It's the Bono leading the blind blondes

What rhymes with achtung?

It's the Bono leading the blind blondes

The one thing that truly stands out for me when thinking about the brilliance of U2 is not their songs, the drums, or riffs. Nor is it the hype and hyperbole of one of the world's most popular bands but their lyrics.

Bono has written the vast majority of U2's lyrics and in many of them you can find some true gems of penmanship, little sparkles of lyrical bliss that took a good song and put it into the territory of musical greatness.

I suggest that while some non U2 fans take any chance to diss Bono, they would be really grumpy buggers if they denied that Bono was a great lyricist.

Like a good poet, Bono's lyrics feature a whole range of subjects - love and loss, drugs, faith, faith in drugs, gods, Elvis and other monsters and of course, politics and it's prisoners.

This work leaves ample room for an inquiry into U2's lyrics, especially when The Edge chips in the odd song.

So what are Bono's best lyrical moments and qualities? What's his inspiration for putting pen to paper.  What makes Bono's lyrics so well received by millions of listeners and readers around the world? I can't speak for any one else but I thought I could share 10 U2 songs which I think highlight Bono's mastery of his craft.

Some of thing are simply clever word plays, others are stories of delight and irony - a thing which Bono and the boys were very heavy on in the 1990's.

Trabants on stage anyone?

10 songs that show Bono's lyrical qualities

Perhaps second only to With Or Without you in terms of popularity, it is arguably U2's finest song and I believe the lyrics are what make this so - I think this is because it's one of those songs where the lyrics can mean anything and everything to anyone.

At work last week a manager did a pop quiz and asked what this song was about. The answers varied from 'it's about a gay couple' or 'two torn lovers'. I think Bono's actually on record in the U2 by U2 book as One being a song about a couple that's breaking up. But that doesn't matter as its words are universal and have been taken to heart by so many U2 fans - indeed some have even had it as their wedding song which I'm sure would be a delicious irony for Bono

The Wanderer

"They say they want the kingdom but they don't want God in it". I think that's Bono perfectly capturing the wishes of so many of us. We want the nice things, but aren't prepared to put in the effort. Or something. For me, The Wanderer always seemed like some post apocalyptic dream - and it's perhaps a sign of a great song where it allows you to shape your own thoughts and fantasies around it (well when Bono mentions the 'atomic sky', that's nice nudge). Indeed, the whole of Zooropa's lyrics seem to take me to a strange other world, where in some places it's OK to feel numb or taste the lemon but spit out antifreeze.

Original of the Species

The title is suggestive of what's to come in this song, a play on Darwin's epic work about evolution - the song's lyrics are possibly a father looking at his daughter's own evolution from - child to woman. The second half is more likely Bono singing to his wife (and the message in the first half could also before her) - either way both, themes are heartwarming.

If God Will Send His Angels

'Blind leading the blond' is perhaps my favourite U2 line ever. It's just a cleverly simply play on words. Bono does that trick a fair bit in the Pop album - an almost too cute example is from The Playboy Mansion which opens with the lyric "If Coke is a mystery, and Micheal Jackson, history..." which was a nice play on the failing career of Jackson and a play on the name of his Greatest Hits album.

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Bono defiantly wears this song's lyrics on his sleeve. A song about soldiers shooting unarmed civilians in Northen Ireland - the lyrics capture the moment crisply by invoking a cross fire between religion and the military (and by extension the State) and the sad consequences when both collide.

 Featuring a fine use of  a marching drum beat by Larry Mullen, the song's chorus is a defining moment for Bono - it was one of U2's first truly popular 'classic' songs and it many ways this song defined U2 as a band that could carry some political weight.

Until the End of the World

"In my dream I was drowning my sorrows
But my sorrows, they learned to swim
Surrounding me, going down on me
Spilling over the brim

Waves of regret and waves of joy
I reached out for the one I tried to destroy
You, you said you'd wait
'Til the end of the world"

Simply one of Bono's finest song writing moments. Water is commonly used as a metaphor life yet here's Bono drowning in his sorrows. The song can be seen as a obvious story about how Judas betrayed Jesus and thus seen as one of those "U2 going on about God and spiritually" type songs but as with all good lyrics they can mean anything.

I tend to see this one more of a dramatic break up between two lovers where the relationship perhaps has been bit one sided.

The Wanderer

"They say they want the kingdom but they don't want God in it". I think that's Bono perfectly capturing the wishes of so many of us. We want the nice things, but aren't prepared to put in the effort.

For me, The Wanderer always seemed like some post apocalyptic dream - and it's perhaps a sign of a great song where it allows you to shape your own thoughts and fantasies around it (well when Bono mentions the 'atomic sky', that's nice nudge).

Indeed, the whole of Zooropa's lyrics seem to take me to a  strange other world, where in some places it's OK to feel numb or taste the lemon but spit out antifreeze.

