Wagamama turns us away

There’s a recession on but the staff at Wagamama don’t know this.

Our family turned up there last night around 6.15pm for a quick meal. The place was buzzing and there were empty tables.

Excellent – no waiting.

Wrong – we were turned away.

A young woman told us, and the others waiting at the door, that their systems were down and (shock, horror) they were having to write everything down by hand. This meant they couldn’t serve us, or even seat us, or even take an order by hand and deliver it to the kitchen.

What is it with this reliance on electronic systems? If the maitre de had been 32 instead of 22, and had been able to add figures with a pencil and paper instead of needing to rely on a calculator then they might have been prepared to take our money instead of turning us away and leaving us with a bad taste in our mouth.

The kitchen was full of staff – are we to believe that they wouldn’t be able to cook a meal because the order was handwritten? Was management prepared to close the whole restaurant because their computer “said – No!”.

It was pathetic. We spoke to other potential diners who had also been turned away – they were from out of town. What sort of an impression did this leave them with? Being good Wellington citizens we made recommendations to them and found ourselves apologising for their bad experience.

As a result of our experience we headed to Cuba Street. I can highly recommend Rasa (next to Roger’s Tattoo Art) – an Indian and Malaysian restaurant. Small, filled with happy people, great staff (with the ability to count) and the most beautiful succulent fragrant food at very reasonable prices. And can I say how proud I am of our two seven year old boys – gobbling down butter chicken and lamb biryani like there was no tomorrow.

200 Cuba St
Phone: 04 384 7088

How much of a legend is Bear Grylls?

There is no doubt that Bear Grylls is a ‘real’ man – for the last three episodes he has pulled out his John Thomas and either drunk his own urine, or pissed into his water bottle to use it like a hottie. In tonights episode, in deepest coldest Siberia he pissed on his hand to free a frozen knife blade.

It’s hard not to get excited by this man’s antics. And tonight was pretty epic. But – I can’t help thinking that we are actually applauding the wrong man. What about the poor bugger who is the cameraman. He is doing everything that the Bear is doing but hoisting a bloody great camera at the same time.

There have been all sorts of accusations that he retreats to a 5 star hotel each night, that his escapades aren’t ‘real’. For god’s sake, this is reality TV – it’s never going to be real if it has TV after it.

But let’s also acknowledge that he does do some crazy stuff. Tonight Bear leapt into an iced-over Siberian lake for a bit of a swim (see video). He peed on his hand (already stated). He tobogganed down a hill/mountain/cliff using a deer skin from a conveniently forgotten (read placed) deer carcass (so fresh it hadn’t had an opportunity to freeze). He had a 50% strike rate on catching squirrels (who crept up and planted that one then?)

YouTube Preview Image

The real kicker for me was right at the end when he was running for the train. From a distance the train had at least 13 carriages, and the locomotive was green with a big band of yellow along it’s length. When he got close the locomotive had turned blue (from the cold?) and it had dropped the big yellow band, and also dropped quite a few of it’s carriages – down to around six.

This is the power of TV and editing. It’s silly but it’s exciting at the same time.

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Is David Bain really innocent?

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Here’s an article that everyone should have the opportunity to read. Martin van Beynen writes an opinion piece for The Press newspaper in Christchurch. He, unlike the rest of us who have ‘made our mind up’, attended the whole trial and was shocked by the time it took the jury to return their not-guilty verdict, and shocked that it wasn’t a guilty one.

Here’s how Mr van Beynen sums up the evidence that should have lead to a guilty verdict:

The reasons I am sure Bain killed his family are twofold.

The first is the incredible coincidences that we have to accept if Bain is innocent.

For instance, we have to accept, just for a start, that the following facts all have perfectly innocent explanations not connected with the death of the Bain family Bain’s clear and recent fingerprints on the murder rifle, the bruises on his face and torso, the blood of his brother on his clothes, a 20-minute delay before ringing the police after finding bodies, hearing his sister gurgling (and failing to help her), convenient changes in his story, a lens from damaged glasses (of no use to anyone else and found in his bedroom) turning up in his dead brother’s room, bizarre behaviour before and after the killings, not noticing the blood all over the laundry and putting the jersey worn by the killer in the washing.

