Posts Tagged ‘crap’

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

Friday, 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.

No.

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.

Review – Tree of Life (2011)

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

Sean Penn's character ponders the meaning of life.

Synopsis:
Middle aged dude in current time period spends the day pondering how he got to where he is now. He does this by going back to the primordial ooze and works his way forward, spending a large part of the movie in space, under water, with the dinosaurs and reliving a Summer in his childhood.

Pluses:
No denying that Brad Pitt’s acting was the best this about this movie.
It finally ended.

Minuses:
Where to start?
Dinosaurs?
Jesus H Christ the amount of David Attenborough-esque shots was a joke.
Way too much time trying to be existentialist.
The time line was totally out. If he grew up in the 50’s, how can he be in his 40’s now?
The promise of nature vs grace was ignored.
It’s ok because a carnivourous dinosaur did’t eat a dying dinosaur. WTF?

Now I know this isn’t your normal narrative style movie, but this was drawn out in ways it didn’t need to be. It reminded me of that movie you saw at uni if you were stoned. Can’t remember what it was called, but that one. Totally unnecessary “bullshit wank wank whine whine oh thank god it is over” movie.

On the plus side, my friend and I went to an early preview 2 weeks before opening and we got good champagne and more popcorn that we could eat. It promised so much, and didn’t deliver at all.

#halfawankypanda

 

Review – Age of the Dragons (2011)

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

When I said yes to this role I didn't know I was going to have to sit in the make up chair for hours every day. Going to fire my agent!

Synopsis:
Imagine Moby Dick isn’t a whale but a dragon. The Rachel isn’t a whaling boat but a person. Queequeg isn’t a burly warrior but a hipster, and the Pequod isn’t a boat, but a land vehicle.

Pluses:
I am all for unusual adaptations.
Scenery was nice.

Minuses:
How do you screw up a classic like Moby Dick? (see synopsis for answer)
Vince Jones with dialogue.
No gams (less the raiders count).
Ahab’s backstory.
Love interest in Moby Dick??
Average CGI.
The Pequod was a bit of a joke.

I knew I was getting myself in for something terrible, but this was bad. Beyond bad. The acting (How did they get Danny Glover? Did he need a new ferrari or something?). Now, don’t get me wrong, I love bad movies when they are good bad movies, but this was just bad.

#halfanadaptedpanda

Review – Arctic Blast (2010)

Monday, March 28th, 2011

 

This is my "I am a serious meteorologist face" that I use when I tell people the world is going to end.

Synopsis:
A world leading meteorologist is working in Hobart (yes HOBART) as a tear in the ozone layer causes icy air from the mesophere to rush down to the Southern Ocean and an Ice Fog (yes an Ice Fog) is heading towards Tasmania. Can our hero scientist save Tasmania, the world, his daughter AND his marriage?

Pluses:
I laughed within 20 seconds.
Nice to see a disaster movie with Australian accents.
Hobart is very pretty.
Michael Shanks is the lead for all the Stargate tragics.

Minuses:
The acting.
The dialogue.
The mix match in deaths – the first few all died one way, then they died a different way from the same event.
Did I mention the acting and dialogue?
The plot.
After Hobart, every other event happens over the landmark of an international capital city.
The special effects weren’t very special.

What Arctic Blast proves is that Australia can’t make an Eco-Disaster movie. Let’s be honest though, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

#halfanembarrassedpanda

Review – Eclipse (2010)

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

So, if their clothes shred when they change, how is it they are still wearing shorts when they change back? Also, that makeup line is a bit noticeable.

Synopsis:
Edward is back and he and Bella are so on. She wants to be vamped, he doesn’t. He also doesn’t believe in sex before marriage. There is trouble in Seattle. Red Head is around making trouble. Jacob loves Bella. Bella loves Jacob but loves Edward more. Only Bella can sort out the secret of Seattle. (I can’t believe I just wrote that paragraph)

Pluses:
It wasn’t as bad as New Moon.
Edward was in sunlight a fair bit, which means I got a chance to say “Sparkles, the Gay Vampire” quite a few times.

Minuses:
The sub-plots didn’t even try to be about anything other than “Bella’s Choice.”
The whole love triangle BS.
Not enough school friends.
What a waste of Peter Fancinni (remember him in season one of Damages?)
Atrocious dialogue.
So slow.
Lighting was over or under done.