Not a hugely popular song on release as a single but I think time has shown that Please was a fine song from U2's Pop album. Lyrically it was a political plea, invoking the captains of Irish politics to sort their messes out. The listener would perhaps know the song had political connotations if they had seen the cover which featured Gerry Adams and other elected leaders - however this stanza effectively leaves no stone unturned as Bono thows a rock in the air to hit home the issues:

Your Catholic blues, your convent shoes
Your stick-on tattoos, now they're making the news
Your holy war, your northern star
Your sermon on the mount from the boot of your car

Strong stuff from an album many people were quick to write off.

One could be forgiven for thinking that Get on Your Boots was simply a throw away song by U2 ( indeed one wonders why they released it as the first single from No Line on the Horizon when Magnificant probably would have given them a hit single) however the lyrics of this song run deep. Almost a stream of consciousness, tripping through it's seemingly nonsensical words but when Bono writes "I don’t want to talk about the wars between the nations" he's saying everything.

All I Want is You

This is Bono's finest love letter he has ever written. The closing from Rattle and Hum is simply a man tell a woman how he loves her - it's perhaps not the happiest song with undertones suggesting things may have gone awry - indeed the tremendous coda at the end suggests a passionate love affair being ripped apart by uncaring forces.

 A good lyric deserves a fine musical backing and All I Want is You has it in spades.


So that was my attempt to highlight some of the fine lyrical qualities and charms that Bono and U2 have to offer. Of course with any interpretation of songs, the whole exercise is a subjective journey, indeed a musical journey that could have stopped at a completely different set of songs.

Bono is a bit of a lyrical magpie. He steals lines from the bible and riffs on the work of others (such as when he tried to write a sequel of sorts to John Lennon's 'God') to make his point. But he does that and gets his unique messages across to the listener very well.

If someone hasn't already printed a book featuring all of U2's lyrics, they surely will as they serve as some fine literature in their own right. Throw in some politcal rallying and a little love making and there's a best seller book of poetry on your hands....

What are your favourite lyrical moments from U2?

Other pages you may be interested in:

U2's Blow Your House Down Lyrics

Blow Your House lyrics by U2

Blow Down Your House was released by Ireland's Finest Export since Guiness, U2 to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of their classic album, Achtung Baby. The song was from the recording sessions of that album. It was released as part of a super dooper reissue of Actung Baby.

Burn Your House down features all the familiar sonic elements of Achtung Baby - Edge riffs, appeggios, slide guitar, backing vocals and lyrics that feature a woman as a central character that's being out of control - kind of like The Lady with the Spinning Head (which was a U2 B-side but came from the same sessions).

Blow Your House Down Lyrics:

You've been along this road so many times
Nothing should be a surprise to you
Seen every premeditated crime
From every possible point of view

Why, if it's so wrong, does it feel so right?
Why, oh I've got your gun?
Do I want you tonight?

She, she's gonna blow your house down
She's gonna turn your head around
She's gonna blow your house down

What of chaos is the thing you crave
Is it the taste of self-inflicted pain
And what of losing is your drug of choice
Is it what keeps you coming back again

Why, if it's so wrong, does it feel so right

She, she's gonna blow your house down
She's gonna turn your head around
She's gonna blow your house down

She blow your house down
She's gonna turn your head around
She's gonna blow your house down

Run fast, fast as you can
Run fast, fast as you can
Fast, fast as you can
Run as fast, fast as you can
Fast as you can
Run as fast, fast as you can

The wave, it have its
She was saving it
What makes you think you can
Oh, they're craving
Deals for breaking
Your old devil's hands

She, she's gonna blow your house down
She's gonna turn your head around
She's gonna blow your house down

She gonna blow your house down
She's gonna turn your head around
She's gonna blow your house down

Check out the lyrics to U2's Oh Berlin.

Rock and Roll and Brew, nothing compares to Meatloaf

Bring me a gin

Meat Loaf Review and Set List Wellington New Zealand

26 October 2011

Venue: TSB Arena, Queens Wharf

Opening act: The under rated Luga Boa

Fresh from a stint in Australia where our Peter Pan fan Meat Loaf learnt aussie rules fans just don't fucking get him, Meat Loaf and his band of truly talented players hit Wellington for a one night only show.

Meat is 64 years old and in ill health with a voice that's had better days. And he knows it so he plays with that and makes it a part of his set to good effect with fun humour - his band thus has to carry him a fair way but the Neverland Express is a great ride.

The ever sexy Patti Russo (now at Cougar status) shone brightly as his foil for so many of the vocals - and as when I saw Meat Loaf in the same venue in 1997 (?) the highlight was her efforts during Paradise By The Dashboard Light. For some strange reason I liked it when she kicked Meat Loaf in the nuts.

Generally speaking, fans go to see Meat Loaf play classics from Bat Out of Hell and the odd hit from his comback years in the late 90s. So we got a rocking Bat out of Hell that featured some absolutely dire vocals, an excellent Rock and Roll Dreams and a pretty damn good Two Out Of Three Aint Bad.

Three songs from Hang Cool Teddy Bear were played all in a row to good effect - and as they were recently recorded Meat Loaf's live vocals filled those songs well.

