened. The Peter Jackson produced remake will likely be more realistic, as some details of the 1943 mission were still secret in 1954.

Goldeneye (1995)
The bit where 007 skydives to catch the plane is technically possible.

Thunderball (1965)
Another Bond movie where things looked right. Bond movies generally suck in terms of things looking right.

Memphis Belle (1992)
This one is interesting, as it is inspired by the first US bomber (the 'Memphis Belle') and crew to survive a tour of 25 missions over europe. It is interesting because a documentary was made about it at the time (1943), and so there is ample scope for comparing fiction to reality. And it stands up OK.

King Kong (2005)
Clearly made by someone who is into aircraft (as Peter Jackson is) and cares about the details. If you look closely in the bits when Kong is on top of the Empire State being attacked by the planes, you can see the control surfaces (rudders and stuff) on the planes moving as they manouvre, which is only stuff which will be seen by the viewer that is looking for it. The effort put into the aircraft in King Kong gives me great faith for the remake of 'The Dambusters'.

Executive Decision (1998)
Cool in that some of the plane stuff was filmed for real and not faked. There is a great shot of the F-14's turning to intercept the 747, from behind the F-14's as the 747 shoots across the frame in front of them.

Airplane (Flying High) (1980)
Awesome in so many ways. Particularly when the plane (jet) is shown with the soundtrack being of a propellered aircraft, which is very different.

Tora Tora Tora (1969)
A US/Japanese co production about the Pearl Harbour attack. They actually built a fleet of replica Japanese aircraft for this one, many of which are still flying today. Lots of great unfaked flying in this one, including an unplanned crash landing that didn't happen historically but looked so good it made it into the final cut, and a scene where the extras are literally running for their lives in a not acting kind of way, due to a completely out of control replica aircraft.

Dr Strangelove (1965)
The US Air Force wouldn't let Stanley Kubrick anywhere near an actual B-52, so he reconstructed the interior from aviation publications, and did it pretty well. Also funny as hell. And my mum wagged a uni lecture so she could go see it when she was a student. How cool is that?

True Lies (1994)
Cool again in a mostly filmed for real and not CGI'd way. Also the Harrier vertical take-off and transition into forward flight shot is very cool (I have seen this in real life, it is very impressive. And noisy).

Apocalypse now (1979)
Hueys thundering over the surf. 'Ride of the Valkyries'. Apocalyptic. No CGI.

The Bridges at Toko Ri (195?)
About US navy pilots in the Korean War. Great flying sequences, unbelievably good effects for the time, and a hero killing downer ending. Great movie.

Plane movies that make me laugh

Too many really to list.
General points about planes in movies:
Soundtrack (engine noise) is often wrong for the plane shown, or for what the plane is doing.
CGI jets often have afterburners, regardless of whether or not the real plane has them (an afterburner injects fuel into the jet exhaust, doubling the thrust, but quadrupling fuel consumption. If you see a jet with pretty yellow or purple flames coming out the back, it either has afterburners on, or is actually on fire). Real aircraft do not fly around with afterburners on all the time, but use them only as required. This would be like driving your car around with the accelarator at full throttle all the time. The main reason planes don't do this is because they would run out of fuel too quickly. If you have to ask why this is a dumb idea in your car you shouldn't be driving.
CGI planes often do things that are aerodynamically impossible.
Being able to successfully loop a helicopter is determined by the way it is built, not by the incredible skill of the pilot (sorry 'Blue Thunder'. Cool movie though).

