Tag Archives: threepandas

Don’t be a stranger

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Review – Hawaii Five-O – Mana’o

Nice role reversal

This week:
Danno’s old partner is murdered and disposed of in the most delicious way. Sierra from Dollhouse has a new mission. Danno is determined to prove his innocence. Cross and double cross. Old enemies become allies. They solve the case. Garrett says Book him, Danno. Some cheesy American stuff.

Is always good to see Dichen Lachman in a role.
Nice shift away from the normal case scenario.
Nice backstory for Danno.
Buddy cop development.
Most creative interrogation method I have ever seen on teev.

Kono still very much a “support” vs the major kick butt player she was in the pilot.
No shonky policework – except that play ground visit.
is like every major crime syndicate in the world putting down roots in Hawaii?
Obvious twist.
What was with the Bing plug?

I must admit, I am getting a little tired of the first part of each show. Random people doing something random and most likely a touristy appropriate past time in Hawaii then BAM dead body or murder… could be Bones, NCIS, Law and Order, Castle etc… This week’s episode name – Mana’o – means to have faith, confidence, to believe – which is very apt considering noone but Danno believes in his friend’s innocence. Another enjoyable romp that suspends any need for thought.


So What’s Up with CityCycle? Some Questions Answered

citycycle rack newfarm

Fantastic shot by StephenK1977 via Flickr

I was thinking about what I was going to write next week to commemorate 2 months of citycycling around BrisVegas when today CityCycle (JCDecaux) called me.

At first I thought it was going to be that survey that was doing the rounds a month or so back. Instead it was someone to answer my questions – someone who actually knew some answers and had a positive attitude… totally unlike my second last experience with their Call Centre team.

I was gobsmacked recently when I rode past Commercial/Florence St #65 after a little under a week away to see the once busy station closed – red guards in place and everything. This station is used a lot by the Bulimba crowd, so I couldn’t understand why it was closed, especially given that stations #66 and #67 (the large stations built for the bus hub and cross river ferry) had yet to open.

So I sent an email and expected one of the typical emails back. Instead, I got a phone call and since this person was in the know and helpful, decided to ask all the questions that no one else seemed to have been able to answer.

So why is #65 closed given that it is currently the only station near the ferry terminal?
Oh. It is closed for two weeks due to building construction next to the site and then it will be open again.

When are the other stations (66/67) going to open?
Early 2011.

BREAKING NEWS: CityCycle has opened station #67 – Vernon Tce and Commercial Rd 24 hours after saying it wouldn’t open till 2011. I will pretend it is because I told them that you couldn’t catch the CityCat there and that people needed a station for the cross river ferry. In truth I go back to my communication comment, as he physically looked up the stations in the system for opening dates. No surprised they can’t communicate with the general public if they can’t even get their internal communication right.

So not late 2010? (as per advertising)
Unfortunately no, 2011.

CityCycle South Bank

One station now live kinda close to South Bank - but isn't a major station

So does this mean that the stations at Southbank are going to be early 2011?
We don’t know. We are waiting for signoff from Southbank Corporation.

(????) So it has nothing to do with you?
Waiting for Southbank.

What about the people who have signed up but can’t actually use the system at all or as it is supposed to be used? When Merthyr Village went down I got a number of weeks added to my account. Some people still can’t ride at all.
We are doing extensions for those subscribers.

There was some idle banter but that is the crux of it.

Another great shot by StephenK1977

Now we already know that the problem with the inital construction of the stations (some are still being built) is the Brisbane City Council. But what I (and others I had spoken to) wasn’t aware that the hold up with getting stations into Southbank, possibly the most relevant place to have them is Southbank itself. Now we know that Southbank is a state owned corporation, and were recently in the news due to planning rights negatively impacting the BCC – at the time I was thinking so what? The ABC is getting a nice new studio finally! Now of course it directly impacts me and dang it all if I don’t agree with Can-do Campbell. (For those keeping count, we are at 3 things) Why, if this has been signed off on and part of the service level agreement has it not been signed off?

What I foolishly didn’t ask was why there was such a hold up on the other stations (blown back from late 2010 to early 2011) – because there is a station just near Southbank that would be awesome. I also didn’t ask why they didn’t communicate to their users that the station #65 was going to close temporarily. They did post on their webpage (and I use the term literally not flatteringly) that they had opened six new stations, taking their total to 57. How did I find out? BCC twitter account – CityCycle’s communication team does not exist I have decided. I have commented a couple of times in previous pieces and interviews that their communication, or rather lack of it, is their biggest challenge.

57 < 100. 43 in a month is just not going to happen.

It is great to hear though that subscribers who have bought their card to “change they way you move” will get extensions – though I suggest you probably need to call the Call Centre to get that done.

So let’s talk about the last few weeks of CityCycle.

First up – a HUGE improvement on the movement of bikes in New Farm, Teneriffe and The Valley. Within 48 hours of my radio interview on Brisbane’s #1 breakfast show (That is ABC Brisbane612) bikes were being regularly shuffled. I could check in on the app during the day and see the stations getting evened out. So 10 points for fixing that.