To counter Meat's fragile health, the band plays loud and does plenty of musical interludes to let the big fella rest up a little (kind of reminds of what Axl Rose does these days!) - the violin and piano duel during Aint Bad was a great example and a fine piece of musicianship.

Meat Loaf was brilliant as he played up to the crowd, cracking jokes and rambling through a story about acid and teletubbies which made no sense until the end of the show when we were visited by actual Teletubbies and Alice in Wonderland characters. It only makes sense if you don't want peace on Earth and were actually there.

A fine night out was had by the crowd - their sing-alongs showed it and despite the shortcomings, the mighty Meat Loaf proved once again he is a great showman and entertainer.

Hang Cool, Teddy Bears.

Meat Loaf Wellington Set List:

Hot Patootie/Time Warp (from Rocky Horror Picture Show)

If It Ain't Broke, Break It

Bat Out Of Hell

Peace On Earth

Living On The Outside

Los Angeloser

You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)

Acoustic guitar solo (by Paul ‘Full Metal Jacket’ Crook)

Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through

Stand in the Storm

I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)

Acoustic guitar solo (Randy ‘Nashville’ Flowers)

Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad

Paradise By The Dashboard Light

Set Encore 1

Let it Roll  (The Doors cover) / Free Bird instrumental

All Revved Up With No Place To Go

Set List Encore 2:

Mercury Blues

Meat Loaf heads to Tauranga next and then on to Auckland.

JJ: Thinks about Gears of War

Gears of War 3 Wrap Up 

There's been a lot to think about with the release of Gears of War 3 late last month - with no apologies to Richard Prebble here's what I've been thinking.

My review of Gears of War 3 - it's as good as you imagine it is.
What should Gears of 4 be like? - it should be as good as you can imagine.
Does Carmine Live? - what's the fate of the third Carmine brother?
What about Adam Fenix? - how will Marcus fare when he finds his father?
How Karen Travis turned her Gears over - how Travis enrolled with the COG
Multiplayer tips for playing Gears of War 3 - get your wingman on.

And let's have a look at the Gears of War 4 campaign reviews.

Gears of War Three Review

This conclusion to the Gears of War trilogy has been a long time coming. Three red rings of death a marriage and a mortgage later, I've had the absolute pleasure to play and now review Gears of War 3.

I orignally purchased GOW1 as a filler game waiting for Halo 3 to arrive as I'd heard good things about it and that game sure delivered a fun filled kill fest and despite the nonsensical plot, ending General Raam's grubby run was a sweet deal. GOW3 has proven to be a sweet a deal as was the delight that was Halo 3 and dare I say it, a more enjoyable game to play than Halo Reach.

I thought I'd divvy this review up into the Acts of the game and give my thoughts as the game progressed.

Big ass spoilers follow.

Act 1. A big boat collides with the cole Train

So Chairman Prescott wasn't such a prick after all and may have the key to ending this whole nightmare? Such is the set up of the game - the new stranded onna boat must face new lambent horde who have no rhyme or reason for their actions, just killing. So that's what Marcus and his team of soldiers and secretaries get up to - if it's not taking down a giant Leviathan a la a Gears 2, it's the player taking the role of the Cole Train touching down on the face of some angry b'arch. At this point you begin to remember how corny GOW is but how fun the game is to actually play. It's time to find Adam Fenix!

Act 2. Like a band of hobbits, we're off to a Big Gate

Grist for the mill this level, a long journey to find Hoffman who may hold the key to finding Adam Fenix, the father of this game's hero Marcus. This leg is a bit of a slog but has a few novel features such as new guns that are quite kick ass. Baird, though always annoying, is given his dues as a true COG soldier and appears to be getting a bit more love and screen time than the prior games.

Act 3. Drop it like it's Hoff or 'meet me at the front gate'

It's often in the third act of a play where the shit hits the fan. As we all know, the Gears universe is a Mad World - so it's no surprise when in the most epic moment in Gears of War history, Marcus' brother till end end, Dominic sacrifices himself so Marcus and Anya can carry on to find Hoffman. It's possibly the finest gaming moment Gears of War has delivered thus far - how can the ending top this moment? This moment makes Seargeant Johnson dying in Halo 3 seem like a goldfish dying.

Act 4. Dom is dead, there's a dude that think's he's Ving Rhames or Simon Phoenix or something.

Marcus is a bit grumpy, his brother is dead and now he has to get some oil for a dude that's taken Dizzie hostage. The dude is some kind of cross between a pissed of Ving Rhames (the real life version) and Simon Phonix from Stallone's Demolition Man - it's epic cheese and one were GOW is let down by it's faux 'fuck you all, in your face attitudes' - it works for 12 year old gamers but not this player.

The Locust Queen turns up, flys around and pisses off - which leaves our heroes to fight their way to Dizzie's rescue - it's a good sequence and with the gnasher shotgun a fun chance to take on some Queen's guards at close quarters.