Top Gun (1986)
Probably the best aerial photograpy ever, in any movie. I love watching this for that reason. In terms of accuracy, it is not so good. The film-makers suffered from the limitation of having to keep everything in frame, so the distances between the duelling aircraft are somewhat closer than in real life, but swirling dots don't make good cinema. From what I understand of air combat tactics, Maverick's trademark pull up manouvre would probably get him killed in a real fight. Also most of the F-14s (Maverick's jet) are seen dogfighting with their wings swept forward, which is unlikely in a real fight. Wings forward means slow; in reality there is a saying 'speed is life' (speed can be traded for height, turning, or escaping. If you have energy you can use it to better your position, if you don't you run out of options), which means F-14's dogfighting properly would have the wings swept back for speed, maximising their aircraft's good abilities to neutralise their opponents good abilities (the Skyhawks (Jester, Viper) could easily out manouvre an F-14 at slower speeds, but could not compete with an F-14 in terms of outright speed or climbing ability).
According to the commentary on the DVD by the actual Top Gun pilots who did the flying, there is only one realistic combat manouvre on screen (a 'rolling scissors', which is kinda complicated to explain, but I know what it is). Also according to the commentary, the way Goose dies actually happened to someone. Yes I have the DVD. It's brilliant. I used to hate this film, but I have learned to love it again.

Iron Eagle (1985)
Terrible in many ways. Kind of the evil twin of 'Top Gun'. Not realistic. Interesting in that while it is an american movie, the F-16's used for filming are actually Israeli (the camouflage paint scheme is unique to Israel, and very different from US F-16s). I'm not sure if it was filmed in Israel, or in the states before the aircraft were delivered to Israel.
The sequels are worse.

Pearl Harbour (2001)
Dire. Just dire. Maybe ten seconds of good flying stuff in the whole movie. Mostly a cartoon really.

Executive Decision (1998)
Hmm. On both lists. The Stealth plane that delivers the commandos to the 747 as depicted has no room for engines. Still, Steven Seagal's character dies because of it, so maybe it is a good thing.

Stealth (2005)
Didn't actually see this one, but the trailer showed fictional 'stealth' aircraft zooming around at low altitude and in daylight, which isn't that stealthy if you think about it.

Airforce One (1997)
I've seen better CGI on a PSone. In 1997. Also exhibits the 'afterburners all the time' syndrome.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Freakin Nirvana

Nevermind is predictably number one album you should own according to C4 voters. At the risk of cynically incurring a controversy, Nirvana made great music, but I wonder if they would be on the pedestal they seem to occupy if Kurt Cobain wasn't dead.
I like the Uchoose top 40, even if the top 10's tend to be a little predictable.
It is gratifying to note that I own a healthy proportion of tonights top 40, although once your CD collection gets big enough this is probably inevitable.
Last time I counted I had over 350 CD's, but that was a few months ago, so I have no idea how many I am carrying at the moment.
I know a guy who had 1500 CD's, but that was ten years ago, who knows how many he has now.

Snakes on a plane

Listening to: You choose top 40 albums you must have. 'Rumours' by Fleetwood Mac is in at 20. They are playing a recent live version of 'Go your own way', which is my second favourite Mac song after 'Dreams'. 'Go' is one of the best driving songs ever. It's just such a good track. And yes, I have a copy of 'Rumours'.

So I wound up at the above on Friday night, despite having a publicly stated non desire to see it. And I enjoyed most of it, which is good. Having an audience willing to shout and clap helped immeasurably.
I don't generally like horror stuff, and found most of the various snake related dispatches disturbing no matter how wildly implausible. I enjoyed what I thought was a knowing effort on the part of the producers to include every disaster/action/horror movie cliche they could think of.
It reminded me of the time D3vo and I went to see 'Last Action Hero', and Rich and I went to see 'Starship Troopers', and how both times we were the only ones in the audience who got the joke.
Since a plane is important to the plot, and some readers will know my tendencies, here are some plane inconsistencies, in a not at all serious way. This probably contains spoilers.

