Mr. Holmes (2015)

July 19th, 2015
The ever enigmatic Mr. Holmes

The ever enigmatic Mr. Holmes

Sherlock Homes is now in his 90’s and struggling to remember his last case as his memory fades. Why did he give up a successful detective career? What terrible thing must he have done that he walked away? We follow Sherlock on his journey or remembering, and forgetting that is so gently and poignantly written.
Milo Parker is amazing
Gorgeously written – each word has a place
Multiple story lines playing out across different time lines
Wonderfully styled
Sir Ian McKellan is astounding – playing a man 30 years apart.

Laura Linney – was there no one else available to play this part?

It was lovely to see a movie focusing on a well known character that isn’t all pyrotechnics and GCI. Just good old fashioned story telling and brilliant acting. I admit to wiping away a tear or two a few times throughout the movie and laughing out loud at the cheekiness! 4.5

4.5 reflective pandas

Thankyou to @ReviewBrisbane for the tix.

Bicycle Touring Packing Lessons (For NZ at least)

January 14th, 2015
Carrying everything you need and nothing you don't. The ultimate goal.

Carrying everything you need and nothing you don’t. The ultimate goal.

I recently returned from 43 days away with my bicycle, riding some of the Great Rides throughout the North and South Islands of New Zealand.
I had never bicycle toured before, so it was a bit of a learning curve for me. There was very little I packed that I didn’t use. So I’ll start with those, then I’ll list what I think are must haves.

Didn’t use at all:
Almost all my spare parts for my bicycle: only used one spoke. However, if I had of needed cable, brake pads, patch kit, tube etc I would have been in a hard place without them – so totally worth packing and schlepping around. I used all my tools at some stage – though not always for what I packed them for!!
4 batteries for the GoPro: I rarely emptied a single battery, let alone all 4. The only time I had to use my second without being able to recharge my first was during my dive trip when the public power only worked while the compressor was on.
3 batteries for my camera: I never had one empty battery.
14 SD memory cards for my GoPro: I used a 32Gb and ¾ of a 64Gb plus about 20mins on another two 64Gb sticks. I have a LOT of empty, brand new SD cards. I initially decided to break my cards into locations/activities so if something happened I wouldn’t lose all my data. I gave up on that about 2 weeks in.
Lighter: Didn’t need it, but if the spark on the camp stove had died I would have been screwed.

If I was returning to a location, I would leave all unnecessary items behind and pick them back up on the way through.

If I was returning to a location, I would leave all unnecessary items behind and pick them back up on the way through.

