Thursday, 28 February 2008

Wellington Comedy Club

Another night, another Fringe show. Tonight, it was the Wellington Comedy Club at the San Francisco Bathhouse. The old Indigo bar is a really cool venue in Cuba Street. The Comedy Club is now cashing in on being the former stamping ground of the Flight of the Conchords, Wellington's "local boys done well", and rightly so.

Unfortunately, names escape me tonight. The MC was absolutely hilarious. An Iraqi-American, he apparently picked up his Arabian accent from living in Newtown for just two weeks. He could have kept us entertained for ages and it was great to laugh along to his anecdotes in between acts. A ho-hum musical comedy duo got things started, followed by a rather bland, self-deprecating guy who strung together a whole lot of one liners and random jokes. The third guy was good. (Geez, why can't I remember his name? Nathan someone??)

The evening's main act was Andre King, "a Maori from South Auckland". Definitely not a show to bring the kids to (the poor 12-year-old in the front table looked like she wanted to shrivel up and die, and her parents and older sister looked equally uncomfortable), there is nowhere Andre did not go and no subject that was taboo. The difference between him and emerging comedians is that he pulled it all together with style. A tall, imposing figure on such a small stage, he had us in fits of laughter in the most politically incorrect manner. Bloody marvellous! Stand up comedy is alive and well in Wellington.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

What is the meaning of life?

God bless Google!

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Jane Austen is Dead

Fringe is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're gonna get. Well, something like that. I've seen some great shows so far. Tonight, Jane Austen is Dead was a real mixed bag, with some ambitious character swapping by the actor and a few witty anecdotes thrown in for good measure. While she managed to pull some of them off really well, there were some truly ambiguous moments that I'm still wondering about even now.

Sadly, my friend and I could relate to so many of the dating and relationship experiences portrayed in this play. They got lots of nervous laughs from the mostly female audience, and perhaps a few smirks from the token males. We wondered if they were there to impress particular women, or maybe to get some tips for themselves about what not to do? Either way, this was definitely a show for the ladies and while it lacked the depth it tried to convey, it was a harmless night out.

Monday, 25 February 2008


Prisons fascinate me and freak me out in equal measure. Visiting Alcatraz Island was a haunting experience that I will never forget. I've been enthralled by Dead Man Walking, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Green Mile in ways I can't explain. Putting the actual crime aside, the loss of one's freedom is one of the most horrifying scenarios I can imagine. Don't even get me started on the death penalty.

Tonight's Fringe show at Bats was called Charlie. It is the story of a 30 year old woman awaiting execution for murder. Anna develops a relationship with the new prison guard in her final days on death row. Predictably, Anna and the guard explore their own mortality and what it means to be alive, but with an unexpected outcome.

Hmm. The fact that I have an early morning meeting, yet am still sitting here at nearly midnight blogging about this show means that Charlie is probably one that will stay in my mind well after the Fringe Festival has finished. To me, that's the mark of good theatre.

Sunday, 24 February 2008


The Improvisors are a staple in Wellington's comedy/theatre diet and have been going for as long as I can remember. I've enjoyed lots of their shows in recent years and loved Camp during last year's Fringe Festival.

Spooked last night was pretty darn good. As the crew are fond of saying, "no matter what happens, you will get the show you deserve". In other words, if you feed in cr@ppy ideas, that's how the show will turn out. The same goes for the opposite. So, we ended up with an improvised comedy/horror involving a wedding party at the Indian Gardens in Hamilton (a scary place) and some freaky events involving popcorn.

I was really impressed with the crew's ability to slip into any time setting (1974 and 1892, from memory) and morph bits of New Zealand's history into the story. Lots of very 'NZ' jokes (and I wonder how much of these were actually picked up by our overseas friends) but they were also cleverly wound into the unfolding plot. Some great accents, too. Yup, I guess things did go 'bump' in the night.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

My new toy

I have a new toy. I've now got a Nokia 6234 as my work phone. I'm not majorly into phone features and gadgets. In all honesty, I was just thrilled to get a phone that I didn't have to charge twice a day, and one that has buttons which work when I push them (and not all the ones around that button either). This means that I won't need to spend 5 minutes writing a 50-character txt! Sounds too fussy? Maybe I'm hard to please. But I'm happy now. :-)

I've found a cool site which allows you to download heaps of free wallpapers, screensavers, ringtones, themes, and games for this mobile. But where to start? There are some pretty cool wallpapers, but I'll get to them later. I've been picking ringtones. So far I've got one for the whanau, one for dance buddies, one for my sweetie ... still looking for work and friends songs. Now, tell me why I'm not just sleeping in on a wet Saturday morning after a looooong week?

Thursday, 21 February 2008

To blog or not to blog?

I maintained a 'serious' blog in a former life. I had grandiose ideas about how it would help my personal reflective practice and that I would have philosophical debates with others about important issues in my career field, and this would ultimately help my own professional development and learning blah blah blah.

Geez, it was hard work.

Don't underestimate the time it takes to blog regularly on 'serious' topics. I think they are a great idea and enjoyed my time as a 'serious' blogger. The benefits are many, but I'm also realistic about the time I have to spare on a regular basis to undertake this process. I guess I'll eventually try and get back into the routine of blogging 'seriously'. It just might not be soon.