-There is no avionics compartment below the cockpit in a 747 as shown in the movie, as the flight deck is directly above the forward main cabin and there is no room. So all the people getting bit down there couldn't happen.
-If the snakes were released in the cargo hold, which is below the passenger cabin, how do they get into the roofspace above the cabin? Ducting maybe, but for that matter, how do they get into the cabin at all, prior to the dropping from the ceiling stuff?
-How come the snakes use the roofspace to get into every part of the cabin except the forward section?
-The upstairs first class section appears to be too big, but its been a while since I've been in one of those, so I could be wrong.
-The decompression thing probably wouldn't work, but it does look cool.
-The flight simulator teaching you how to fly thing actually has some basis in reality. I know this from personal experience, having several hundred hours on various simulators, and one or two fying an actual aircraft. I have been told by instructors that time on a good PC flight sim does give you more of a clue when it comes to the real thing, and I found that to be true in practice.

The above in no way detracts from my enjoyment of the movie.

Useless 747 trivia
-It is an icon. The term 747 needs no explanation when used in conversation.
-It is aparently possible for a 747 to achieve supersonic speed (which it isn't designed for) in a dive. I'm not sure anyone has actually tried this and survived, but it has been done with its older the Boeing 707. The 747 has the fastest cruising speed of any airliner now that Concorde has been retired. A 747 brought down by a bomb in the 80's reputedly went supersonic as it dived into the ocean.
-A 747 has performed a loop-de-loop (not intentionally) and remained intact. One was caught in extreme turblence over the Indian Ocean. Later analysis of the flight recorder showed that the plane had technically completed a loop. It had a load of passengers aboard, which must have been a hell of a ride. It is theoretically possible to barrel roll a 747 (also done with a 707, also done in a Concorde), but again I'm not sure if anyone has tried it.
-The main cabin of a 747 is longer than the Wright Brothers first flight.
-A 747 briefly became the world's largest glider in 1982, when one flew through a cloud of volcanic ash, which caused all of the engines to stop one by one. Eventually once clear of the cloud the engines were able to be restarted.
-A 747 holds the record for the most passengers ever carried on one aircraft, after one evacuted 674 people from Darwin after Cyclone Tracy in 1974.
-A 747 has recently been trialled as a water bombing aircraft, for the purposes of fighting forest fires. Air Force One is a 747 (actually there are two Air Force One's. They only officially become 'one' when the president is aboard). The 'Doomsday' planes are 747's as well.
-Boeing took possibly the largest commercial risk in manufacturing history when it started developing the 747. If it had been a failure in the marketplace the company would have failed with it. It essentially created its own market.
-It is one of the few aircraft that still makes me stop and stare when I see one in real life. It has spent 30 years as the largest airliner around. Only the new Airbus A380 is bigger.
-Contrary to popular belief, 747's can be flown in and out of Wellington airport safely, and Qantas did just that in the 70's and early 80's. They don't come here for economic reasons, as the length of Wellington's runway limits the maximum weight of the aircraft (heavier planes need longer runways), and thus reduces the amount of weight available for important stuff like fuel or money making passengers and cargo. The 747's that Qantas flew here were special models that weren't as affected by the weight issue. They were replaced by 767's in the 80's, which have since been replaced by smaller 737's, for money reasons rather than performance ones.
-When it comes to the 'Waynes World' thing of sitting on the end of the runway as a plane fills the sky above you, a 747 is pretty hard to beat. Never managed it myself, although I have sat under a few 767's, which are almost as big. Wellington is unique in it's opportunties to fill the sky directly above your head with fast moving metal, with roads close to both ends of the runway.

I want you

Rolling out another oldie here...

From mid 1997, its Darth Vaders recruiting poster. Saw a guy wearing this at the cricket at the basin reserve (us vs Zimbabwe I think), and being an star wars fan, had to have one. I got it at Ground Zero as it was, in the James Smith's market. This was at the height of the hype surrounding the re release of the special editions of the original trilogy. At that time Ground zero had a fairly complete collection of all the original kenner Star Wars toys on display which was cool.
The text reminds me of Private Jokers interview in 'Full Metal Jacket' ("meet interesting people and kill them"). I don't have too many memories specific to this T. It was my netball T for a while. It has seen a lot of court time. For some reason I was ultra conservative in my 90's T shirt purchasing, so the thing is an XL, and doesn't get out much these days, unless I'm wearing something else under it.