However, the best evidence relates to the implausibility of Robin Bain shooting his family and then himself. If David Bain is not the culprit, Robin had a settled night in his caravan (we know this by the amount and quality of urine in his bladder) and then got up about 5.50am, after David had left on his paper round.

Despite David admitting he hated his father and siding strongly with his mother in every dispute, he was the one Robin wanted to spare, so he had to be out of the house.

Robin removed the clothes he slept in and dressed warmly, putting on a green jersey usually worn by daughter Arawa, a beauty queen and budding teacher, of whom he was very proud.

In the caravan, he listened to the radio, which he probably switched on before getting up.

His first stop on the way to the house where his family slept was at the letterbox, where he removed the newspaper.

Once in the house, he went to David’s room, where he took the rifle from the wardrobe and then looked for the key to the trigger lock. Although he scattered a few bullets around (David had more than 1000 rounds of ammunition in his wardrobe), he found the key in a pot on David’s desk with ease and carefully ensured other items were left in place.

He also put on David’s white dress gloves, forgetting he did not want to implicate David and also overlooking that, since he was going to end it all, it wouldn’t matter much if people knew it was him, anyway.

He loaded both magazines one five-shot and the other 10-shot with hollow-nosed .22 bullets and then headed towards the bedrooms.

He shot his sleeping wife, Margaret, just above her right eye and shot Laniet, his favourite, three times once in the cheek, once in the top of the head, and once above her left ear.

By this time, he may already have shot Stephen, his 14-year-old son, who, even as a grown boy, used to sit on his knee.

Stephen, however, had woken up and grabbed the silencer on the rifle before Robin could shoot. When he did, the bullet went through Stephen’s hand and tore a gouge out of his scalp.

Stephen, pumped up with adrenaline, fought for his life, but Robin, belying a frame described as cadaverous, soon had the better of the brave teenager, strangling him first with his T-shirt and, when he was incapacitated, putting a bullet through the top of his head, like he had done or was to do with Laniet.

He then went down to Arawa’s room. She had got up and, as she retreated into her room, he shot her in the forehead.

By now, he was covered in blood, mainly from Stephen. Did it matter, since he was going to take his own life? It did.

He went back to the caravan, perhaps having already neatly placed his blood-spattered clothes and blood-soaked socks in the laundry basket. He did not wash his hands.

To meet his maker, he chose an old pair of light-blue tracksuit pants, an equally delapidated T-shirt, an old business shirt, a brown woollen jersey and a thick hoodie. He also donned a green knitted beanie. He put on clean socks and shoes, but no underpants.

Then, he went back to the house to take his own life.

Time was marching on.

David would soon be home from his paper round and he still had to write his message on the computer.

He turned the computer on (David must now have been nearing the house) and waited 40 seconds for the computer to bring up the page for him to write his suicide note not to explain himself but to exonerate David. “Sorry you are the only one who deserved to stay.”

Then, despite executing his family in textbook style, Robin chose an extraordinarily unusual way to take his own life, placing the rifle muzzle against his left temple on a strange angle.

A shot and he was falling, spilling blood and brain matter, which somehow got on to curtains that were a long way from where his body was found.

And the spare 10-shot magazine just happened to land on its narrowest edge, right by his right hand.

Despite clutching the rifle with his unclad hands to shoot at least some members of his family and then himself, the rifle did not have a single fingerprint belonging to him, even on the steel of the silencer.

Make up your own mind.

Read the whole article here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/2518912/Plenty-of-doubt-in-Bain-jurys-verdict

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Weekly news round up

What a week!

Number 1: A man sells a 1980’s washing machine for $5,160 due to a very imaginative description he wrote for it on Trade Me. That truly shows the power of the written word and the stupidity of the company that bought the machine. An advertising agency should give the seller a job as a copywriter.