Act 5 or 6 (I'm Lost). We take the Sub Way

We'll it's more of a way to a Sub. Our heroes need to get to Azure. I've already forgotten why - but luckily Gears of War has always worked well without a comprehensive plot so I'm happy to run around dodging big electric centipedes while I get fuel for the submarine and some parts so Dizzy can take us to wherever.

The gun battles are fun, a boss battle against some heavily armoured Priests or whatever is a amusing - but as per the Arbiter in Halo 3, I can step back and let my team take some close quarters damage while I sit back from afar taking pot shots. I do however have a strong feeling this approach won't work when I get to a run through on Insane mode... revive me!

The Final Actions....

We battle through Azure's 'Malestrom' and after all these years we finally meet the father of Marcus, Adam Fenix - this should be of no surprise to any one who's played Gears before - the prior games have built to this moment and frankly it's a bit of an anti climax. This leads me to believe he's gonna die at the end of the game somehow, but not just before he faces Marcus and they hug it out.

So we battle through some kind of luxury hotel, where people b'arch about Prescott living it up large while the cities burn. I get the feeling this anger is misplaced.

There's some great set pieces throughout these final stages - they are going to really challenging on the Insane difficulty level.

You've read this far, so let's cut to the chase - the final act is a battle versus the Queen of the Locust Horde flying around on some kind of winged horse (if memory serves correct, we first saw it at the end of the first game). The game's final conclusion is obvious if you think about it - Marcus vs the Queen - it nearly happened in the second Gears game and when it happens, it's a fairly straight forward exercise in picking your moments with the Hammer of Dawn weapon.

And the story's conclusion? Well let's just say after 13 odd years of not seeing his father, Marcus gets to face his Dad for 13 seconds before he gives his life to save everyone else and make amends for the sins he believed he had committed.

Overall this was an extremely Gears of War game. If I've been snarky in places during this review it's because I expect great things from great games. Cheesey moments aside, Gears 3 has delivered a polished, bug free (??!) game with a semi coherent plot that answered a few things but created a few questions. The game features an excellent colour palate, interesting new monsters and a couple of good twists and turns. Definitely the best game of the series, my hat of the to the game's designers - they've earnt their pay this year!

So what's next for the Gears of War universe? GOW4?

P.S I was delighted to see the Carmine character live!

U2 songs you should have a second listen to

U2 is a band full of Irish lads (and an Englishman of sorts) well known for its big singles. Songs like Where the Streets Have No NameBeautiful Day and Desire all popular the world over. Some U2 songs sometimes get over looked by the casual fan. Here's we a list of U2 songs that I think are worthy of a second listen.

Please, from the album Pop.

Pop is probably Bono’s best effort lyrically across an album. With word plays on Michael Jackson being history over Jackson’s own HIStory pun, the blind leading the blonde and the line from Please, “Your Catholic blues, your convent shoes” pretty much summing up Bono’s eternal search for his place and pace in the world - this song was depressing yet uplifting at the same time. Overall, it was a question being asked of Ireland's political leaders.

Dirty DayZooropa

“These days, days, days run away like horses over the hill” being sung over and over at the end always remind me that I never have enough time to do what ever it is I wanted do. This song did make me go see a documentary on the guy it was dedicated to, the author Charles Bukowski and read some of his books.

Van Dieman’s Land, from Rattle and Hum.

This song has the Edge singing about the life of the John Boyle O'Reilly, who was deported to Australia for writing bad poetry. The song's sentiments reflect the hard life that immigrants faced when they arrived in Van Dieman's Land.

Unchained Melody

Clearly not an original U2 song but when you hear Bono sing it, it has the emotion that all their big hits have. Released as a B-side to With Or Without You, it has been a favourite amongst the U2 hardcore for years.

MLKThe Unforgettable Fire album.

While the fire is a reference to atomic bombs being dropped in Japan (an early portent of How to dismantle an Atomic Bomb maybe?) the album seemed dedicated to two Kings – Elvis and Martin Luther King. MLK is sung like a lullaby. While Bono’s politic rants and beseeches and besmirches of The Man might put the more jaded and cynical amongst us to sleep, you can’t complain that this song does the same in a nice under the covers on a rainy day kind of way.

Beat on the Brat, cover of The Ramones, from the We’re a Happy Family Ramones Tribute Album.

Beat on the brat with a baseball bat. Yeah punk. U2 started out playing Ramone’s covers trying to pass them off as their own. Which is pretty much the music industry down pat these days. What can you do?

Original of the Species.

Coming from their popular How to Dismantle and Atomic Bomb album, Original of the Species is almost like a classic father to daughter message, 'Don't Grow Up Too Fast, Baby'.

What are your favourite U2 songs you think are worthy of a second listen?

Chris Cornell Set List Wellington New Zealand

Chris Cornell Set List Wellington New Zealand

2 October 2010

Micheal Fowler Centre, Wellington

A rather chirpy Chris Cornell kicked of the first night of his solo acoustic tour 'Songbook Volume 1' with a set list full of classic Soundgarden songs, hit singles in his own right and a few of Audioslave numbers - these songs were  packaged with 6 cover songs as well, including the very popular, Bille Jean.

