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.
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.
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).
Not a regular post (or semi-regular as it has been a while since I blogged).
For those who follow me on the Twitters, Facebook and Path know, I won Tourism Queensland's Vitamin Me competition.
I have had a lot of questions on how it all works, how I got it and what I plan to do with it.
So, since I am, at my heart, incredibly lazy - read on.
Tourism Queensland ran the Vitamin Me competition, promoting having a break in Queensland to recharge yourself - getting your dose of Vitamin Me. This competition was part of a larger marketing strategy - which is still going on. By visiting their webpage, you could test your own levels (feel free to post your score in the comments). Since I am often away , am always thinking about what I might do for my next adventure, and 90% of the time love my work, I scored very high. This high score did nothing to help me win, but made me feel better about taking some many weekends away.
There were 175,000 entries, of which some 44,500 were unique. I only entered once.
From these 175,000 entries, my entry was randomly drawn and I won the prize - $10,000 of Vitamin Me time in Queensland.
The prize works similarly to a gift voucher. I don't have to use it all at once, however it expires in 12 months.
I can use the voucher on anything that can be booked through SunLover Holidays - the travel agency associated with Tourism Queensland (these are the same peeps who did "Best Job in the World). This means flights, transfer, activities, tours, hire cars etc can be attributed to the voucher. The only time food/drinks would go on, would be if they were part of a resort package or cruise etc. Unfortunately I find the SunLover Holiday webpage terrible to navigate but if I search on google, then search for the provider there I can generally get around it.
So what am I planning to do?
Well, firstly I am using a small amount to do a day trip diving out of Port Douglas on the SuperSonic. I will be in Cairns over the break anyway, so this will be my first chance to put the prize into use. I was going to do a day trip anyway, this just means I do it on Tourism Queensland vs my Visa card.
Other things I am planning are (in no particular order):
- The Dinosaur Stampede at Winton
- Diving the Yongala
- 4 day Coral See Mike Ball Dive expedition (was thinking of doing it at Easter but some friends are thinking of going in May, so will probably go then).
- Mt Isa Rodeo
- Mountain retreat with some friends and some wine (and spa treatments if I can find somewhere)
- Mackay - so I can eat at Sorbellos again!
I will be flying Qantas as much as I can as I am hoping to reach Platinum status (geek moment).
All in all this is an epic prize. Crisscrossing the state is going to rock. I love Queensland - such an amazing state! I can't wait to experience more of it.
It must be a day ending in Y because the Courier Mail has written another negative piece on CityCycle.
Now, I do understand that not everyone sees the benefit of the program, but "cherry picking" and misrepresenting the numbers by "journalists" is becoming seriously tiring.
Figures released this week found the number of annual subscribers plummeted from 1251 in October when it began operating to only 131 in January.
The way that reads suggests that the total number of annual subscribers dropped by over 1000 in a 3 month period. It actually is the number of new annual subscriber take up - or did 1000 people really cancel their annual subscription. Also, January - didn't something happen in January. Let me think... Something that impacted the suburbs serviced by CityCycle? 131 people taking up the service in a month with disaster and cleanup is pretty damn good (no pun intended). Talk about cherry picking the least favourable stat and playing it up.
The article then goes on to say
CityCycle operator JC Decaux was paid $93,000 for the October quarter, $73,000 for the January quarter and $143,000 for the March quarter - they receive $122 per bike in use for each quarter.
This statement suggests that the use is increasing back up again substantially - almost double in the second quarter of the year. Though how the 131 subscribers managed to do this I don't know. This also doesn't factor in four of the six weeks that CityCycle Paris ran - which generated a staggering 9000 trips (though truthfully most of us just changed bikes more often with a little more riding vs thousands of people joining the scheme. For example I did 97 trips in June - at least 30 of those were me changing bikes mid-journey to garner an extra entry).
Finally let's look at those figures. $143,000 paid by the council representing $122 for each bike in use during the quarter. That equates to almost 1200 bikes in use - again not bad for 131 subscribers.
Really Courier Mail - pick up your game.
PS. Could the other 130 subscribers please stop leaving my local station with no bikes twice a week? kthnxbai
PPS. Great little article on why the Dublin Bike Share is so successful. Not the answer most people in Brisbane would think.