He’s now branched out into T-shirts featuring pictures of the dinosaur he saw when a portal to another dimension opened above the violently shaking washer.

Link: www.scarywashingmachine.com

Number 2: On Tuesday Dr Pita Sharples proposed that maori should be able to go to university without meeting the appropriate entry requirements. He appeared not to know that anyone over the age of 20 can be accepted into university as an adult student without pre-qualifications.

He back tracked today to suggest that maori attend learning centres where they learn to write essays. Isn’t that a secondary school?

Number 3: Lawyer Chris Comesky uses the “David Carradine” defence theory suggesting the death of An An Liu was as the result of a consensual sex act involving a tie. Enough said. I’m hoping there will be a verdict tomorrow. Do juries work in the weekend?

Number 4: Scam artist Gerard Otimi continues to charge $500 for a worthless immigration stamp to desperate Pacific Island over stayers. It appears to be an almost perfect crime as Stuff reported tonight:

The police have launched an investigation but so far no complaints have been laid.

The overstayers fear being sent home if they approach the authorities, and many of them appear to believe Mr Otimi’s visas really do mean they can legally stay in New Zealand.

Once Mr Otimi was found out he offered unrepentant and obscure justifications for his actions, in some way suggesting that he was highlighting the plight of these people, but pocketing $45,000 in the process.

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National, All Blacks, Labour, France

Young low-ranking sumo wrestlers at the Tomozu...
Image via Wikipedia

I’m half way through reading Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner‘s book Freakonomics. The book is tagged with the line “A rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything”.

Levitt poses the weirdest questions, which he already knows the answers to, such as:

  1. What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?
  2. How is the Ku Klux Klan like a group of real estate agents?
  3. Why do drug dealers still live with their moms?

I can’t help thinking he would be able to provide a great answer to this question:

What do National (and the Mt Albert bi-election) and the All Blacks have in common?

Here are my attempts:

A: The points differential between the All Blacks and France nearly represented the percentage of the vote that Melissa Lee won as a National candidate for Mt Albert.

The 5 points difference divided by the 27 points scored by the French equals 18.5% which is close to the 17% that Melissa Lee scored in Mt Albert. Whether this is relevant is a moot point but I feel clever having made the calculation.

A: Quoting from Stuff “…The All Blacks’ inexperience was also badly exposed. As ever they were rusty in their opening hit-out of the campaign, but they made numerous errors and never showed the composure needed to withstand the sort of assault the French dished up.” Swap every instance of All Blacks with Melissa Lee, and every instance of ‘French’ with Labour and the Mt Albert story is identical.

Perhaps the only difference between the National Party experience of the bi-election and the All Blacks experience at Carisbrook will be that tomorrow morning Graham Henry will front up and defend his team (without making excuses) whereas John Key will try to ignore and bury the fact that he hand picked Melissa Lee and that he left her high and dry with no support.

Graham Henry revved his team up at half-time. That was never the case for Melissa from John Key. He coached in absentia. You will never win a game like that.

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TV3 news tonight

TV3 news was laughable tonight if it wasn’t so tragic.

The lead story was the tragic case of Karla Cardno’s biological father being accused of sex offenses, dating from two years after the death of his daughter.

Gary Duffin sought name suppression for himself and his wife saying that the fact he was Karla Cardno’s father would bring undue publicity to his case. The judge turned his application down.

Where did the item play on TV3 news? It was the lead story. Looks like Gary was right.

The third story in a crime ridden bulletin concerned the death of a one year old baby in Rotorua. At the time of publication an occupant in the house had been charged with assault but the results of the autopsy were inconclusive.

But that didn’t stop an overly zealous cameraman and reporter beefing their story up with suggestive imagery.

They identify the house even though they blur the number on the letterbox. For your information is in Edmund Road, near a corner. It’s a 1950’s bungalow built of sandy coloured brick.

Edmund Street, Rotorua

Edmund Street, Rotorua

Then it’s inferred by the camera work that the people inside drink and discard their bottles in the gutter. (That’s the house in the background).

There is no such thing as privacy when it gets in the way of a good story.

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