Chris took requests every so often - Like a Stone was one of the first. He had some good crowd banter, talked about the Rugby World Cup and not drinking and then cooking and burning the house down.

At one stage he gave the audience a choice between Like Suicide or Billie Jean - he thought the vote was pretty even and said he could do both.

Chris seemed genuinely pleased to be in Wellington and the crowd was very receptive to his mentioning that he'd be back with his band Soundgarden next year.

Cornell Set List:

Dark Globe (Pink Floyd - Syd Barret Cover)

Wide Awake

Can't Change Me

As Hope And Promise Fade

Call Me a Dog


Fell on Black Days

Hunger Strike

Like a Stone

State Trooper (Springsteen's song from Nebraska)

When I'm Down


Blow Up The Outside World

I am the Highway

A Day in the Life (Beatles Cover)

Like Suicide

Doesn't Remind Me

Set List Encore

Redemption Song (Bob Marley song)

Billie Jean (Michael Jackson)

Blackhole Sun

Imagine (John Lennon)

Check out 7 Concerts Worth Travelling To

Why I love Rogan Josh and other horses

rogan josh melbourne cup

Why I love Rogan Josh and other horses

Horse racing is in my blood.

My grandfather, the late J.P. Ryan was a trainer and so horses were a large part of the family's life until his death in the mid 60s.

The seed was planted well enough so that the extended family continue to attend race days for the purposes of family entertainment and gambling.

Most of my racing attendance has been at the Hawke's Bay Race Club in Hastings.

It's not a fancy horse racing venue though the surrounds of the Havelock Hills and wider vista down the Heretaunga Plain make it a perfect spot to watch the horses come pounding in down the home straight.

Indeed, the sound of the hooves hit the turf  as they near the winning posts is perhaps one of the most awesome sounds you'll hear.

Here's a trip down memory lane of some of the horses I admired and enjoyed as a kid (and as an older kid!)

Master Blaster

Late for the races one day, Dad did a phone bet for us kids on Master Blaster, chosen specifically because of its name. As we headed to the track we listened to the race on the car radio.

I don't recall where he was in the race at the time but he fell over a hurdle and broke his leg.

Us kids felt pretty bad about that though not as bad as the vet who had to put Master Blaster down - he actually managed to shoot himself in the hand before the lame animal was finally spared.


Before the recession tanked everything, there used to a race called the Kelt Capital.

It was a Group 1 race, meaning it was a prime race and had prime horses - to win it was to mean you had a fine horse on your hands.

I remember the popular Horlicks won it in dead heat which was kind of exciting back in the day.


Arguably NZ's finest race horse, Sunline was a modern day champion that NZ fell in love with. She won just about everything she raced in - including famously two Cox Plates.

And she wouldn't just win, she would win by miles - at the turn or top of the straight her jockey, Greg Childs, would let her go and she'd just leave the other runners in her dust - it wasn't until her later years as she aged when younger horses like Northerly could catch her.

Despite her winning 32 out of 48 races, I think I lost more money on her than I won!


Everyboy has their favourite horse and my brother David's was Bonecrusher. While Simon liked dinosaurs and I liked snakes, David liked Bonecrusher like JFK liked blondes.

He had scrap books of every article written about the beast. Bonecrusher is famous for winning the Cox Plate where he just ousted Waverlly Star as they battled each other for the lead as they left the other runs in their wake. I think

David liked the name as it was that of a Transformer from the Destructicons....

Rogan Josh

I'd never heard of Rogan Josh until he won the Melbourne Cup - it seemed a bloody odd name for a horse and it was my who informed me that rogan josh was actually an 'aromatic lamb dish hailing from Kashmir'.

Who knew?

Mum. And she then made it for the next evening's meal and I've been ordering it to eat ever since!

Empire Rose

I think this is my personal favourite - Empire Rose was another Melbourne Cup winner and I think the reason why I loved her as a kid was she was sooooo big. I remember the Cup race vividly enough to recall that Natski got second - it's not very often you can remember who got second so it must have been a good race eh?

Apparently as the two went past the post, while Empire Rose's nose was ahead, her rump was behind Natski's - which just goes to show how big she was!

Image Credit

Moving to the Karori, gonna eat a lot of Peaches

So Jay Bee and I have bit the bullet, got a mortgage, and bought a house in Karori. I understand it's a place where people go to be grown ups. I know it's a place for grown ups as it has a New World and only grown ups shop at New World. 


We have a lovely brick house with three bedrooms and a fricken sweet living area. We did have to make sure that all our whiteware was actually all silverware so it would match the oven! WTF you say? 

Look, I don't ask why, I just fork over the cash. It's easier that way.

In return, I get sanctuary over what has quickly been called the Man Cave and the garage for the car. This means I get to buy stuff to put stuff in said buildings like gardening shears, an axe (acutally two), paint, hammers and saws. Yippie!

