NZFF 2012


Farewell My Queen / Beautiful. Loved.


The Hunt / Distressing. Loved.


Bernie / Odd. True story. Shirley MacLaine is fantastic. Liked.


Monsieur Lazhar / Really liked.


Sightseers / Funny. Gory. Very British. Liked.


The Ambassador / Ballsy. Liked.


The Angels’ Share / Funny. Must see for whisky lovers. Very Scottish. Loved.


No / Emotional. Goodness prevails. Really liked.


Holy Motors / Really fucking weird. Wonderful. Loved.


Sound of My Voice / Brit Marling as captivating as ever. Really liked.

Arthur’s Whisky Breakfast

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the Arthur’s Whisky Breakfast since booking tickets back in June.

On arrival at Arthur’s we were taken up the stairs and shown to our designated seats…not with our friends. We hadn’t booked tickets together but had naively assumed we’d be able to sit wherever we liked. Thankfully the team at Arthur’s (and Martha’s!) know service well and didn’t let it register on their faces just how annoying we were being messing up their seating arrangements. It was all okay in the end, Brendan and I sat at “the best table in the place” with Laura, Tim, and Paul.

Cranachan

A menu sat at on our plates showing us what to look forward to and coffee orders were taken (not included in the price but rich and delicious). An introduction to the Whisky Breakfast and Arthur’s was made by co-owner Anita (McLeod, wearing the McLeod tartan) and we were given a brief history lesson on the building. Courtney was introduced as our taste master for the morning and our first course of cranachan was served with Macallan whisky.

Kedgeree

Next the kedegeree was served with a Japanese whisky. We’ve been wanting to try Japanese whisky for a while and this one bought out spiciness in the kedgeree beautifully. Courtney told us to save out money for something better though. The Yamazaki has taken advantage of recent awards won by Japanese whiskies and flooded the market. I loved the smell of Yamazaki, it reminded me of fruit mince, and the taste was fine if a bit sharp. But Courtney suggested us buying one less bottle or saving a bit longer to get something better like Nikka Yoichi.

Rabbit Pie

A rabbit pie with whisky onion jam was served with the Islay classic Laphraoig. I love Islay whiskies with their strong smokey peat flavours.

Finally we were served a whisky hot chocolate with shortbread. Ardmore whisky mixed with dairy milk chocolate that we just didn’t want to end.

Despite the incredible food and whisky on offer the highlight was hearing Courtney talk about the whiskies and her job as the spirits equivalent of a sommelier.

Selling spirits for Moore Wilson’s she sometimes had a few hundred open bottles sitting on her shelves, Courtney refused to let a customer spend big money on stock without having tasted the product. Likewise she said she doesn’t approve of people selling spirits if they don’t like drinking themselves, and she’s sick of bar staff at good establishments knowing long histories of their cocktails and nothing about the whiskies behind the counter.

Arthur’s Whisky Breakfast tickets sold out weeks after going on sale but if you’re attending on either of the next two Saturdays you are in for a treat!

Whisky Breakfast menu

Canary Yellow

ring1

I used to hate yellow. But I’ve been appreciating its vibrance more and more the past few months.

An email from Sarah at LuShae Jewelry at the start of November offered me jewellery for a review (good, bad or ugly, I wouldn’t have it any other way). Who I am to say no to free jewels!

My first pick was sold out. Sad face. So I went with my second, the Canary Princess.

Shipping was super quick taking only a couple of days to get to me. Unfortunately the rings don’t come in half sizes, I’m about a 6.5, but the 7 still fits nicely. The sparkle is worth any slipping around my finger.

At the moment LuShae has free shipping anywhere in the world and a lot of their jewellery is discounted.

Get on it!

ring 2

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The Deathly Hallows - Harry Potter rocky cliff top

Now in their seventh movie, the Harry Potter kids have finally shown how far their acting has come. They’ve realised that a stern voice and a frown is not the only way to convey the seriousness of their situation and now opt for a look or a sigh instead. It makes for some pretty hilarious scenes.

Hilarity is big in The Deathly Hallows, I found myself actual lolling on more than a few occasions and I’m fairly certain it had nothing to do with my midnight screening related tiredness. The laughter however is challenged by some pretty dark scares. The kind you would not let your child see for fear of ongoing nightmares, the kind that makes 20 somethings jump out of their seats!

The real scene stealer though? The landscape scenery. Deathly Hallows Part 1 is focused on Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s search for the Horcruxes and their constant move through the UK to avoid snatchers. Lake side, high on a cliff, or in a snow covered forest I felt like I’d seen it all before. And then I realised it was because this time the movie looked exactly how I’d pictured it when I read the books.
Runner up is the beautiful animation scene that explains the Deathly Hallows, unexpected but perfect.