Couldn’t have done without:
Hong Kong Shopper Bag: Yes. One of those cheap and nasty red, white and blue striped bags. I would pop my panniers in it for flights, bus trips, train trips etc. It also folded/rolled down to almost nothing. In NZ you are allowed one bag on buses/trains. Put the panniers in one of these and boom – one bag and no extra costs (except for the bike). I did get quizzed a lot while lining up to check in on my flight, but can’t recommend one enough. It also worked as a “blanket” on which to sit and eat without getting a wet/dirty bum for the many picnic meals and snacks.
Enviro Green Shopping Bags: I broke my gear down into these (different sizes and colours), then packed them within my panniers. This meant I could quickly pack and unpack or find things. Bath gear – grab and go. Cooking/Kitchen gear – grab and go. Tools and Spare Parts – grab and go. Packing was SOOO simple with this. Roll and pack. Done. It also meant I didn’t have to bring panniers into my tent (often very dusty). I didn’t even always take them off my bike.
A hat: I packed the hat I was riding in at home, but unfortunately lost it about 2 weeks in. I replaced it ASAP but having a hat was imperative. While it was unseasonably cold, it was also ridiculously sunny pretty much everywhere we went. As soon as the helmet came off, the hat went on. It meant my face was never burnt in 40+ days of sunshine.
Reimanns 10 hour sun block: Put it on in the morning – done. So easy. My travelling partner had to reapply every 2-4 hours and was always digging her sunscreen out of her packs. She also used almost two full bottles. I used 2/3 of one bottle. While it is a tad expensive, it’s totally worth it. Given that the sun was up till 9.30pm, having a long lasting sunblock was great.
Lifeproof cases on my iPhone 6 and iPad Air: The iPhone was dropped multiple times and brought out in rain. My iPad got knocked around a lot – bashed by cooking gear, dropped on gravel and tea spilt on it. No issues.
VivoBareFoot Ultra Shoes: These weigh almost nothing (lighter than thongs) yet cover the whole foot like a sneaker (with big holes in the top/sides) and are fantastic for camping (night time bathroom tracks, showers), perfect for stream fording, stream bathing and such a break for the feet after a day in the shoes I packed for cycling/walking. I used the neoprene inserts when I rode in the rain so while my feet did get wet, I still had dry socks and shoes in my panniers.
Camp stove: I took one large and one small pot with me and a frying pan (all part of one set). I am pleased I carried all three with me – as often I boiled water from streams or had access to tap water not safe for drinking – as such, I didn’t have to decant hot water to use a pot. It was also fantastic for a quick cup of tea along the trail. Many of the holiday parks I stayed in didn’t provide any cooking equipment – so the pots and pan got used even when the stove did not.
Measuring cup/coffee cup: While the cup itself wasn’t really big enough for a satisfying cup of tea, having the measurements inside was a godsend. I often packed processed carbs to go alongside the veges I would cook – so having the right measurements of milk/water for pasta packs, mashed potatoes and being able to make perfect couscous was brilliant.
Mophie Powerstation XL: This was my first thing I put to charge wherever I was. I would also ask cafes/restaurants if I could charge. This could fully charge my iphone 6 4 times, and my ipad 2.5 times. I also had my 2 year old little charge stick that was super convenient to charge and for use on a bus/train etc to just keep the charge up while watching youtube/killing time.
Power board: Many places I went only had one or two power points. People would be waiting to plug in and charge – then I would turn up with my power board. Many happy people! It also meant I could charge everything at once vs having to swap and change.
Solar panels: Fantastic for charging my mini charge stick. This meant I always had power. Only once in poor weather did my phone almost die as my Mophie was sucked dry and I couldn’t get enough sunlight to recharge the stick. On the back of my bike, next to my tent, on a picnic table – anywhere and everywhere – awesome. I would recommend buying a decent quality one, as the one I had was a tad heavy (it was a loaner and less weight would have rocked).
MSR HubbaHubba: I did some research and just about everywhere on the web said this was THE tent. I can confirm, it is THE tent. I went with the two person version and very pleased I didn’t get the single. It meant I could dry things overnight in the tent with me, no claustrophobia, easy clothing changes etc. This tent is SO easy to put up and pull down. Tent would be up and I’d be gone while other people were still trying to set up their tents. It also dealt with 43km hour winds and insane gusts that sounded like freight trains coming through the trees. It dries super fast so long as there is a breath of breeze and a little bit of light. It’s also incredibly light. I didn’t use the MSR ground sheet designed for this tent. I’m pleased I didn’t, as it meant I had a small landing off the grass for panniers or my knees. The only thing to beat my tent was my bike, which got blown over by the wind and broke one of my poles – but the tent came with a repair piece and my tent wasn’t out of action at all.
Emergency Blankets: I was given two by the guy who sold me my tent as a “just in case.” Thank god. I only used one, but I used it a lot at the start of my tour. The weather was unseasonably cold, 8C less than average. This meant I camped in weather down to -4C. I put the emergency blanket between my inflatable mattress and the inside of my tent to reflect my heat back at me and keep the cold of the ground well away from me. This meant I didn’t ache in the mornings. I still had some cold nights where I wore almost everything I owned (including wet weather gear) but I wasn’t chilled to the bone or unable to sleep due to the cold (except for my first night as I hadn’t packed a thermal inner – I bought one the next day).
Thermal Inner: I bought one that added 8C to my sleeping bag. In the cold weather it was brilliant, keeping me warm(ish) and then as it became warmer, it replaced my sleeping bag. I also had a silk inner which I used often.
Garmin Edge Tour: At one place of our adventures, the trail was closed due to major infrastructure works. We went the alternative route recommended, again to be thwarted by infra works. My Garmin found an alternative route got us to where we needed to go (through parks and eventually multiple back streets and pretty flat – as I set it to avoid hills as much as possible). I had no phone reception so couldn’t pull up google maps to help.
Bath Foofy Thing: Those ball like body wash/exfoliators. The trails were dusty – very, very dusty. To be able to scrub off the ingrained dirt was bliss after a day on the bike. I was so dusty at the end of the day I always looked so much more tanned than I was.
Baby Wipes: A quick wipe down of the bike for a bus trip or to bring it inside where I was staying. Having a dirty bike and expecting someone to handle it or allow it inside is just disrespectful. Also great for cleaning bird poo off the tent. I also used them a lot for an end of day wipe down when a shower/stream wasn’t available. This meant that most of my sleeping gear was pretty clean as I wasn’t grubby when I went to bed.

