Friday, 24 February 2017

How to confuse the tourists (and locals!)

Well I was at the Botanic Gardens for the first time in many a year on Monday to meet up with an old friend for coffee. The new cafe is ilex Cafe and as is normal in this day and age, the floorplan of the cafe REQUIRES you to enter through a gift shop. This gift shop is of course labelled as the Visitor Centre but nevertheless has the obligatory overseas made kiwi souvenirs in it.

Anyway at the entrance of the corridor that leads to the cafe there are a couple of visitor information stands including a map of Hagley Park. It took me so long to understand it I took a photo of this map.

The fundamental issue is, of course, the map has been orientated to point East..... EAST..... EAST.
Now I understand that with a physical map in your hand some people might be more comfortable to turn it to correspond to the direction that they are travelling in. But this map is printed on a board inside a corridor with no obvious way to ascertain what direction you're currently facing. I have NEVER EVER seen a map of Christchurch printed this way. ALL maps (tourist or otherwise) available here will have a North at the top of the map. Indeed I would think 99.9% of all tourist maps are printed this way.

This must be so confusing to anyone visiting the city. Why have a map that is different to every other map? And it makes no sense. The focus of the map is obviously the Botanic Gardens and the park. If you look at the shape it is clear that this would fit better if rotated 90 degrees.

So I looked at the map a bit closer and noticed that it was associated with Find:ChCh website. So I visited the website of Find:ChCh and went to the Botanic Gardens and Visitor Centre section where the map is clearly the 'right' way up. Hmm that seems consistent...NOT.

So what happened. Who was the "You had one job" idiot that produced this confusing and ill thought through Visitor Map?? It would be nice to know.

Whilst I was there I even noticed people looking at the map who were clearly confused. I hope someone at sometime makes a change to this map, it really does not make any sense.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Music Education

This post was written a good few years ago (2011) but is as relevant today as it was then. It was saved as a draft as it wasn't quite complete. I've now managed to finish it!!

A couple of experiences over the last week have led me to this point where I need to share some thoughts on youth and music.

The first was a question that my daughter asked me during an episode of American Idol. Now I've got to say that I don't recall how we ever got to be watching this on the TV as she is the only one that is really interested in this show and unfortunately she had already received a season ban on the show for an earlier misdemeanor. (details surrounding this long forgotten) Anyway, the show was on and there was obviously a break in the actual competition (if you can call it that) and there was a guest segment where one of the seasons contestants got to sing with a hero of theirs (or at least that's what appeared to be happening).
So on trucks Rob Halford, looking to be fair not too bad given his age (close to 60), and launches into 'Living after midnight'. At this point my daughter asks 'Who are Judas Priest?'. I have to say that I was, at the time, quite taken back and was considering carefully how to respond to this question (as this is really important when dealing with questions around rock facts) when the second half of the segment kicked in with 'Breaking the Law' and almost immediately all three offspring piped up with 'Oo oo, I know this one' followed by 'Isn't this a Tenacious D song?' How now to respond to these comments/question???

The second incident occurred as we drove back from eldest son's parent/teacher afternoon. Said son was recounting how he had spent time that day with another boy named Eugene. I commented, in the typical Dad who isn't that funny way, that his friend should be careful with that axe. This comment was met by a total lack of response bordering on actual silence/confusion. I repeated that I thought that Eugene should be careful with that axe, but alas still no response.

Now I appreciate I am from an elder generation, however I've got to say that the younger generation doesn't seem to have anywhere near the thirst and desire for knowledge around music that those of us that are now in our thirties/forties etc had at the same age.

I remember that from a really early age I wanted to listen to and hear as many types and styles of music that I could, if nothing more than to decide what I actually liked and wanted to know/learn more about. Often that involved finding out about music that 'older people' listened to so I could understand where the current music had come from. I wanted to hear and learn about the music from the fifties and sixties as well as listening to music of the late seventies and eighties. Where has that gone to now?

How many of our children know anything about music that isn't/wasn't produced by an industry that is solely focused on making a quick buck? From my experience this is fundamental to most music publishers nowadays. The proliferation of TV shows dedicated to producing a new pop star / group every year is testament to this process. When did you last hear an original song on any of these shows save the one penned by 'the famous writers' to produce that season winning artist sign off and 'allow' the new artist to (cue fake US accent) 'a recording contract'.

Anyway I've got my memories from the good old days when real music was real music and I hear Vinyl is on it's way back so I'm sorted. Rock on.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Can We Play It Again?