I only watched this because it was a) free, and b) I had already invested four hours in the previous movies, so felt I should continue this punishment. It certainly wasn’t the worst main stream film I saw last year but it was a long way from being enjoyable.

#onevampypandas

Review – V – Red Rain S02Ep01 (Season Premier)

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Hey look mum, now I am a whiny arse teenager with no face!

I am not much of a fan for V (redux). I loved the original, even had it on VHS which I faithfully recorded live, pressing pause to get rid of the ads (remember when you had to do that?). Anyway – I fought my way through the ups and many downs of the front half of the season. Given the absolutely blah weather we have been having lately, I figured I would see if it picked up after smooshing the also iffy FlashForward (book was awesome BTW).

This week:
After getting her nefarious on at the season cliffhanger by making the sky red, Anna makes it rain… who would have guessed given the title. V’s have been around longer than we thought. Tyler is helpless and shags Lisa. Hey Joshua. Oh, and hi Mum!

Pluses:
Dianna! (though this was totally given away with the intro credits by listing Jane Badler)

I wonder how many takes this took. I laughed just watching it, can't imagine trying to keep a straight face while acting it.

Minuses:
Why do they need to breed with humans when Anna can spawn hundreds?
Obvious plot devices.
Killing off the most interesting character by bringing him back to life.
Everything else especially really poor CGI.

I won’t be back for another episode, unless there is nothing on TV that night, the internet is down, and my media drive exploded.

#halfabadlyrenderedpanda

I thought I would share the funniest review I found of V series final (Red Sky)  – it made me laugh so much when I first read it I dug it up again for your enjoyment. You can read all of Olly Hume’s reviews here.

The season is complete and V has well and truly invaded our TV sets, unmercifully culling Flashforward while solidifying its own position with consistently good ratings. Is it a shining example of Sci-Fi drama? Or does a look beneath the surface reveal something not so pretty?

V had a bumpy start that wasn’t helped by a four month hiatus between the 4th and 5th episode. The first few installments showed promise, and the element of mystery surrounding the V’s motives (for those who hadn’t seen the original) made for some compelling viewing. However, there were also many problems caused by poor casting and a significant lack of truly likable characters.

Red Sky is the season finale and, even though the buildup to the final episode was rather lackluster, said episode does involve some rather major events both on the mother ship and on Earth. The resistance realizes that Anna’s baby soldiers are about to march out of their embryonic slime (gunge if you are British) and when they do, Earth will be in a right pickle. So, Erica hatches a plan (pun intended) to destroy the little blighters while Tyler invites his mother to tea with Anna and Lisa. I say plan, but in reality it’s more of:

“When I’m on the ship, I reckon I’ll blow up all the eggs.”

This is about the equivalent of me having a plan consisting of:

“When I’m within 500 yards of 20 Victoria Secret models, I’ll seduce them all and make them my wives.”

Anyway, lack of foresight aside, things do manage to conveniently fall in place, ironically due entirely to Joshua and Lisa. Joshua is actually one of the few characters I really enjoy watching onscreen. Mark Hildreth does a great job of providing us with a character that projects sincerity and depth using very little dialogue and some rather corny lines. Unfortunately, Joshua is forced to get rid of his Comms device quite early on, and the resistance has no way of contacting him about the kind of distraction Erica will require. But fear not Earthlings! Father Jack has an awesome idea. You remember Chad Decker, the reporter who betrayed them in Hearts and Minds, the one who went on the air to make a tearful plea for all of mankind to beg the V’s to stay? Well, Jack reckons Chad would be the perfect person to trust with a coded message to Joshua on the V ship. Needless to say, Chad sets up Joshua, and he is quickly imprisoned. Lisa is actually the person who turns out to be most instrumental in the plot, releasing Joshua and providing Erica with the magic blue ball of destruction. It’s worth noting that Joshua also refers to her as “my Queen,” hinting at things to come.

Val gives birth to her lizard/human hybrid baby, providing another enormous disappointment. The best we get to see is a poorly implemented CGI tail and some gargled baby sounds from a voicebox. I had been holding out to see this creature, and showing a bunch of swaddling blankets is a cheap cop-out. Sci-Fi shows rely on strong visual imagery; remove that and they quickly become farcical nonsense.