When I lived there 10+ years ago I would never have believed you if you had told me that I would be riding bikes through the centre of Melbourne, let alone riding almost every day in Brisbane. I didn't ride. Period. In fact I didn't ride until October 2nd, when CityCycle launched last year.
Cut to today. Last month I clocked 97 trips on CityCycle, ride to and from work most days and use a bike share program as my primary form of transportation. Therefore, it made sense to spend my weekend back in Melbourne riding around town on the blue bikes that make up Melbourne Bike Share.
Melbourne Bike Share (MBS) and CityCycle (CC) are from two different players in the Bike Share market. One, Bixi possibly best known for the Boris Bikes in London and the other is JCD, best known for the Velib program in Paris. Both are successful systems in their own right (except here in Australia - insert helmet argument here if you like). Their bikes and their programs, while both "bike share" are quite different.
So how did the two compare? I will break it down to categories and decide which won what. If you don't feel like reading the whole thing, just scan for colours - Melbourne Bike Share is blue and CityCycle is orange because yellow is too hard to read. You can see which scheme won each area by the colour, or if it is a tie there is no colour. The one with the most colour wins. Very scientific, I know.
Let's take a look at the bikes first:
The first thing I noticed with the blue bikes was that they were higher. The frame is larger, the step through lower and it is MUCH lighter - I did expect MBS's frame to be better given that it doesn't hold a locking mechanism or the rack bar like CC, where much of its weight is located. MBS has a thin piece of metal that sits under the basket to rack and no lock (more on that later) making it a better frame given its lack of heaviness. One to Melbourne Bike Share.
The same gears are on both bikes, however I found more variation on the bikes with MBS and also thought that they were geared lower, so even less likely to build up much speed. Perhaps it is because the CC bikes are newer but they are more consistent and better for riding. One to CityCycle
Not sure if they are the same, however I found the tension on the brakes on the 8 different bikes I rode in Melbourne to be wildly different. Again, this could be age and or use, but going with CityCycle for consistency again as while there is some variance, it is nothing on MBS.
I was super excited that MBS had a basket with a strap. After watching their video I realised it didn't have sides but figured it would still be ok. Nope. The amount of tooing and froing to get the strap over is a pain, I have more than one bruise on my wrist from it. The elastic was so stiff, it even bent my bag. Compare to the wire basket on the CityCycle, you just chuck your bag in and ride. I got so fed up with the MBS system I just rode with my bag over my shoulders.
MBS has a handy "loop" that you can run your own lock through. Personally, I don't want to be carrying around a lock, and have used the CityCycle lock a total of twice. So do I want the option of less weight but less convenience, or more weight and more convenience? In the end, I have decided that since the two times I needed a lock were spontaneous (a cider pick up and a bathroom break - not related), convenience wins - this one to CityCycle.
Saddle (including height adjustment):
As far as my bottom could tell, it was the same saddle, however how the seat post and clamp on the MBS was far superior to that of CityCycle. While the clamps are both lever actioned, MBS releases a circular grip making raising and lowering the seat post a breeze. It also meant that I didn't have to almost bend my hand back to move the clamp as I do on the CityCycle. Also with MBS they have numbers on the side of the seat post. So rather than measuring with my hand and often getting rust or oil on it, I can just visually set it. Melbourne Bike Share - this was awesome!
Handlebars and Grips:
As people who follow me on Twitter know, my hands are prone to get all owies when I ride the CityCycle too much because of the raised pattern of the grips. As such I bought a pair of gel gloves (yeah yeah I know, shut up). I packed these (along with some unpadded full gloves for the cold in Melbourne) for my weekend of riding, and imagine my surprise when my hands clasped soft and smooth grips! I only used my bike gloves once. The handlebars were also higher than the CityCycle, thereby creating less pressure on your hands. Consequently, the comfort on the Melbourne Bike Share bikes was far superior to CC.
Given that I am not the most confident of riders, I have often had a mini freakout when the tyres of the CC get caught in a edge of the road or slight raise going from the road/grass to pavement. The tyres on the MBS are not only larger (less energy expended) but they are wider with what appeared to be off road ridges on them - totally different to the dinky little CC tyres. I loved the tyres, and didn't have a single moment where I was worried I might come off because my tyre caught on something. All you Melbourne Bike Share.