Hi all,

Just a quick note to let you know that I now have a new blog about board games which is less "Grumpy Old Man". More family friendly (no profanity) and slightly more informative from a factual point of view. First game review is from Who wants to be a millionaire (2000)

Board games are cool!

You can find it here

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Drive to Survive

Once again today I was reminded of my 'Grumpy Old Man Syndrome" that I described in an earlier post, whilst driving to town.

For a good number of years it seems I have struggled with the behaviour and habits of (IMHO) inconsiderate other road users. There are many actions drivers choose to take while driving that irritate me greatly however today I share just one classic example with you. (Further irritations may follow in future blogs.)

So today, driving at a leisurely 90 heading along SH1, the driver in front, who incidentally just HAD to get in front of me before the passing lane ended, decided that it was now the ideal time to cleanse his windscreen/windshield. Quite why he had do do this at this time (and he was an he, as it happened), will remain a mystery for eternity, however I'm sure you can guess what happened next.

Within about 5 seconds HIS windscreen was sparkling clean (I am assuming this of course because as you are probably guessing correctly ahead), mine was anything but. I had had delivered, free of cost, a mixture of dirt and screenwash along with the inevitable overspray of clean screenwash that never actually made it onto the windscreen of the car in front, in the first place. So now I could not see clearly anymore and was therefore put in a situation that I should never have been in. What were my options? Do I risk an accident because I can't see a thing or totally piss off the driver behind. I would have liked a third option, one that I hope to describe later! Anyway as you can imagine the upshot was that the driver behind got the same treatment as I had received and consequently the domino effect no doubt continued until there were no further cars within splatter distance behind.

Now I believe I should have had a third option and I think that there are two ways in which the  above experience could be avoided. Both of these suggestions involve new technology or invention, and both do have their merits. I would describe method a) as the passive solution and method b) as the active solution. I'll leave you to guess which is my favourite.

Method a) involves a device that is built into the vehicle and is activated when the windscreen washers are used. This could for example be a flap-like apparatus that sits at the top of the car and catches/diverts all overspray whether direct or indirect from the windscreen. In an ideal world this would also pump this collected sludge-liquid through the vehicle and deposit it directly to the crotch area of the driver. To be fair to the driver this should only operate when the vehicle is travelling above 30kphs, after all you should be checking out your visibility BEFORE you start driving anyway. I haven't quite worked out if there would be a 'get out of jail free' option on this system if the crap on your screen came from the vehicle in front but maybe method b) provides this solution.

Method b) involves a device that is built into the vehicle and is activated by the driver of the car following the offending forward vehicle (hope that isn't too tautological). This device is basically a big 'fuck off you, you bastard' water cannon that can be targeted and fired at will by remote control from your vehicle. Depending on your personality the contents of this cannon could be anything from water (recommended for protection against future legal action) through rotting fruit pulp (sticky and smelly) to even paint stripper or non carcinogenic acid (probably not recommended). I suppose you could have various loading tanks to premix your cocktail depending how pissed off you are on the day!

I think that if either of the options were available earlier today then the outcome would have been an extra load of washing for the driver in front or a much more internally content ME probably driving as fast as I could in the opposite direction!

My favourite..jeez aren't water cannons fun!!!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Supermarket Etiquette

I think that as I get older (you're not old, I hear you cry!), I find that my level of tolerance towards others is gradually diminishing. Not that I necessarily consider that is a negative thing, I think in some ways it helps you focus on those people that are worth focusing on.

Today I found myself once more in the aisles of uncertainty in Pak n Maze! Now I understand that the primary shopper at that time of day (around noon) is likely to be;
  1. female and
  2. probably with another human less able to manoeuvre through the store than themselves.
However this still leads me to ask the question, why don't you at least have some sort of strategic plan to get around this store in the least amount of time???? You're not buying shoes, or frocks just pasta and apples.

Supermarkets in my opinion need more traffic management and certainly more movement officials. What's wrong with single directional flow? If you 'park' your trolley in the middle of the aisle it gets towed away! If you're not moving at least faster than a dead snail then you go to the back of the line (outside in the rain!). Shoppers need to be checked in prior to entry to ensure they have at leasta half legible list, otherwise NO ENTRY.

And as for checkouts, I am wondering if the 'loverly' checkout ladies have had more than what would appear to be 'McDonalds type parot training'? I am toying with the following reply next week when, on cue, I will hear 'How are you today?'. I really really want to start with the reply...'Well now you come to ask, not too good actually, I was feeling alright yesterday but today I have this awful pain in my bowels....or penis... or whatever. It's got to be worth it just to see the reaction, what do you think?