Just me and my bike. Perfect day.

Just me and my bike. Perfect day.

Things I wish I packed but didn’t:
Vegemite tube: I caved and bought a tiny jar but a tube would have been lighter.
Valve adapter: Using my teeny pump was a pain.
Insect Repellent.
Anti-itch cream.
Thermal Inner: See above.

I would give my packing #fourwellpackedpandas 4

Fury (2014)

October 21st, 2014
What makes a hero? Not murder.

What makes a hero? Not murder.

Man’s inhumanity to man. (Robert Burns)
War is hell.  (William T. Sherman)
War makes monsters of us all. (George R.R. Martin)
Any of these famous quotes fit Fury perfectly.
This movie is a no holes barred, brutal take on war. What it does to people and what people do to each other. Set during the last days of WW2 in Nazi Germany, we follow the crew of Fury, an Abrahams Tank and what it means for them to be in the midst of the fighting.

The characters are multifaceted. The heroes are not heroes.
The writing is brilliant with the story development and clever use of back story.
Amazing acting.
Clever camera work, creating a feeling of claustrophobia.
Astounding cinematography and set design.
Use of archival footage.

Realistic battle scenes and post conflict imagery.
Did I mention realistic?
Use of archival footage. This left us even more broken.

Overall, this movie was brilliant. But it was as harrowing as it was brilliant.
It is not a feel good movie.
It is not a date movie.
If you want to have hope in your fellow man, avoid. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone with a generous heart. 4

When an apple isn’t an apple – Brisbane City Council’s dirty little Bicycle Infrastructure Secret.

April 11th, 2014

There is so much mis-information about bicycle riding out there. Whether it’s TMR’s questionable use of language, local radio stations asking people if they are going to obey a new law, or “journalists” writing clickbait – it’s out there… buckets and buckets of it. We bicycle riders have a mantra we try and stick to – “Don’t read the comments.” Why? I find it scary what some people think. It’s all about perception, really.

Some of our infrastructure (main North-South route on the Southside) goes through storm drains - safe? Hell no

Some of our infrastructure (main North-South route on the Southside) goes through storm drains – safe? Hell no

Some motorists perceive bicycle riders to be law breakers or pushers of an elitist agenda. Some bicycle riders perceive motorists as being selfish and unaware of the impact their driving has on others and the health of a city.

What doesn’t help is the perception, helped along by the Brisbane City Council’s frequent pronouncements, that there is a network of 1,100km of bikeways in Brisbane.

Language is so important. Calling Brisbane’s mishmash of infrastructure a “bikeway network” is a perfect example of misrepresenting the truth that does a lot more harm than good.