I used to think that the CC had the manoeuvrability of a battleship, but compared to MBS bikes, it is like a hummingbird. The lack of range on the MBS was staggering. I noticed it when I went to take out my first bike. I went to turn the handlebars and they just stopped. I can't imagine how the bike goes up a disabled or bike ramp, but then again I guess you can't ride on the disabled ramps in Melbourne anyway. This was one of my main dislikes of MBS. Another one to CityCycle.
Now the ease of use of the program:
Hiring a Bike:
In Brisbane we have the yellow cards that we swipe, enter a pin number, select a bike, release it and go. In Melbourne they have chipped keys that you slot into the rack next to the bike you want, wait a couple of seconds and the bike is released. Done. For ease and speed, MBS has it hands down, though the convenience of putting a credit card style card in your back pocket is pretty good, but this one stays with Melbourne Bike Share. MBS also has a casual, daily and weekly instant hire process. I didn't try it, but it is there, all be it involving way too many steps for me to want to utilise it when $50 a year is so cheap.
Say what you like about the bright yellow of the CityCycle and stations, but I will say this, they are MUCH easier to find than the MBS stations. MBS is deliberately unobtrusive, often sitting back off main roads. I found the Melbourne stations quite tricky to pin point, and would be stopping to check the app frequently, swivelling my head around trying to find the station. Bright yellow may be harsh and the advertising a pain, but you can spot a station easily. Unobtrusive is good, but being able to find a station is better - this one to CityCycle.
Access to the Stations:
Brisbane City Council has done a fair bit of work in recent months to put in directional ramps to the stations for ease of gaining access to the pavement as well as getting off the pavement to the road. Melbourne doesn't have this at all and some stations are in the middle of the block, so no easy access. All CityCycle.
Brisbane has twice as many stations, so it is easier to find a station close to where you want to go. I will say though, that MBS had a station within a block of almost everywhere I was going, and Brisbane currently lacks stations at key areas, though this is supposed to be addressed in phase 2. It also felt like MBS was more for getting around once you got into town, where as I feel as though CC is designed to move people in and out of the city. As it stands, for how I used/use the system, it is a tie.
On Road Station Maps:
The maps that CC have at their stations can best be described as decorative. In contract, the maps for MBS show the stations and also helpfully say "you are here" as well as point out where helmet vendors are located. As a tourist (even though I lived in Melbourne for 8 years), I found myself plotting routes with the station maps and the app. Together they worked so well. It made picking my path and working out where the heck I was when I just went exploring so much easier. Well done Melbourne Bike Share.
The quality of the closest metre to the curb in Melbourne is much better than here in Brisbane. That alone made riding much more enjoyable. However, add to this the fact that Melbourne turns some parking on the sides of roads into Bike Lanes (enforcing the Clearway too) and it just gets better. Then you also have the unofficial bike routes - on the roads predominately set up for trams and come commercial vehicles. Apart from me really pissing off a couple of tram drivers (sorry I couldn't go any faster no matter how many times you rang your little bell), it was great to have a a grid through the city without all the cars. The only problem I had was that some areas became tram only so you had to get off the bike and walk it on the pavement - though I seemed to be the only one who followed the signs. This one goes to Melbourne Bike Share.
Off Road Cycling:
I love riding through the parks in Brisbane. I frequently divert on the way home to ride through the Botanical Gardens, or I cut through King George Square. In Melbourne though, there is no riding on pavements, cutting through parks etc. Also there are far less off road bike paths (that I could find anyway) than in Brisbane. I found this quite annoying while in Melbourne, but I followed the rules. Brisbane has this one - CityCycle.
Yes, it is the law in Australia that we must wear a helmet when we ride. Some of us are for it, some of us are against it and some of us just think you should be able to make up your own mind. To find a helmet vendor on CC's webpage you click on a link and get a list (not mapped) of 14 companies that will sell you a helmet outright. With MBS you have lists and maps that show stacks of 7/11's that sell the ($5 each and you get $3 back when you return it) as well as two vending machines that dispenses them for the same price all conveniently located on each station map. Melbourne Bike Share gets another.
Both models have an increased scale for keeping bikes longer than the prescribed amount of time. MBS costs $50 for the year and CC costs $60. However, with an annual subscription with MBS you get 45 minute trips and can borrow bikes 24/7, unlike CC which has a maximum free time of 30 mins and are only open from 5am till 10pm. Another win for Melbourne Bike Share.
Hands down this goes to Melbourne Bike Share - it is easy to use and navigate. Whomever designed and signed off on the CityCycle page should be performance managed.