Moving in was an all day effort and things went well - a big ups and thanks for E who took time out to spend the day lugging boxes and beds down 28 steps all day.

The week that followed was an assortment of cleaning, removing ugly shelving, getting firewood delivered, learning which number bus to catch and what was the best of the three fish and chip shops Karori has to offer.

Answers to the learning: The Number 3 and Corfu.

The three day weekend was a further excuse to go a lil nuts at Bunnings buying various other tools like snippers and loppers plus some glphosate weedkiller and a grass cutting machine. Oh, and curtains. We bought lots of curtains. And then I hung curtains. Looots of curtains.

And that's what I wrote a few months ago and forgot to press publish. Since then I've sanded benches and window sills, had a party and a BBQ and painted the front step. It also snowed. If snowed for the first time in 50 years in Wellington and it was muthuckin cold!

JJ: Reviews Bioshock 2 for the Xbox 360

So I know I'm a year and a half behind but I've finally got hold of Bioshock 2 and had a run through the campaign and I've got to say, like the original Bioshock, this is a bloody good game!

Set some 8 years after the first decent to Rapture, Bioshock 2 begins with you as a Big Daddy (known as Delta) facing your foe, Sophia Lamb. As she induces you to commit suicide using hypnosis, you immediately what kind of hell hole have you found yourself, is it Rapture's own version of the Devil's Dungeon?

Gameplay is based on the original BioShock (though improved), where the player Delta explores the city of Rapture and fights off Splicers, other abominations, the remaining psychotic and deluded human population of the city, using a combination of the environment, weapons, Plasmids, and Tonics.

I found myself favoring the electrical plasmid, the shotgun and the spear gun as my weapons of choice. The real fun to be had its mixing it up with the different kinds of ammunition, the burning phosphorous shells being an effective show stopper.

The storyline is intertwined with the original tale of Rapture in the sense that the struggle between Andrew Ryan and this game's Antagonist Sophia Lamb is the backdrop to your attempt to rescue your daughter Eleanor. This time the game focuses on a discussion of socialism colored with a cultist religion that would determine a new Utopia as opposed to Ryan's rhetoric of a free market without principle or rule of law.

Is Sophia really your daughter?

Is this a fake out like the classic Would You Kindly? from the original?

Who is going to double cross me?

Should I let this Old Lady die?

What about this Child Kidnapper? Should he be made to suffer for his actions?

These are some of the questions that Bioshock 2 asks you to think about and even act on. There are plenty of occasions when you have no time to think but merely react - this is when the Big Sisters come for you. As you venture through the game, your Little Sister can obtain some Adam for you - the Big Sisters do not want you to get the Adam (as you become stronger) so they come to attack - the are relentless screaming banshees that do not stop until you are dead or they die trying.

The Big Sister attacks make for a delightful gaming experience, and kudos to the game designers for introducing this new facet to the game to mix things up. While it's always fun to take on a rampaging Big Daddy, they simply aren't scary anymore when put up against the Big Sisters.  The music that accompanies a Big Sister attack is simply a perfect mix of conveyed terror and danger - indeed the music of Bioshock 2 is an absolute triumph.

Hey Soul Sister?
Overall Bioshock 2 is a damn fine sequel to what was a refreshingly original piece of gaming adventure. People without brains can play it for it's run and gun appeal whereas those with some life learning or education can enjoy the fantastic story - not since the last Bioshock game have I really had to think - sure Mass Effect asks you to make choices along the way, but Bioshock has the edge in engaging my mind.

I think Bioshock Infinite has a lot to live up to after this game. Hopefully it's story will be as appealing as both Bioshocks have been. For this gamer, I'll definitely be getting it so as to have another chance to play with the magic of the Bioshock series.

JJ Reviews: Dark Side of the Moon Transformers

bumblebee transformers dark of moon

There was a time in the Autobot's history at their darkest hour, when the future looked bleak and as the credits to Revenge of the Fallen rolled, Transformers fans wondered if Micheal Bay was actually the right guy to be directing these giant fucking robot vs giant fucking robot movies. It turns out he can and that we can squarely lame most of the blame for Revenge of the Fallen's plot failures on the the writer's strike cos Bay has delivered the smash that we all wanted Dark of the Moon to be.


Let's face it, a site called The Optimus Prime Experiment is going to give props to any Transformers movie but this time, I'm giving BIG props to Dark of the Moon. This was a fearless movie. You thought it was bad ass when Jazz was killed in the first movie? This is a movie where EVERYONE dies. And jeepers is it satisfying.

Sam finally has a true moment of glory against a Decepticon when he manages to remove Starscream's eye and replace it with a bomb. Sentinel Prime murders Ironhide in a classic movie betrayal plot point and well, Megatron finally got was coming to him, killed by his one armed brother, Optimus Prime. That's right, one armed!!

It was a bloody long movie with a whole 'building collapsing' plot point that served us nothing but a vehicle to show bad ass Shockwave was. Or wasn't. The trailers made him seem like he was set to rule the planet but in the end he was just there to make some fan boys happy.