Secondly, they finally opened my second (of three) local stations. I finally don’t have to cycle up a hill to rack my bike after riding for 25mins. That is worth another 30 points.

Thirdly, they have finished construction on my third station – located at Malt St – so soon I can skip the hills and coast downhill into the city – YAY! Please open this station soon, but for finally finishing it – you can have another 20 points.

Forthly, you opened up the stations at The Palace Barracks and Palace Centro (local station recently opened) in time for BIFF. I can’t tell you how great it was to be able to cycle to BIFF. Not having to pay for parking or circle and circle to find a park in a side street when the carpark is full at The Barracks was just awesome. Cycling home (mostly down hill) after 9pm at night with the cool breeze past my face was brilliant. Dodging drunken twats in The Valley, not so much.

Fifthly, their response to my email – a call was super nice – so another 10 points there. Normally I get an email like this one. You do get a response quickly which is good, and I have seen them action an email, fixing a station problem.

Prompt but soulless.

Sixthly, I am seeing a lot more people riding. I am seeing more people heading back from work and on the weekends it remains very popular. I am changing roles, so hopefully my next position will see me working near a CityCycle station!

The only negatives has been 2 faulty bikes – 1 with a faulty seat lever and 1 with dodgy gears, and of course their woeful communication with the public and their users.
My suggestions: Get a Communications person on board – my contract finishes on December 3rd – so I am available. Update your app so I can email you directly from it, rather than having to go onto the webpage on my mobile device. Get a twitter account – I saw a tweet the other day asking the BCC CityCycle questions. Communicate with your users.

Things are slowly turning the corner for CityCycle. A couple of friends of mine just moved into the next street from me, I asked them if they were going to subscribed – they said yes. Good sign.


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Review – SGU – Malice

Here little dinosaur creature...

This week:
Grief. Revenge thy name is dinosaur like creatures but your middle name is Rush.

It didn’t suck.
I did like Eli’s reaction.
The lines between right and wrong are redrawn yet again.

No more Gin.
Young, worst leader ever or worst leader ever.
Still no minor character development (other than the two who just died).
Rush, bullet to head now please. Over this character – totally, well and truly over this character.
Scott, boy scout or girl guide?

Let's talk about HOPE!

Seriously is no one ever allowed to be happy on that bloody vessel? When is it going to be panto night? BEHIND YOU! Right now, they aren’t living or fighting for anything, just surviving, and that isn’t living. Every time there is a brief moment of happiness the clouds open and the floods begin again. On one level last night’s episode was a dark little romp, on the other it was incredibly frustrating. What they need is a Katara character to wax lyrically and bossily about hope a bit.

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Review – Red Hill – #BIFF

Not having a good first day on the job?

Red Hill is Patrick Hughes first movie – he wrote, produced and directed it and it had its Queensland release at the Brisbane International Film Festival. After my disastrous experience with Simone North’s first movie “I Am You” (which she also wrote, produced and directed) I was ready to experience Red Hill with zero expectations of it being a passable movie.

Red Hill tells the story of a just under 24 hours in a small country town in the Victorian Highlands. It is Kwanten’s character, Shane Cooper’s first day on the job as a country beat cop. Unbeknownst to Cooper, this town has a dark past, one that comes crashing in just hours after he starts. The villain of this piece was the indigenous actor Tom E Lewis’ Jimmy Conway. His ability to portray Jimmy Conway’s emotions and thoughts without saying a word, and with wearing a large prosthetic was very impressive. The town, lead by the always enjoyable Steve Bisley, prepare to defend their town from Conway – who is back with vengeance on his mind.

The plot was a bit predictable, and some plot devices were obvious, and had you questioning the motivation of the characters by their actions, which were required to keep the story moving. The twist was also expected but well delivered. I was’t too sure about the necessity of the kitty cat, and it was a tad too CGI for me – but each to their own.
All this being said this film is a very strong first effort. Some of dialogue was great. There was really solid character development and the film was moving along really well – the suspense building and you had real emotional buy in. Then the movie changed into something akin to a Tarinto gun fest bordering on the comical – then back again to the suspense and character driven piece. Some of the shots were wonderful and there were lots of hat tips to other films from the genres.
For a first movie that was made without any support (Hughes mortgaged his house to make it – and it is a “Hughes House Film” (that did make me laugh but I was pretty drunk)) it was damned fine.

Bisley’s Old Bill was a great character!
The town itself.
The art direction.
Lewis’ acting.
Kwanten’s forceful acting.
The characters of the town.
Some of the gun fights.
The overall arc of the story.

Unnecessary characters – we had no need to meet his wife.
Predictable plot points.
Kitty Cat.
Kitty Cat nibblies.
Overly hokey country music twangs.
Frustrating character actions/inactions to solely drive the plot.

I initially gave this a #threepanda rating, but on reflection given the shoot time (24 days), first movie bonus, and the self funded multipler I have changed my rating to

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Review – Community – Aerodynamics of Gender

What do you mean my makeup stops at my chin!?!?

This week:
Abed becomes what can only be describe as RoboCop of girls’ self confidence. Troy and Jeff discover the Bounce. Pearce spoils everything. Nazism.