How many times have you seen a motorist interviewed say something like “why don’t they ride in the bike lane?” or “we spent all that money on bikeways for the cyclists, so why do they ride on the road?” And you know what? When you know that there are around 6,000km of roads and 1,100km of bikeways, it’s a damned valid question.

The only problem is, is that this data is wrong (or at least counted very creatively).

A road is that bit of bitumen going outside my house, down the shops, past the school and to my office – and there’s 6,000km of it.

A bikeway, according to how the Brisbane City Council counts it, is some sort of bicycle related infrastructure (more on that later) that goes outside my house, down to the shops, past the school and to my office AND BACK AGAIN! That’s right. The Council counts BOTH SIDES of the road.

One of the 186kms of unridable bike lanes. This one is in New Farm.

One of the 186kms of unridable bike lanes. This one is in New Farm.

So there’s 550km of bikeway then, right?

Yeah, well, no.

No? I hear you ask.


You see some infrastructure on the road is counted more than both directions.

Take Victoria Bridge into the CBD from South Bank for example. For motorists, it is counted once. For bicycle riders, it’s counted three times. Yes, three times. There are two bike lanes that are narrower than TMR guidelines (inbound and outbound) plus there is a shared path on the upstream side of the bridge. Three times.

So when someone says “why aren’t they riding on all that infrastructure we built for them?” the answer is, “It isn’t there.” As to what is there – well that’s a whole other problem.

The majority of people who ride these days are sports cyclists. Not all, but most. These fit, brave and oft times lycra wearing bicycle riders aren’t the ones that are being targeted to start riding. Older people, women, mothers – all are being strongly targeted to ride. Money is being spent on programs and communications to encourage them to do so. However all the research here and abroad says unless you feel safe, you won’t be a utility rider (ie just riding for short trips, taking the kids to school, nipping down to the shops, slowly riding into work etc). Saying that we have 1,100km of “dedicated” bike paths (on and off road) sounds like there’s safe infrastructure out there…. but the low numbers of women riding says that this is not so.

Aberleigh Road BAZ. You can just make our the yellow bicycle through all the repairs.

Aberleigh Road BAZ. You can just make our the yellow bicycle through all the repairs.

The Council’s own data shows that less than half of these 1,100km (419km) is off road (including informal paths). That means that most is on the road, and of that, 50% are BAZ.

What’s a BAZ? It’s a Bicycle Awareness Zone. Essentially it’s just a normal road with some orange bicycle stencils on it. That’s not infrastructure – that’s crossing your fingers.

30% are bicycle lanes (186km). Don’t get excited. There’s a reason why bicycle riders don’t ride in bicycle lanes too (and we don’t legally have to). Most are in the “door zone.” Just like a motorist would drive out from a parked car incase a door is opened, so must bicycle riders. “The width of the door and a little bit more” and that means, riding on the edge of the main lane versus in the “safety” of the bicycle lane. Further more, it’s often safer for the rider to “claim the lane” vs trying to ride on the edge of the lane.

I do believe that the Council wants to do the right thing. It makes huge financial sense to have more people (of all ages) on bicycles, where and when they can.

As it stands now though, what the Council touts as infrastructure, in almost all cases, really can’t be classed as such, when compared to the rest of the world.

We have those “dedicated bikeways” in heavy and fast moving traffic offering no protection and aggravation to motorists, we have paths that are impassable after heavy rain as much of the off road paths are on flood plains and some even traverse storm drains, paths that are so dark at night that people are afraid to ride on them, and we have planners and councillors that are car focused, even removing funded bikeways.

A strip of paint, does not safe infrastructure make. This is LaTrobe St in Paddington

A strip of paint, does not safe infrastructure make. This is LaTrobe St in Paddington

The Council needs to step up, show some political will, some foresight and make Brisbane the “New World City” it is selling itself to be. Until then, Brisbane’s “1,100km network of bikeways” receives One Panda. onepanda

Source material can be found via the CBDBUG’s site here.

DISCLOSURE: The author of HowManyPandas is a member of the CBDBUG Leadership team and is also the author of the tumblr blog surlesfleurs mentioned in the open letter to the Lord Mayor and images used here.