And indeed, the fan boys will be very happy with what's going on in this movie - lots of head severing, Prime with his swords and finally, he has a trailer to lug around some awesome weaponry. Bumblebee gets a few by now  mandatory heroic moments and Sam Witwicky actually gets a pretty decent run this time as he's matured from  love struck teenager to love struck man about town with his newest sexy warrior goddess in tow. The Lazerbeak character is utterly brilliant and convincing as an evil bird.

If you enjoy Star Trek, there's an awesome bit where they get Sentinel Prime (voiced ably well by Leonard Nimoy (who voiced Galvatron in the animated movie)) to say the classic line the "needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few"   which is sure to be a classic Dark of the Moon quote.

You still have to check your brain at the door to enjoy this movie. It's one of those awesome thrill rides, that if you have enough pop corn to get you through, you're going to love.

A costume too far?

Dark of the Moon Promotional Poster Transformers

Dark of the Moon featuring Optimus Prime, Sam and Carly
Check out this awesome promotional poster for the new Transformers movie. Dark of the Moon which willl be released on 1 July. Judging from the latest trailer, DOTM is going to be an epic movie, featuring attacks on Earth cities and a pretty evil looking Shockwave as the main antagonist. Here's some quotes from the movie trailers.

Extra for Experts: Here's a screenshot of Bumblebee from the trailer:


Introducing Bellatron

Bored of Life? Tired of watching Reality TV? Check out the adventures of Bellatron as she takes on the world one slug of vodka at a time! Infamous for her battles with the evil Decepticons such as Starscream, she'll take on any one, even an entire race of Kali Ma! When Bellatron is not leaving a sea of broken hearts in her wake, she's been known to give Superman a hand fighting the good fight, heck she's had plenty of Kills, Spills and Thrills!

Bellatron's most recent project has been to produce U2's new album, Cyber Love

There and Back Again - Peter Jackson back in Hobbiton

Today the filming of the Hobbit began and NZ's greatest film maker put a picture of him up on his Facebook page - looking much more trim than when he first filmed the originally LOTR Trilogy.

Nice work !

Show's you what a healthy diet can do for you eh?
The two shots are of the same stage setting for the Hobbit (well same same but different)  - It's where Bilbo Baggins lived in Hobbiton.

I just love how Peter appears to be wearing the same boots and thought to use the pipe again for the photo reshoot. Let's hope whatever is in the pipe has helped him dream up some fantastic adventures for the Hobbit characters!

Dude, Earthquake stole my weed stash!

Despite the grimness of the Christchurch Earthquake, somethings can give us a reason to laugh, and heck despite it, all sometimes you need to have a laugh.

Check out this picture, supposedly from the quake, that shows that at least one person in the Christchurch CBD was growing a weed stash!

Weed plants found after Christchurch Earthquake

I don't suppose any copper in Christchurch is too worried about any one growing a small crop of weed in the roof right now - but you do gotta laugh right?

Check out some pictures of the earthquake, that takes you back to reality pretty quickly.

Christchurch: In Cashel Street I wait

Here's a few pictures from the Earthquake that hit Christchurch yesterday. It's just a fucking mess.

Truck in a hole

The Lucky

Christchurch Earth Quake Pictures - Feb 2011

Christchurch Earth Quake Pictures - Feb 22 2011

Here we go again - Christchurch had another large earthquake today, apparently it was 6.3 on the Richter Scale, centered near Lyttelton, a port near Christchurch. The CBD of Christchurch has been grossly affected.

Sadly the NZ Police have confirmed there has been some fatalities where buses have been caught by debris. Many people injured as well, caught in buildings. Major reports of damage have come in and there is flooding beginning to happen. This is a horrific day.

Here's some shots of damaged buildings and cars crushed by bricks.

Damaged Building Ariel View

Car Crushed under bricks from house

Street flooded
Quake victims being attended to:

Here's the damaged Cathedral in the Town Square:

Cathedral takes another hit
Here's some pictures following the earth quake that were posted shortly afterwards by people using twitter and their phones:

A Church in Durham (?)

Obviously this building was already damaged in the Sept 2010 quake

People on the street

Weekend that Was: Tongariro Crossing

Pretty Simple weekend for Jimmy Jangles:

Te Wife and some of my colleagues made like trampers and followed the much walked Tongariro Crossing, a 19km hike through Tongaririo National Park. It's hard yakka in parts but full of great views. It even has reception and I was able to tweet from the base of Mount Ngarahoe! Technology eh? What would the world have been like if Ed Hilary had twittered "We knocked the bastard off!"?

I did the Tongariro trip in 2005, I'm sure u'll agree I'm still  just as handsome as I ever was....sadly for us their was a little bit of cloud so we couldn't see much of Tongario or Ruapehu, but as we got to the other side the canvas of Lake Taupo was pretty cool!

Woke up on Sunday with legs like concrete and they refused to move but somehow we made it to see Black Swan. Who knew ballet could be so entertaining? I hope Natalie Portman gets an Oscar award; and with her literally crazy performance she's got a good chance.