There was a highlight however, in Joshua’s sacrifice, as he forces Erica to shoot him in an effort to keep her cover intact. I was extremely disappointed to see Joshua die since he is the only character that is consistently enjoyable to watch. I was ready to curse V once again for ruining perfectly good characters, but, as I shall explain soon, there is a strange twist to this particular tale. Erica is able to destroy the vast majority of the baby monsters, and in so doing, she unleashes untapped emotion in Anna. It wasn’t quite as earth-shattering as one would have hoped, but it did have quite an impact, particularly her piercing scream and the sight of the first cracks in her flawless visage. Acting on her emotion, Anna sends what appears to be an attack signal to the other cloaked ships she has waiting outside Earth’s atmosphere. This has the most terrible consequence that anyone could have ever imagined. In fact, I’m at pains to describe it now because of how unbelievable horrific it is… Anna makes the sky go a bit red!!! I had no idea how evil she had become. Now every city across the globe looks like it does when there is going to be a really nice day tomorrow. I think this might also be the hidden meaning behind the episode title. Red Sky might well be called “Red Sky” because at the end of the episode there is a red sky. Who knew?

Sorry, I’ll try to be less facetious, but it really was laughable. There was this huge buildup and all we got was the hint of a couple of ships and what looked like some people admiring a nice sunset. If the audience had any idea of what the redness was all about, or if it looked the least bit sinister, then it may have had the intended effect. However, we were never really shown this cloaked army that Anna seemed to have, so there was absolutely no sense of foreboding, not to mention imminent doom. The scale of the conflict is not properly portrayed as all we ever see is Anna and a bunch of eclectic misfits that make up the resistance. We never hear anything of the countless other ships around the world or indeed the other few billion people going about their lives.

But the biggest problem with the series has been the poor casting, as well as character development that has verged on fictional homicide. Elizabeth Mitchell is not a good actress. Through no fault of her own she has an unnaturally expressionless face and delivers lines vacantly and without emotion, which is ironic in the head of a resistance against emotionless creatures. The character of Father Jack has descended into pious idiocy. His speech in Red Sky surrounding the rejection of false prophets was unnecessary, a little creepy and an obvious bit of hand-holding for the Christian majority in the US. Hobbes and Chad have also turned from interesting and complex characters into one-dimensional, self-serving traitors while Ryan has simply gone back to the dark side.

The only light at the end of the tunnel was a glimpse of Joshua awakening, his wounds healed by Marcus. Why this happens is a complete mystery and I’m a little annoyed that it got my attention so effectively because now I feel I’ll have to watch next season to see what happens. Maybe Marcus is alarmed by Anna’s new human emotions or perhaps Joshua will be a tool to infiltrate the 5th column whilst being one of Anna’s mindless pawns. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Overall

As an episode, it fell just shy of good. However, as a season finale, it failed miserably. The effort was obviously put in to create a climactic event; the trouble is there is very little tension surrounding the central characters’ activities. It’s difficult to identify with such unlovable people, and I find myself completely indifferent to any of their fates. Strangely enough, the only people I would like to see develop are Joshua and Lisa. The entire resistance should be replaced as far as I’m concerned; they simply do not evoke enough interest.

I’ll watch next season, if only so I can write another unadulterated rant, but I truly hope some heads are knocked together in the ABC board rooms. V should be about conflict on a scale the world has never seen, a threat to our very humanity. It needs to decide whether it wants to be a serious drama or a cheesy play on the alien invasion genre, because it most certainly cannot be both.

Review – Birdemic – Shock and Terror

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

We hover and are flammable but only attack people who aren't living at one with nature (according to some guy who lives in a tree house that will burn down from the forrest fires also happening).

Ok where to start.

Synopsis:
Two surprisingly successful nobodies who knew each other in high school run into each other and begin a relationship. Just as they take their romance to that special place (a sleazy hotel), birds (eagles and vultures) attack their sleepy little sea side town – and when I say attack they do exploding kamikaze dive bombs. Even though our protagonist (Rod) has an environmentally friendly car which he filled up with petrol, he ends up in a van conveniently filled with automatic weapons. They then rescue people haphazardly, meet an environmentalist or two, have a picnic then watch the world saved by other birds.

Pluses:
If it is meant to be this bad it is excellent.