Customer Contact Centre:
I haven't had any problems (less the current incorrect expiration date on my account) with Melbourne Bike Share so I can't comment on how it compares to CityCycle's hit and miss with their call centre. So this one is currently even.
I had no problems registering with either program, but it took me multiple times for the activation page to come up for Melbourne Bike Share and as I mentioned it is currently showing the incorrect dates. So this one to CityCycle.
This has been a major bugbear with me and CityCycle. They are TERRIBLE at it. It is as though they are doing the exact opposite of Melbourne Bike Share who actively engage with their riders on Twitter and Facebook. I have received personalised emails that actually relate to what I asked in a timely manner as well as receiving updates on how my "key" was going. This one is all Melbourne Bike Share.
While CityCycle's helpfully named AllBikesNow is functional to a point, I have many problems with it not displaying live data and its inability to communicate anything other than bike and rack numbers. AllBikesNow meet SpotCycle (again an amazingly unhelpful name). Not only can you change the display style, but it also has a timer and best of all it shows the cycle paths, lanes and unoffocial bike ways. SpotCycle takes AllBikesNow and laughs at it.
Problems with a Bike:
If you have a problem with MBS you follow the accepted practise of turning the seat around. We do the same here in Brisbane, however if there is something particular, we can record the number and advise CC. I am not saying this is a perfect system, it isn't and I have spoken about its drawbacks before, but it is better than MBS as MBS has no numbering system I could see or means for reporting a faulty bike (I may be wrong and am happy to be proven otherwise). This one goes to CityCycle.
So who has the better bike?
5 : 4 to CityCycle.
Which is the better program?
8 : 5 to Melbourne Bike Share.
Overall, Melbourne Bike Share wins. 12 : 10. Neither scheme is perfect. Some things I can't stand on one, I love on the other. I could have broken it down further, (ie the stands for MBS are wussy any my bikes kept falling over, or just how crappy both their bells are - same style of bell mind you, the lights etc), but theses are the main things I find important in my day to day riding. It begs the question though, why isn't Melbourne Bike Share more successful? They have the helmets, they have a casual hire option, yet for my weekend away I never saw another blue bike in action. I didn't see movement on my local racks. I even could draw a line in construction dust on some of them. For all the naysayers about CityCycle (and yes it has its challenges), it is being used more than Melbourne Bike Share.
She's back (via the fairy dimension) but time has moved on, just like the people in Sookie's life. The world comes crashing back in on Sookie and we find out what our favourite Bon Temps residents have been up to.
Bill did his house up finally.
Jason finally got his wish to be a Deputy.
Tara's arc totally makes sense given what she has been through.
Pam being Pam.
Eric has lost a lot of his bulk from last season.
The poo is finally off Sookie's walls.
Fairy realm. So poorly done and hopefully the end of this arc.
Necromancy (though I know where it is going).
Jesus and Lafayette.
Jessica and Hoyt.
This episode was a bit disappointing. As soon as they did the time jump I was really interested in seeing how some characters had developed - Everyone’s favourite baby vamp, Jess, was a character I was really interested in seeing. I know it is early days, but what was portrayed wasn’t very Jessica. I felt like they were trying to cram too much in to cover everything. Given how short a time span a series is, I hope we get to see more of the development and never go back to the fairy kingdom.
So I have been pretty quiet on the blog recently, not just about CityCycle but about everything.
That is not to say there hasn’t been a lot happening with CityCycle, there has.
We have the creatively named KillCityCycle campaign chugging along with reams of disinformation and vitriol; the push to make the stations more accessible for riders (had a couple of wins there); the CityCycleParis competition; my meeting with the CFO and Comms Manager of JCD Australia; my speaking about CityCycle and Active Transport at Engineers Australia: just to name what instantly comes to mind.
What has energised me to write is that I just spoke to the BCC’s Project Manager for CityCycle – Samantha Collie again. And let’s just say the news is good!
I first spoke to Ms Collie after I expressed my concerns regarding the safety of one station in particular and a couple of others in the network. Today Ms Collie was calling me back giving me an update. After briefly discussing works to be completed and an action plan to test the existing stations for usability in both directions of travel we spoke about Phase 2.
First up – let’s talk about where it is going….
- There will be a few more in the city that couldn’t be done last time.
- Dutton Park!
- Mater Hospital!