In other news, Banarama went top of the charts in Egypt.

Optimus Prime Animation by Neil Billings

Neil's got nothing to do now that he's finished his Monsters Eat Spaceships animation so he did what every animator should do and has brought Optimus Prime to life in a quick and dirty animation:

Optimus Prime from Neil Billings on Vimeo.

Visit for more design.

Extra for Experts: Check out this oarsome costumed team of Optimus Primes from the Sevens Rugby tournament.

JJ Reviews: Mass Effect 2

mass effect

So like I finally completed Mass Effect 2 and it's quite the game eh? 

But you already knew that didn't you? 

I tend to be very picky with my Xbox game purchases and will often only purchase a game well after the hype has died and the reviews and reflections of seasoned gamers are to be found. That was how I found the original Mass Effect and when the price was right, I snapped it up.

After that Magnificent game, I don't know why I delayed getting ME2 for so long. It's a triumph of story telling, it's your own pick-a-path in space - knowing the choices I make for our hero Commander Sheppard have repercussions in game and in ME3 can make for a torturous exercise at times! It's not as good as these quotes from The Last Jedi however!

Knowing that I have a renegade Sheppard game saved for another run through meant I could generally keep a firm line - I usually chose a paragon action over the renegade but once in a while it was literally fun to stab someone in the back.

The characters to be found in ME2 are almost larger than life. When you get passed the dullsville that is Jacob, the Krogan known as Grunt, and to a certain extent, Miranda, the Mass Effect universe is full of interesting characters. I really enjoyed chatting with Mordin Solus about the ethics of the genophage and Samara's views on vigilante justice. I was disappointed when I managed to let her die during the suicide mission - I won't let that happen on my second run though!

I found the combat to be improved this time round, I don't know if was all my training with the sniper rifle in Halo: Reach or that they made it easier but this was my go-to weapon for most encounters. I liked how MED made the whole weapons arrangement systems 'automatic'.

Despite lots of complaints from people, I didn't mind the mining operation part of the game to fund weapon upgrades and the like. Sometimes a bit of toil can bring rewards and I figure doing all of that helped build to a successful suicide mission outcome (maybe further run throughs with different choices may render that idea redundant?).

The original game was perhaps infamous as it allowed your character to pursue sexual conquests with your team mate. Clearly the ME2 designers had still not been told of the expression, never screw the crew, because I managed to get it on with Miranda:

It was amusing to meet ME's original love, Ashely on a mission wherein she immediately got all mad at Sheppard for dying on her, not calling or whatever and basically threw a sulking tantrum only to apologise by an email later on. 

Does sleeping with Miranda after 'chat' that mean Sheppard cheated on Ashley? What repercussions if any will this have for Mass Effect 3? Either way, I stayed away from that Jack girl. She got crazy coming out her ears!

I did appreciate how the choices made in ME1 had some influence on this new story. While I may have shot a certain grumpy Krogan die because he bored me and let the Arachni Queen live simply because I like spiders, I was pleased to see they had an relevance in ME2 - and so see how the alien races in universe of ME are slowly banding together as a result of in game actions is a great example of game play and story telling.

Overall I immensely enjoyed my first run through of Mass Effect, it as a multitude of stories to tell, many aliens to shoot and the graphics and cut scenes were top notch. Bring on Sheppard saving Earth in ME3. 


Want to see some Mass Effect cosplay? Check these pages out:

Mirandasome other green faced dudeJack, Samara, the infamous nude promo girls and of course the ever popular EDI and Garrus.

The reviews of Mass Effect: Andromeda are in.

2011 Rugby Sevens Costumes and Cosplay

barbie box cosplay
I'm a barbie girl!
We've got more! Our first page of sevens costumes pictures went down a treat with at least 2 people liking it enough on Facebook so we went and found more costumes from the Friday evening stretch.

Costume choices of the day included some Fred Daggs doing their kiwi equivalent of Being John Malkovich and some sexy girls dressed up as rubix cubes. Bless.

Giant breasted cosplayers

These guys and girls made right boobs of themselves! And why not, if you actually get your kit out at the Sevens (or any other sporting occasion at the Cake Tin) they through you out for indecent exposure. ...

A whole group of Wookies at the sevens
Punch it Chewey!
I'm Fred! No I'm Fred!

Fred Dagg is a classic kiwi icon - a caricature of a NZ farmer / bloke - the Fred Dag is an easy costume to make, slap on your black wifebeater single, step into your gumboots and you are away in cosplay heaven- the exta bonus is when you wake up inthe morning still wearing your sevens costume, you're ready to shear a few hundy sheep!
Men with blow up birds. What else is there do say?
rublicks cube cosplay girls
Even if you solve it, they won't give you their numbers!
Which one of these ladies is the Ring Master?
Office Stationary as a costume. Brilliant. Get it?
As you can see, the Sevens Weekend is all about the costumes, no one even watches the rugby - why would you went there's so much to look at in the stands!