Loved the whole “Secret Garden” thing when Troy first encounters it.
Abed’s “assessment” program.
All girls really are bitches.
The return of the status quo was wonderfully done.
End gag with StarBurns.
Lots of awesome Chang moments.

I didn’t really get the whole bounce thing – it must be an analogy for something or a twist on another show which I didn’t get. Was it for smoking weed out the back of the classroom or something?
Pearce wasn’t even his endearingly annoying self and therefore Chase wasn’t given the opportunity to be funny.

This was a fun episode but the two plot lines didn’t really mesh for me – I loved the Abed one, but the Jeff and Troy one didn’t resonate or even make me laugh – other than the maze joke during a montage at the end. It is still a fantastic show, but the bar is so high now (I feel like I say this a lot) that anything less than a stellar ep leaves me unsatisfied and anticipating next week.

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Review – SGU – Trial and Error

Can we PLEASE get some minor character development?

This week:
Destiny plays silly buggars. Scott steps up. Eli gets lucky. Young almost grows a pair. Rush is very Rush.

Nice twist on a Stargate episode staple.
Less Rush.
Eli development.
Great CGU on the repeated scene – esp the last one with the wind and light on Young.

Chloe is still dull – hopefully not for too much longer.
Young. Hope the character finally improves.
Not nearly enough Lucian alliance.
Getting sick of saying this, but no minor character development.
No new planet again (last week doesn’t count).

A stronger episode – but certainly not approaching one of their bests. It was mostly solid, but another bad ep and I am putting SGU on notice.

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Review – Cane Toads: The Conquest #BIFF

Send 'em back to Hawaii, to Barack Obama!

Tonight I was invited to attend the opening night of the St.George Brisbane International Film Festival. The film was a 3D doco about Cane Toads with a relaxed after party at a very cool inner-city space.

It is hard to think that I would be saying that a documentary about CaneToads was “delightful.” However it was a delightful little flick.

One thing I like about documentaries is that often the participants say and do things you could never script.  Cane Toads (or Avatoad as it has been called as it is in 3D) is exactly that. The talent is a hoot. Real Aussie characters – often with no self consciousness, and usually passionate about what they are discussing. This doco does track the migration of the Cane Toad from a sleepy Northern Queensland town to being the dominant force that it is now, but does it in a non-preachy and entertaining way.

Seeing Dobby (cross breed dog) having what can only be described as a good trip from licking the toads.
The editing takes the mundane and makes it magical – Marshall(?) the white dog’s story.
Tip Byrne.
Quirky arcs.
Nice tie backs.
Excellent score.
NT’ers make Qld’ers look anything but parochial.

Not enough science for me to really love it.
Dragged in parts.
Didn’t discuss the negative impact of the toad much.
Didn’t cover how “well meaning” toad hunters often kill our native amphibian friends .

A highly enjoyable flick – that was in 3D. Funniest thing about it being in 3D were the ppl who had never seen a 3D movie before. Otherwise, it was just a well executed gimmick. To be honest I wouldn’t have gone if it wasn’t free, and as I am not a 3D devotee I wouldn’t have gone at regular release. But to those who love 3D, it is well done, and not too many 3D for 3D’s sake and worth catching when it has a limited national release early next year (2011).

PS. Gotta love the guy who brought his pet cane toad with him,

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Review – Hawaii Five-O – Nalowale

I stop baddies and I can charm the ladies... I rock.

This week:
Outstanding panoramic shots. Submarine. Murder. Sex. Sex trade. Puppy! Fat baddies move fast doing kung fu. McGarrett says “Book him Danno.”

Nice twist on the standard story.
Good development of the Mayor (I so think there was more going on).
Great action.
Good plot development.
Nice sisterly development.

Kono still under utilised.
All those murders in Hawaii – surprised anyone still goes there!

This show has quickly become one that I like to savour for when I am having an iffy day – because I can’t help but smile and laugh at the jokes, the terrible crime scene investigation and that there is always a happy ending (except if you are dead or a baddie). Solid week to week. And yes I know I am two eps behind – I have been busy!

Oh and Nalowale translates as missing, lost, forgotten or vanished which makes sense this episode.

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Review – Fair Game

Naomi Watts and Sean Penn in Fair Game (2010)

Only one of us is actually American, but my acting is just that good, Sean.

Tells the story of the lead up, and subsequent outing of Valarie Plame by Scotter Libby during those heady days when the some people thought that invading Iraq was a cool idea.

Amusing at times.
Great fun for political addicts like myself.
Outstanding performances by Watts and Penn save the film.
Interesting perspective – esp the fallout.

Some slow spots.
Bit too hokey American at times.
Assumes that the audience is as clever and well read as a Panda.

At times I think it tried a little too hard to make a point – dumbing it down, and at others it glossed over key facets that drive the story, assuming you know information. Better than a telemovie but not to the level I was hoping.

PS. Naomi Watts is looking old… and that brassy blond do didn’t help at all.

PPS. Thanks to Kelly Higgins-Devine and ABC Local Radio 612 for getting me and Snr Film Pie tix.

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