Minuses:
The script.
The acting is cringe worthy – in fact the gif birds acted better.
The gif birds.
The editing.
The totally unnecessary shots.
The plot – there was a plot?
Global warming, blah blah blah, global warming.
Caustic bird poo.
WTF are they having picnics for?
Let’s go fishing.
WTF????

I can’t begin to describe just how bad this film is.

The best part of the movie (and I use the term loosely) were the comments by the other 7 people who watched this with me at a bad movie night hosted by an evil and maniacal  friend. The pick of the comments was after one of the girls died “taking a shit” when an eagle slashed her throat – my friend’s comment? “At least she died doing what she loved.”

This film is worse than anything we made at high school, much worse.

Forget waterboarding, Birdemic is torture for the 21st century. Coming out soon on BluRay!

Also keep your eyes peeled for Birdemic II: The Resurrection. Though I wasn’t aware that the birds died – they just flew away for the last 10 mins of the film.

#halfapanda

Review – The Hangover

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Let's sit around and act annoying to pandas

A group of four guys head to Vegas with the intent to go wild before one of them gets married. 1 is whipped, 1 is the wife’s brother, 1 is getting married and the other guy is the token “cute” one. They wake up and can’t remember what happened, why their villa is a mess, why there is a tiger in their apartment and where their friend who is getting married actually is. Over the course of the movie they work their way backwards through their night in Vegas.

What am I doing, you all know the story.

Pluses:
The photos in the credits.

Minuses:
The rest.

OMG I can’t believe people recommended this to me. It was better than Hot Tub Time Machine (which isn’t saying much), but I had numerous tweets telling me I should watch it because it was just so crazy funny/awesome etc. I have decided that my sense of humour is so off the wall that I just don’t get main stream Hollywood humour any more. I didn’t laugh once. Maybe if I was drunk and in a full cinema but I certainly wouldn’t wish this film on anyone, and there is going to be a sequel? I really didn’t find it funny at all. From stereotypes to overacting this movie was as unfunny as Schindlers List – though at least Spielberg wasn’t going for laughs.

#halfapanda
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Review – I Am You – World Premier #BIFF

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Terrible. Terrible. Terrible.

I Am You attempts, poorly, to tell the story of the disappearance and death of Rachel Barber.

You would think that with such an outstanding cast, you have a fair chance of a great movie. Unfortunately, Simone North’s inexperience as a writer and director, in conjunction with her being overly involved in the subject matter leads to a very poor piece of work. I actually felt for the actors.

It needs a damn good edit as much was irrelevant and over done. The amount of unnecessary shots was staggering and the way that the main character of Caroline Reid  was portrayed as lacking the complexity and sympathy of an individual with mental health issues was shocking. The young Irish actor though did very well considering what she had to work with. During the Q&A, Simone North’s abject contempt of the real Caroline was obvious – and it shone throughout her film.

It could have been SO much more, but it lacked on every level.

Positives:
Acting of Ruth Bradley (even through the terrible direction and script you could see she had talent).
It does actually end.

Negatives:
The immaturity of the script.
The lack of tidiness to the cut.
The direction.
Just how one dimensional it was.
Vignettes.
Overdone camera work.
One dimensional demonisation of characters.
Lack of depth of any “white hat” character.
Lack of examination of mental health.
It had more endings than Lord of the Rings and felt longer than all three combined.

Don’t bother.

#halfapanda
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EDIT: I should say that I wasn’t aware it was a “world premier” but the host announced it as such.

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Review – Stargate Universe – Cloverdale

Friday, October 29th, 2010

You'd faint too if you had to deliver this dialogue.

This week:
Characters I don’t like are main players in stories told multiple times already in the Stargate franchise, only with the subtle retelling of a hammer on a date with an egg.

Pluses:
The arrangement at the end of the ep was ok, at least it wasn’t woefully depressing.
Mildly interesting outcome though entirely predictable from the first few moments of the ep.

Minuses:
Standalone ep in a series whose arc has stalled.
No minor character development.
Yet another hallucination story.
Colonel Young worst leader ever or worst leader ever?
Stupid portrayal of women yet again.
No Lucian Alliance.
No new tech.
No real threat (like the main character is going to die…).
Didn’t realise how unattractive most of the cast were – dim lighting is quite flattering.

I am creating a whole new rating for this one – graphic will come over the weekend when I have time.

#pandanus
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