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Red Armband Has Moved to www.nzraw.co.nz

16/12/2009

new zealand news has movedI’ve been wanting to upgrade this free version of WordPress to a proper website for a while now. If only for the improved design and plugin abilities.

So I’ve moved and re-branded. Red Armband is now NZ:RAW (Like NZ Pure but with more grit). You can see all Red Armband’s old posts on this site, as well as all my new stuff.

Check out http://www.nzraw.co.nz for New Zealand news articles, gaming reviews, life style stuff and more.

The new site is generally looking a lot sleeker and has much more functionality an’ all that. It’s bling. That’s what I’m trying to say. Bling.

nz-raw-news-articles-new-zealand-website

If you’ve subscribed to Red Armband, you’ll see from the new site that there’s some whoppin’ massive buttons to subscribe to the new stuff. You can also keep up with me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/marklincoln and find us on Facebook by searching for “NZ:RAW”.

Check out the zoom on this bad boy …

13/12/2009

canon camera powershot zoom test

I got to the office today and noticed a guy walking around outside in a chicken suit next to a woman handing out flyers. Apparently to save money on parking in Christchurch.

I thought that this was enough of a story in itself – what has a chicken got to do with parking? Why did the chicken park the car? Which came first, the chicken or the parking metre? It just doesn’t work.

So I took a photo at almost full zoom on my Canon Powershot S5 IS and was about to post it on the blog when I realised that the image had enough clarity to zoom in even further. I found that I could actually read the 2cm tall text on the flyer that the promo-girl was holding in her hand.

Pretty remarkable really. And now I know that the “EB” thing is all about “Early Bird” parking specials. Right.

I think they were asked to move on because they were right outside EB Games and the management probably didn’t want to be associated with a chicken.

The photos at the top of this article show: Left – the view from my window, Centre – The partly zoomed in photo that I took, Right – zooming in on Photoshop shows you can read the text on the flyer. Impressive.

Note: OK so I took the photo on the left after they had gone so I had to photoshop in a chicken standing in the mall entrance way to show you how far away they were.

Boy Racer Terrorises Christmas Shoppers

10/12/2009

The Hotel So Company Car

Ok not really but while I was taking photos of the Christchurch Sky Lens, my cousin, Doug, called me and said “Meet you outside your office. Grab a camera.” Then rocked up in this great motor!

Doug is currently tasked with driving this mean machine around Christchurch while passing out flyers for Hotel So saying “Why taxi when you can stay at Hotel SO”.

The mini road trip seems to be working well so far. While I stood with him, at least 8 people approached and asked what the story was.

This is reflective of a lot of marketing today. We can pick and choose what interests us and block out anything that doesn’t so people have got to make it interesting.

In this case, instead of walking up to someone and forcing a flyer into their hands, people are actively stopping Doug in the street and taking flyers.

Have fun, Doug. Don’t go using your cellphone while you’re driving that thing.

Proper Rich

04/12/2009

This New Zealand cave has nothing to do with this story other than the fact that it is a cave.

How’s this for a ‘rags to riches’ story? The UK Herald reports that two homeless brothers have been living in a cave on the outskirts of Budapest, occasionally visited by some charity workers, and have now found out they are to inherit a US$7 billion family fortune.

“If this all works out it will certainly make up for the life we have had until now — all we really had was each other — no women would look at us living in a cave,”

Apparently a lawyer had contacted the charity and asked them to find these brothers as they were to inherit a lot of money.

Come to think of it, I have about 20 e-mails in my junk folder that mention long lost relatives trying to off-load their fortunes and wealthy South African business men looking for someone to take all their money for no apparent reason. Maybe I should start replying to a few of these.

FTW! You’re doing it wrong.

02/12/2009

Twitter has a function called “hashtags”. Basically, if you’re talking about an event or a particular product, you mention a word associated with it and put a hash in front. Like #WorldAidsDay.

This means that anyone can click on that word in your tweet and instantly see what other updates are talking about the same topic.

Knowing this, I decided to do a search for #FTW. FTW is a slang abbreviation of either of the terms “For The Win” or “F*** The World”. The first is used when declaring something you’re proud of or excited about. The second is more of a “I’ve just done something awesome” thing, or a “screw you all!” thing. Note that his is not to be confused with “WTF” which means “What the f***??”

Here’s some interesting examples:

How nice is Tweetdeck ftw

So I guess with this one, Kyle is using the ‘For The Win” term in it’s most boring sense. He’s saying “Tweetdeck is nice isn’t it?”. Not sure you can get excited about that but there you go.

Twitter FTW Usage Status Update

This would be referring to the “F*** the world” usage. A bit excessive perhaps? Would you run to the rooftops yelling “F*** you all! I left the heat on!”.