Queensland’s Inquiry Into Cycling – My Thoughts

December 13th, 2013
Myself, Lord Mayor of Brisbane Graham Quirk and Co-Convenor of CBDBUG Donald Campbell at the BCC's Bike Skills Lauch

Myself, Lord Mayor of Brisbane Graham Quirk and Co-Convenor of CBDBUG Donald Campbell at the BCC’s Bike Skills Launch. Skills are great, but doesn’t make up for poor infrastructure

Two weeks ago, the Transport, Housing and Local Government Committee Inquiry into Cycling Issues delivered their report, listing 68 recommendations.


I had some initial strong thoughts of support and opposition for various recommendations listed but really wanted to think the recommendations through and their implications for Queensland.


Contrary to how it was covered in the main stream media, it wasn’t just all about making the world kittens and chocolate for cyclists. People who ride bikes aren’t all “cyclists.” To most, a “cyclist” is someone who rides a road bike, travels at around 35km/h and sticks to the roads or occasionally the bike paths and generally makes a motorist’s life a PITA. Most of the people I know who ride, aren’t cyclists per se. They ride bikes. Sometimes they ride really fast on the road on ludicrously light and expensive machines, other times they fly down a rough path, jumping ditches and dodging trees, and at other times again, they trundle about more sedately, using their bicycle as a utilitarian form of transport. I know very few dedicated sports cyclists, what most would call “avid cyclists,” yet I know and ride with lots of people on bikes.


Rebecca who rides a bike but as you can see, isn't a "cyclist." This was taken at Style Over Speed.

Rebecca who rides a bike but as you can see, isn’t a “cyclist.” This was taken at Style Over Speed.

The media tended to focus on the “cyclists.” They obtained quotes from “cyclists.” They spoke to “cyclist” representative bodies, especially those ones that say they represent everyone but really just focus on sports cycling. What they didn’t do much of, was talk to people who ride bikes. And the thing is, the Inquiry’s findings mainly impact those who aren’t “cyclists,” and people who want to ride.


The larger picture in Queensland is one of sedentary behaviour. Of people driving their cars because car culture has reigned supreme here for decades – and still does. Did you know that 70% of all trips in Brisbane by car are <10km? 10km isn’t very far on a bike – and is immensely doable, even for those who aren’t “cyclists.” So the Committee did their best to address this increase in sedentary behaviour, the escalating health expenses (not to mention the huge expense of subsiding motor vehicle transport and the gaps of Brisbane’s barely coping public transport network) by making recommendations that would, on the bulk increase the numbers of people riding bikes.


There are many reasons people cite when asked why they don’t ride. The big one is not feeling safe, followed by lack of infrastructure, which unsurprisingly impacts how safe you feel when you ride. The vast majority of recommendations directly impact these two. The minimum one metre safe passing distance is a great start, but real infrastructure is sorely needed, and the Inquiry recognised this, even calling out substandard attempts at infrastructure.


Some of our infrastructure (main North-South route on the Southside) goes through storm drains - safe? Hell no

Some of our infrastructure (main North-South route on the Southside) goes through storm drains – safe? Hell no

They correctly (in my opinion) pushed for more infrastructure, everywhere! That every road (I don’t mean motorway) should be seen as a bicycling option, and that parking in a bike lane is farcical. That infrastructure should be included in developments and train stations should cater for the casual commuter. To many around the world this would sound like common sense – but this is a HUGE leap here.


There was much made of the relaxation of mandatory helmet laws. People who have followed me on Twitter for many years, especially after the launch of CityCycle, would know that I used to think that a helmet made you safe.


What makes you safe is infrastructure, enforced road rules that protect vulnerable road users, and everyone working together to make sure we all get home safely.


Yep - I do wear a helmet, just not all the time.

Yep – I do wear a helmet, just not all the time.