So now I'm happy to be self-indulgent, blogging when and if I feel like it about whatever topic takes my fancy ... and I love it! Occasionally I am tempted to blog 'seriously' again, and I'm hiding the shadows at work and hoping they won't notice that I haven't yet activated my blog account, but I'm sure I'll get over it. It's much more fun being a Café Chick.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Around the World on 80 Quid

I saw my first Fringe Festival show tonight. Around the World on 80 Quid is the story of an Irish gypsy fiddler and his adventures upon leaving Galway, Ireland, and travelling to Wellington. He just couldn't prevent himself from drinking, getting into trouble, and playing in Irish pubs all around the world. Each of these temptations were as appealing and deadly as they were in the country before, with similar consequences, yet ...

Aindrias captured the spirit of Italy, Greece, Romania, United Arab Emirates, India, Thailand, Australia, and finally New Zealand in music, accents, and mannerisms. I loved the way he fashioned a tea chest bass out of a box, a broom, and a length of rope and broke into a jazzy version of Sunny Afternoon by The Kinks - obviously something he wanted to play, and managed to include the song without it seeming contrived.

I'd happily see this show, or other works by Aindrias, again if he were to return to Wellington. Slan!

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Monsters Inc

Monsters Inc (2001) is the coolest movie. I watched it last night for the first time and wished I'd seen it when it first came out. As with all the computer-animated Pixar movies, Monsters In has a delightful balance of humour aimed at both kids and adults and a real "ohhhhh" moral to the story (without being cringe-worthy). This is a great story and John Goodman and Billy Crystal are in fine form as the two lead monsters.

I love the story about Mary Gibbs (Boo). Apparently, she was so young (2 1/2 years) that it proved difficult to get her to stand in the recording studio and act her lines. (funny that.) Instead, the crew simply followed her around with a microphone and cut Boo's lines together from the things she said while she played. Imagine what her school friends will say when they find out she was Boo!

Friday, 15 February 2008

Flowers from my sweetie

Aren't they pwetty?

Lucky me!

Which way do you go?

There are lots of tests around which apparently determine whether you are left brain or right brain dominant. I've done heaps of them over the years and usually end up quite well balanced (ha!), with a tendency towards right brain dominance. I tried this test today on Similarminds and these were my results:

Brain Lateralization Test Results
Right Brain (66%) The right hemisphere is the visual, figurative, artistic, and intuitive side of the brain.
Left Brain (40%) The left hemisphere is the logical, articulate, assertive, and practical side of the brain
Are You Right or Left Brained?
personality tests by

Tuesday, 12 February 2008


I love a good, well thought-out thriller or drama. I prefer movies that are driven by character development, rather than relying on plot, setting, or special effects to make an impact. Crash (2004/I) has several stories which interweave during two days in Los Angeles and involves a collection of inter-related characters.

Crash highlights just how little we know about each other, and also ourselves. It shows that, no matter how someone appears to be on the outside, everyone has a vulnerability and, often, the source of this vulnerability is family. Our outward actions are influenced by our pasts and inner conflicts, even if others don't see what they are, and our perceptions of those we come into contact with are based on a long history or life story that we may never know about.

I won't give anything away about the goings-on in this film, except to say that I'm still thinking about the characters three days after watching it. It's not often that I'm affected in this way by a movie. Definitely one to watch again.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Fringe Festival

8 February - 2 March 2008

The Fringe Festival begins tomorrow. It is a delightful feast of music, dance, theatre, arts, and other events by both experienced and up-and-coming performers. Wellington knows how to put on a show, and with a Fringe Addict Card you can't beat the pricing ... there are also free outdoor events.

So, I'm going through my constantly-filling-up diary and the Fringe Festival book and trying to work out:
  1. when I am in town (easy)
  2. what I want to see (slightly tricky - so many appealing options)
  3. whether what I want to see is on when I am in town (incredibly tricky - lots of organisation required here!)
Bring it on!!

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Mr Snuffleupagus

Do you remember Mr Snuffleupagus? Everyone of a certain generation seems to know who Snuffy is, but some are less clear about the actual details. What colour was he? [brown] Could any of the other Sesame Street characters (not adults) see him? [Yes] When was he eventually seen by the adults? [1985] Did he have a first name? [Aloysius - how do you pronounce that?] If he is a woolly mammoth, why doesn't he have tusks or ears? [Who knows?]

For everyone who ever had an imaginary friend, Snuffy was as much a source of pleasure for Big Bird as he was frustrating, in that no-one else could see him. I'm told that no-one else could see my own imaginary friends, Shalagessy, Shack and Catha. (Note: 3 friends, not 1 = typical.) I don't know why; to me, they were clear as day as we played together up path in the backyard. Shalagessy was a little Chinese girl with long plaits and wore a red tartan skirt. (Go figure.) Shack drove a pale blue truck, and Catha was a bit vague but we still had fun. They could all see each other, and we had a great time hanging out together. I'll bet they would have seen Snuffy, too, if he had found his way to my place.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Sevens fever

Too tired to write much ... posting in single words today...
Sevens. Wellington. Wow! Party. Crazy. Costumes. Dance. Wow! Tired. Singing. Stadium. Sun. Rugby. OMG. Nail-biter. Final. Won! Exhausted. Wow! NZ. Manu Samoa! (OK, that's two words.)

I'll just have to sum the rest up in photos.