What extra information I have (most of it relates to me or people who I asked for).
Central Station will finally be getting bikes. It won’t be quick, as there is some works going on there currently, but we will be getting multiple stations at Central including one just down from Turbot Street. This will make hooning (I mean commuting down Edward a breeze). There will also be a station on Anne St as part of the revamp of Central next year.
Southbank have agreed to four (yes 4!!!) stations inside their boundaries.
There will be a like a ring road of stations for Dutton Park and up to the Mater which then connects back through South Brisbane.
UQ will have multiple stations (hope they are big ones) though personally I think they need at least 4 plus they will be getting three stations en route from Toowong Village to UQ.
Toowong will have good access including one just by the Commonwealth Bank.
Milton will have multiple stations – though unfortunately NOT Suncorp Stadium though was advised I should lobby them, but as we know, Suncorp Stadium are NOT bike friendly at all. We will see great Milton access (especially given the lovely BiCentennial Bike Way there), plus stations in hot spots – like the stations and entertainment/restaurant areas. My closest station to work will be Little Cribb St, which means I can avoid the hill past the Barracks.
I forgot to ask where in Auchenflower, but I imagine the station and along the bike path plus a couple of feeders.
All up there will be 46 new stations with construction commencing in September, 2011.
The official announcement will be on Thursday, June 9th by Cnr Simmonds the Minister for Active Transport. So stay tuned for the exact locations, more details and general YAYNESS!
Can we get a HELLS YEAH???
UPDATE: Media release to be Tuesday 14th June, awaiting confirmation from Cnr Simmonds' office for full details.
It is two months since the Pandorica opened and The Doctor saved the universe/world from annihilation (again). He has been having some funtastic adventures, some even with River. When mysterious numbered envelops in TARDIS blue are delivered, the team come back together in Utah for a picnic. But this is Doctor Who, nothing is idillic for long.
OMG the baddies are going to give the Weeping Angels a run for their money.
The power of the baddies.
How cool is it that Mark Sheppard is in this!!??
Amy Pond wears long shorts (I am sure millions of boys cried a little when that happened).
Great moment with Rory and River. The great tragedies of their lives - especially River. Rory just needs to get over himself.
Really strong development of the team as a unit.
Lying with Fish Sticks and Custard.
I really don't think it needed to go to the States. Yeah Spacemen are in the States, but given the actors are all Brits, what is the point?
The big emotional scene at the beginning - did anyone really think that was it? Really lacked punch.
This wasn't the episode I was expecting. I don't know what it was that I wanted, but it wasn't this. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed the subtext within the episode and how it has been set up for next week. As a general rule two parters shit me, I hate waiting, but it usually pays off in the end.
PS. ABC: Why are you showing it a week behind the rest of the world? And people wonder why we rig our computers to be from another country so we can access content internationally.
The plan to get Alex out of Division hits a snag when she is called in for a "good" mission for Division. Teamed with his frenemy, Jaden, Alex's mission involves a billionaire playboy armsdealer and a boingo boingo party. What could possibly go wrong?
LOVED the ended.
Jaden's choices and her initiative.
Great opening scene.
Nice mission too - clever idea and implementionatoin.
Michael and Nikita's positions (not an euphemism).
Sorry Nikita, but white lycra leggings?
Jaden's mission was a bit lame.
Michael using an unsecured cell phone in Division?
It was a little slow in the delivery.
Just when we think you actually can get the warm fuzzies, out they go with the bathwater. With everything that has been happening recently, I have no idea how they are going to round this season out, but I hope it involves Noah Bean. Can't wait!
World War Two is raging through out Europe. Sent away to Siberia for crimes (real and imagined) our unlikely band of heroes plan their escape, which sends them on a journey across Eastern Asia. Based on the true story of one of three men who walked out of Siberia and into India.
Amazing acting (though I admit when Farrell said his first line I groaned, but quickly forgotten).
Incredibly journey, physically and spiritually.
Always nice to see Saoirse Ronan in a movie that doesn't suck.
The pace was nice and even.
Love the combination of the wide shots with the close ups for urgency of their situation.
Beautifully shot and executed.
I admit I cried.
Would have liked to know what happened to the other characters who made it out.
The ended - I know it was cheesy but I was totally bought in.
I thought the beginning was a bit stereotypical.
This movie will lift you up, drag you down and leave you exhausted but revelling in the experience.