If you attend without the requisite knowledge you are likely to get lost. There aren’t any long winded explanations of back stories going on here. Half Blood Prince wasn’t nearly as true to the book but magically Deathly Hallows Part 1 carries on as if it’s following on from the Half Blood Prince book rather than the movie.

Kick Ass

hit girl

Comic book style ultra violence, cute nerdy boys, bad ass chicks being bad ass, dramatic music scores playing behind one-against-many shoot outs. If you like any of those things you should go see this movie. If you like all of those things you may spend the whole movie throwing your arms about exclaiming “Oh My God” or “Amaze” or “Ack she’s SO cool” while sporting a dumb agape face because you’re stupified by how awesome the whole thing is.

Comic book movies are my favourite genre. (Is that even a genre? It should be by now) And Kick Ass is my favourite of all the comic book movies. Chloe Moretz is perfect as 11 year old killing machine Hit Girl. This movie deserves its 18+ rating.

It’s so awesome that Hit Girl overtook Gogo Yubari as my favourite bad ass.

It’s so awesome I want to go see it again.

It’s so awesome that even Nic Cage nailed it.

Note that I haven’t read the comic so this is from my view as a complete newbie to the Kick Ass story.

Men Who Hate Women

Thanks for indulging me my moment of emo. I’m usually such a happy cynic that when these periods of melancholy and introspection come, and I still feel I can write, I like to embrace them. To bring the drama.

I’ve been sulking about nothing in particular. The bad weather rolls in every second day. Someone says something and I take it the wrong way. I get my period. My friends having to deal with shit I couldn’t handle. None of these things are real reasons for me to be upset, but none of them are invalid either. I’m lucky I have great people around to remind me, even for a few minutes, why I’m usually happy.

Today’s weather was particularly bad and I had nowhere to be and nothing pressing to achieve so instead I watched a bunch of downloaded shows and a few movies.

Cash – OK but not amazing. Sean Bean is great as usual.

Whip It – What’s not to love about derby!? Some lesbian allusions would have been nice, but it was pretty fun anyway. Alia Shawkat aka Maeby from Arrested Development is awesome.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – This one is definitely not a date movie. Rape, murder, and subtitles. It was pretty horrific to watch in parts. Over all though it was very well done, I love the Swedes, and I have a new girl crush in leading lady Noomi Rapace. Particularly in this movie as she is a damn hot goth. The Swedish title works far better for a stand alone film: Men Who Hate Women (translated obv), but as this is a three part series I can forgive the new English title.

noomi 1
Noomi 3
Noomi 2
Noomi 4

Zombies and Seamonsters and…Jane Austen?

I asked Kim if I could do a post while she was on her well deserved break and to my great delight she said yes! The problem was I did not know what to talk about, so after a quick moment of contemplation my eye landed on an early Christmas present form my girlfriends parents. The wonderful book Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and so I thought I would share with you’ll my thoughts on this book and its friend Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Now these two books, from Quirk Books, are fantastic! They are mash-up works combining the classic novels of Jane Austen with zombie crunching mayhem as it he case with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and deadly sea creatures in Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.

pride-and-prejudice-and-zombies

I’ll start with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. This book sticks very close to the original by Jane Austen but has several very important differences. The major one being that zombies, or the unmentionables in polite conversation, roam the English countryside devouring all who fall into their path. The second difference is the Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters are all highly trained zombie killers. Their mother is still trying to marry them all off to wealthy suitors and Elizabeth still does clash with Mr. Darcy who is very accomplished zombie killer. But like all good Jane Austen books it does all work out in the end.

Throw in a few ninjas, zombie brides and you have a great read. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Jane Austen and zombies.

sense and sensibility and seamonsters

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters is the second of Quirk Books mash-ups and it is a great read just like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. While Pride and Prejudice and Zombies sticks close to the story line of the original, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters is very different from its original. It is a mix of a Jane Austen love story and a Jules Verne adventure, with a leviathan, undersea cities, the Devonshire Fang-Beast and a French orangutan servant you have a cracking read that is full of laughs and will bring a smile to anyone’s dial. Happy Reading!

Have an awesomesauce day!
Crumble the Elder

Chris is a high school teacher in Central Otago. He’s a little geeky, loves history, and blogs about the things he does and loves at crumbleincromwell. Check it.

Afternoon Raj

Afternoon Raj water

While you could call me biased – I know a few of these guys personally and have been a big fan since I first heard them – there’s really no need to doubt my word though.