After my “smoosh and drag” last year, where my helmet was knocked off during the impact (someone went and found it back down the road and brought it to the Fire and Rescue Team), I realized that just because I should be safe, didn’t mean I was. It was a harsh reality check that questioned my values in almost everything – including mandatory helmet laws. As I slowly recovered, I stayed focused on returning to riding (on a new bike as my old one was totally destroyed while saving me from a more frightening outcome) and given my total lack of confidence in my fellow man, I refused to ride on the road. As I learnt the way to and from almost everywhere without putting rubber to bitumen other than crossing the road at pedestrian crossings, I realised just what safety theatre the helmet had become. As such, I am totally in favour of the relaxation of MHL as recommended by the Inquiry – it doesn’t mean you can’t wear one, it just means that if you’re tootling along a pavement or in a park, you won’t be fined. It comes down to perceived and actual risk.


I suppose my biggest disappointment with the Inquiry’s recommendations, was their avoidance of the “20 is Plenty” idea. Essentially, this limits residential and city streets to 20mph or 30km/h. This would have instantly reduced the likelihood of accidents, the severity of any accidents that occurred (the correlation between injury severity/death and speed limit is well documented), as well as making so many streets truly “bike friendly” without painting a yellow bike on them and a token share the road sign, followed by crossing fingers.


The legislative requirement of infrastructure funding tied into the target bicycle riding participation percentage was another big one that I think the Committee overlooked. However they did link in the amount spent on safety communication to be tied with the percentage of the population that rides (18%). The “buy” for such an amount would be huge! This can’t be a bad thing, even if it isn’t exactly what I wanted.


I must admit to being perplexed by the lighting requirements. All it is really doing is adding another barrier to entry and perpetuating the idea that riding a bicycle is dangerous (it’s not supposed to be). Also, the “colour” of bicycle lights are different to those of motor vehicles, and don’t work as well during the day – so I’m not sure how they would be visible at such a distance during the day.


The equalising of fines didn’t really bother me too much, until I thought about how that would work with children – as their parents/guardians would be held accountable for any fines. If a small child rides and inadvertently breaks a road rule, they are fined at the same rate as a motorist and the parents have to pay? I don’t have a problem with this is we are talking 16 year olds, but young kids playing on a local street? Oh, and if you think they shouldn’t be playing on a street to begin with, then you are the target of the cultural shift mentioned in the report.


Riding should fun, safe and awesome!

Riding should fun, safe and awesome!

Overall, I am very much in favour of nearly all of the findings made by the report. It isn’t surprising, given that most of my 34 recommendations to the Inquiry got up in their entirety or in a similar format.


Now the biggest question is which of the recommendations made by the Inquiry are going to become law. Already the Transport Minister has stated that some points, like the one metre minimum passing distance will go ahead. However, to truly make a difference to how Queensland moves, he needs to not just cherry pick the easy ones. Scott Emerson needs to  show true political will and foresight, and implement recommendations that may initially be seen as unpopular (eg parking in bike lanes which is illegal in both NSW and VIC) but will be regarded as creating a safer, healthier and altogether better Queensland. This is his chance to be the one who draws the line in the sand. To be the one who is remembered for what he did, not what he failed to do.




#fiveoutoffivecyclingpandas(even if I don’t agree with everything it is to be applauded

PS. If you want to see the best and worst that Brisbane has to offer riders, check out my photoblog.

The Power of Flowers

July 9th, 2013

As some of you may be aware, I was in a car vs cyclist incident last year.

I am now back riding (kind of), though with a slight difference, and I don’t mean the fact I can’t ride more than 5km at a time or handle hills yet. I am talking about putting flowers on my bike. And not just anywhere on my bike, on a wicker basket no less.

Once the flowers went on, the strangest thing happened. I went from being a seen as a “cyclist must get ahead of/push in front of/not give way to” to “awww how cute, a cyclist, I better slow right down/give way/leave a good metre/wave across a crossing.”