Twitter use by emo teenThis one is … well … actually I have no clue. I ran this through the Google translator and it couldn’t associate this with a language . Perhaps it’s the language of the sort of people that photograph themselves in the mirror?

Twittter FTW search useAnd this one is a good example of how much FTW you can fit into 140 characters. I wonder if she’s saying she’s excited about something or if she’s about to load up her M14 assault rifle and go on a rampage around town?

For an even scarier insight into the minds of the Twitter-verse, check out Tremendous News’ article on the term “OMG YOU GUYS”.

The Official World’s Largest Scrambled Egg

30/11/2009

Ronald McDonald's Worlds Largest Scrambled Egg

Ronald McDonald: World's Largest Scrambled Egg

  • Sir Edmund Hillary
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Beautiful Mountains
  • Sheep
  • … and now eggs.

New Zealand is known for a few things and now it has an extra notch to its belt.

This morning, crowds gathered in the rain at Christchurch’s Cathedral Square in New Zealand to watch the official weigh-in of what is now the World’s Largest Scrambled Egg at 1.2 tonnes. That or they just came for the free breakfast.

World's-Largest-Scrambled-Egg

World's Largest Scrambled Egg at 1.2 Tonnes

The scrambled egg used 20,000 free range eggs and was a publicity event to launch McDonald’s use of free range eggs (at participating restaurants). The 20,000 eggs were churned up by McDonald’s chefs using a variety of garden shovels and rakes.

cooking-the-worlds-largest-scrambled-egg

Eggcellent.

Christchurch Deputy Mayor, Norm Withers, was there to announce the official result (Mayor, Bob Parker is probably watching his figure).

Holidays in Hanmer

30/11/2009

Hanmer Village Lake Apartments View

One (of many) reasons I love living in Christchurch is that you’re less than two hour’s drive from places like Hanmer.

Hanmer is a small village located between Christchurch and Kaikoura on the south island of New Zealand.

A year ago, my wife and I got married in Gisborne. So last weekend, we celebrated our one year anniversary in Hanmer.

Hanmer is well known for Hanmer Springs – a collection of thermal spa pools and a fantastic place to relax. It’s also known for its range of holiday homes, campsite and apartments. As it was our anniversary, we decided to go all out and book two nights at the luxury Village Lake Apartments. That’s the view from our balcony at the top of this post.

1980 Corvette in Hanmer, New Zealand

These apartments are operated by Cathy and Bryan Berryman. Both are really helpful and welcoming and can provide a great yarn. While we were there, Bryan spent a great deal of time crooning over his race-modified 1980 Corvette – and why wouldn’t you! It’s a really well maintained example.

The Hanmer Springs resort itself was suffering from the recent power cuts that the district had been experiencing. Some of the filters had broken and backfired their contents into the pools, so half of the pools were closed.

This was actually much less of a problem than expected. The remaining pools didn’t get too crowded and the entry fares were halved for the day (from $14 to $7 so bugger all really) to make up for the issues.

Monteiths Brewery Bar

On the first evening, we ate at the Monteiths Brewery Bar on the main road. We were served by a friendly young bloke and had a really good meal (Monteiths Radler battered fish and chips for me and Chicken Stack for the wife).

In the morning, we went back to the same place for breakfast. The options were quite limited – particularly for my wife as there were no fruit or muesli options. Having said that, I had one of the best full cooked breakfasts I’ve had for a long time. Eggs only came as fried but everything on the plate was cooked perfectly.

Peppers

On the next evening, we headed to Peppers restaurant which is basically in the car park of the Heritage Hotel (and probably gets a lot of customers from the hotel).

My wife had a great mixed seafood pasta for $28 and I had a “Duo of Canterbury Lamb” for $32. I had great expectations for this local lamb dish but for some reason, the lamb was really tasteless and was quite rare despite being advertised as medium-rare. The side of vegetables with a hollandaise sauce matched the tastelessness of my lamb.

Luckily, the dessert was very well presented and a great finish to the meal. Coupled with low-priced drinks ($5 for tap beers), the dessert and drinks made up for my average meal.

The decor of Peppers is also very attractive, although marred by some excessively colourful paintings from a local artist. These paintings really didn’t blend in well and it would have been great to see some great landscape paintings or photos of the local scenery. But maybe that’s just my personal tastes.

Springs Cafe in Hanmer

Springs Cafe in Hanmer

Springs Cafe

The final morning was spent at Springs Cafe for breakfast. These guys put on a fantastic, rustic, country-style breakfast. My eggs benedict with salmon was fantastic.

Before we left, we went for a drive along the gravel roads through Molesworth Station – New Zealand’s largest farm. This is a great side trip if you have a suitable vehicle – not like the guy in the 2-wheel-drive Mazda hatchback that followed us round the hills!

All-in-all, a fantastic weekend away from Christchurch.