Afternoon Raj is a five piece band that mixes prog rock with reggae, dub, and ska influences. I love to skank so I have a huge amount of fun dancing to these guys! The Raj’s ringleader James Mason draws the crowd in with a huge smile and a genuine love for what he’s doing. Bede, Matt, Andrej, and Nick impress with guitar solos and great beats.

The crowd grows every time I see them play and more than a handful of us have learnt the words to their older songs. They know it and use it to their advantage! Their show on Saturday, at Wellington’s cool kid venue Mighty Mighty, kicked off with number one crowd favourite Lickity Split, a song that creeps up and kind of explodes. After a few originals guitarist Bede Eagle stole the mic to sing a cover (turns out it was another original!), I’m not sure what song it was but Brandon Boyd (of Incubus fame) could easily have been the one singing it. And then the short set concluded with a few newer originals.

Quite frankly I was relieved when the set finished, I was about to pass out from heat exhaustion. In a matter of 30 minutes I managed to go from tipsy and excited for the music, to AHH WOoo *dance* *dance*, to omg I think I’m going to drown in my own sweat, to I need fresh air and a chair or I’m going to throw up. It was awesome.

Afternoon Raj is the sound of Hawkes Bay in the big city, it’s the sound of summer, and it’s for dub and rock fans alike. These boys may work in offices by day but they’re drunk musical hippies at heart, singing at concerts bringing awareness to global warming and generally trying to save the world.
They’re yet to record an album, an album I’m looking forward to having on repeat, and I’m nervous about how they’ll capture their perfect live sound. They’re smart guys though, I’m sure they’ll figure it out.

Check out Afternoon Raj on Facebook and MySpace. (Don’t take the recordings on MySpace as an indicator of their talent, just an indicator of the style.)

Hear them in real life on the 6th of November at Watusi for a gig I am sadly going to be out of town for. :[

afternoon raj icecream

Photo credits to James Schollum

Vivo Restaurant Review

vivo wellington

Although our new sommelier friend was loud and crass and drunk, ruined a (gross pashing) couples date, broke a glass and ended up being politely told by his friend/the owner (Blair – so lovely despite our rudeness) that it was time to leave, his wine choosing ability was not impaired. I have neither the interest or money to need to remember what we drank but I can tell you it was two whites and a red that were fucking amazing, and I’m quite glad I don’t know how much they cost or I’d be feeling more than a bit guilty.

For the sometimes wine drinker like myself who can’t tell one amazing wine from another it wasn’t so much the wine I was interested in. I didn’t realise I was there for the food either, until I tried it. And boy oh boy, did I try it. Like sex on a plate the antipasti platter was some of the best food I have tasted in my whole life. I am kicking myself for being oblivious to the delights of Vivo until now, labelling it as a wine bar I wouldn’t be interested in when really the perfect food and comfy but flashy booths are everything I have been looking for.

I know where I’ll be taking my next out of town guest!

Vivo Enoteca Cucina, 19 Edward St, Wellington

The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown Review

The-Lost-Symbol-by-Dan-Brown

I really loved the Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. Many say the writing is shocking, and note major plot holes, but they were easy to read thrillers and if an author can keep me entertained I consider that a success. (Whether or not they would get full marks from their english teacher.) If you didn’t enjoy those books you’re going to hate this one!

The Lost Symbol is over filled with chapters explaining the history and science surrounding the plot, making what could have been a great fast paced read into a clunky one. There was at least one entirely unnecessary chapter and probably 100 pages of superfluous description that could have been removed. This book will make a better movie because the extras will be stripped away. A new editor could put Dan Brown’s next book back on track.

The Lost Symbol starts with a note that all places, rituals, art, and sciences in the book are real. It seems that Dan really just wants to talk about symbology and science but has been forced to weave a fictional story around it. The science in the book is very interesting, just not something I want spoon fed to me when I’m already struggling to get through the super slow brain processes of a supposedly genius professor. I found myself figuring out the codes pages, if not chapters, before Robert Langdon which means he either sucks under pressure, or just plain sucks. There was one heart racing scene in the middle of the book, and it all goes downhill from there. The biggest let down was a lame la di da ending with no real acknowledgement of what the characters had been through.

The most fascinating part was finding out that The Boy’s boss dresses up in robes, drinks red wine out of a skull, and acts out the killing and rebirth of other Masons. Apparently the Masons are quite happy with how they’re portrayed in the book. It makes them look as dated, superstitious, and patriarchal as rumours have always lead people to believe.

2.5/5