All hail the powers of the flowers.Tweede 1

Now I am riding the exact same bike as was destroyed in last year’s incident. I am wearing pretty much the same clothes as I rode in as well – the only thing that is not constant are the accoutrements on my bike. For the record, I should state that my bike is a “granny style” or Dutch sit up bike, so no one could ever confuse me for a Lycra Legend on the great white beast that she is. I had panniers on my last bike too, but not matching. My new ones are matching, but surely having matching panniers isn’t what grants me so much courtesy while riding. It has to be the basket with flowers.
I used to get more than my fair share of complements on my bike that was called “Lady.” Like her Game of Thrones namesake however, she didn’t end so well. With Tweede, my new bike, I get complements all the time. People take photos of my bike while it’s parked at cafes or in parks. It is definitely noticeable, and I think that is what is the difference.
Flowers and a basket says “oh I am just out for a ride, I don’t take this whole cycling thing seriously,” and that seems to resonate with motorists. Now of course, I have no hard stats to back this up, it is all anecdotal. I am also not riding my old route to and from work – that is still far beyond my capabilities, but even just cruising around the inner city, it feels different.
Tweede 3I was never a risk taking rider. In fact I was boringly law abiding when I compare my riding style to other riders I saw and still see. Red lights equalled stop. Stop signs equalled stop. I always wore a helmet. I didn’t weave in and out of traffic. Heck, I even did hook turns so not to slow down turning traffic. Yet all this still saw cars not give way, cut me off, yell abuse etc.
Add flowers, and I’ve only had one cut off in almost 2 months of riding. Granted I am mainly on bike paths, but in bike lanes (approximately 30% of my riding) you can still frequently be cut off. Now though… not so much. I’ve been overtaken once with a cut off (scared the bejeebus out of me) but a second time at the same intersection, a car sped up to overtake me, saw me (and the flowers) and then dropped back. While riding around New Farm and Teneriffe, cars are now much more likely to stop to let me cross (you’d be surprised how many cars blow through zebra crossings while you are pushing your bike across it). These days though, more often than not, it is a stop with a smile and wave.


Now having a noticeable bike that grants you nice manners from motorists is pointless though if they don’t look. All the hi-vis in the world can’t make someone see you. Putting more flowers on my bike won’t magically make me appear to drivers who don’t check for bicycles or just drive on “auto pilot” – and that is the real challenge. Not just for me, but for everyone. Drivers, passengers, cyclists, motorbike riders, pedestrians, everyone.
Flowers are great, but an educated public is better.

Tweede 2

Broadchurch (Season 1)

July 8th, 2013
Yeah, I know I look like shit. I'm still your boss!

Yeah, I know I look like shit. I’m still your boss!

This was originally created as a stand alone series, however it has now been renewed for a second season.

Broadchurch tells the story of the death of a youth in a small beachside town and its impact on the community and the police is an emotionally exhausting yet totally engaging journey. Tennant (DI Hardy) moves to this small town with no real crime after a terrible murder case. Infact the first crime we see him investigate is a perfect entrée into the community. Colman (DS Miller) is the local police woman who has to manage this terrible murder of her friend’s son, while still remaining professional officer – hard to do when you know the victim AND every possible suspect and have for years.

Brilliantly written.
Minor characters are so well developed with strong arcs of their own.
The child actors are not your typical can’t act for anything child actors.
The killer is revealed in a way that is heartbreaking.
The depth of the main characters is extraordinary.

I had a headache from crying so much after the conclusion.
I didn’t pick who the murderer was till a particular conversation between two characters about an unrelated matter – then I knew – but it was so close to the reveal that it barely counts.

Broadchurch was the best 8 hours of TV I had seen since Borgen. Like the fantastic NordicNoir, a lot of what is said is actually, unsaid. The ability to build and then deflect tension is outstanding while never losing empathy for any of the characters. Even when the murderer was caught, my heart was still breaking.



Review – Star Trek – Into Darkness (2013)

May 9th, 2013
Was I the only one to see a Star Wars image in this shot?

Was I the only one to see a Star Wars image in this shot?

After a terrorist attack on Earth, the crew of the Enterprise form up and head off to try and catch the culprit – who is harbouring more than one game changing secret –  all while dealing with oh so much lens flare.

Witty banter – there was some truly great dialogue in this instalment.
Good use of supporting characters.
Spot the cameos.
Cumberbatch fighting when he was way outnumbered.
Some great wide angled shots.
Hat tips to the original series/film franchises except one (in cons).

One particular scene’s dialogue – I won’t give it away – and while there was the odd titter at the exchange, it was totally unnecessary.
The over complexity belying one contact point on of a piece of equipment.
Not enough Cumberbatch.
Too many male tears feeling somewhat disingenuous.
A reverse of a classic scene from the original movie franchise.
They hung so much light on one plot point resolution that I can’t imagine anyone not seeing it coming.
Vulcan hair styles are not designed for running.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable flick. I didn’t realise I was seeing the 3D version (I try and avoid them like the plague), and while there were the usual 3D designed scenes, some went past so fast as to not “get” the 3D experience.
Did anyone else think the StarFleet uniforms looks a bit like the SS just in grey and without skulls and bones on the hats?
PS. There’s nothing at the end of the credits, so if you don’t feel like sitting through them after the 3D candy ends, you won’t miss anything. 4





Review – The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey (2012)

March 13th, 2013
Maybe if we eat throughout the food we can stay awake

Maybe if we eat throughout we can stay awake

To say I was excited about The Hobbit would be a complete understatement. I followed all the pre-release info with bated breath. Imagine my disappointment to not being able to go and see it the instant it opened? (I was involved in a car vs cyclist incident) So I waited and waited. Avoided reviews, opinions and stayed true. I finally saw it in late January shortly before heading back to hospital for surgery. Urgh.

Nothing happens.

Was nice to see the familiar locations and style.
So many of the cast were actors I have enjoyed for years.

Does Jackson need a new island or something? Cuase there is NO reason to drag this out so badly.
The writing was so untidy. Yes The Lord of the Rings was long but it moved. The Hobbit was a rollicking fast adventure story, not a long drawn out battle with Hobbit Cancer.
Was absolutely unwatchable to someone who had a shorter attention span (due to injuries).
Filled with tosh – and not the good Tosh.0 either.

I gave up after about 50 mins or so – when Bilbo was about to go snatched by the Trolls.

Nothing happened. I remember a funny piece by The Onion about how the movie was 50 mins of Bilbo deciding what to pack. Yeah, that.

If I ever break my leg again and am high on pain killers I might give it another go, but for now, I’ll just wait for the third movie, then wait for it to come to TV, then possibly go out that night.






#OnePanda (but only because I loved LOTR so much).

Review – The Imposter (2012)

March 11th, 2013
The Imposter - Close Up

When is the truth really the truth when not even those who know can tell it.


This documentary with reenactments won a prize at Miami International Film Festival as well as being a Grand Jury finalist at Sundance, so I was interested in seeing it. If I had of just seen this as a fiction based on a true story, I would never have believed it. We are such odd creatures, driven by motivators others do not, cannot, possibly hope to understand.

The Imposter tells the true story, with interviews from the key players, of a young french man who pretended to be a missing American teenager in the late 90’s who had been missing for a few years. What follows raises questions you desperately want to ask but also don’t want answered. That such a fraud was able to be perpetrated at all asks still more questions, but in the end, all you are left with a feeling of profound sadness. A beautifully crafted but incredibly profound sadness.


Fantastically edited making you reconsider your own assumptions.
Reenactments are not overdone and edited tightly with the interviews.
Real people are often far more compelling than anything fictional.
The twists and turns of truth.


The constant disbelief, even though you know it is true, leaving with that sadness that continues to resonate.

This negative is actually a very strong reason to see the film – because of its challenge to you and how your feelings towards to participants change throughout the film. 4