All posts by ntbadmin

Headline Love

Headline Love
(Abigail Love #2)
by David Blake (2017)

After a successful working partnership and a blossoming carnal relationship, Abigail Love and her boyfriend, Will, have moved up to London together to join their YouTube news channel, Prime Time Today. But all is quiet, and with nothing much to report on, Abigail’s job is soon under threat, along with her relationship. Fortunately for her, McDongle makes a timely appearance.

This starts as the first book ended. The psychotic killer from the first returns. In fact he is most of the story and the main protagonist. He engineers a series of mad and wild ways of knocking off people for money It’s him that drives the story forward and provides the humour. Just as good as the first, and hopefully not the last.


Saul 1.02

Better Call Saul 1.02 – Mijo

Tuco drags Jimmy at gunpoint into his house. Jimmy explains that the twins were part of his scam operation, but they picked the wrong car.

Here we see where Saul’s skills play out. He is able to persuade Tuco to ‘just’ break legs, not kill people who annoy him. During the episode he gets an overture to gain lots of money easily, but by crossing over to the other side.

Will he ?
It seems inevitable.


Saul 1.01

Better Call Saul 1.01 – ‘Uno’

Following the events of Breaking Bad, Saul Goodman is living under the assumed name Gene in Omaha, Nebraska and managing a Cinnabon. One night after work, he watches a tape of television ads made when he worked as an attorney.

Well, it wasn’t clear to me if this was in the future or past. Bob Odenkirk is almost unrecognizable.

Flashing back to 2002, Jimmy McGill (Saul’s original name) is a struggling public defender in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Here is where we really begin.  Saul is down on his luck, but persistent. And the episode ends with a question.

Just where has he ended up ?


Deep State 3

Finally Max gets to be reunited with his son. And it’s in a chase scene. If it was anyone else, he would have shot first and answered question later. But because it was his son, the plot demanded that he not shoot. The convenience just annoyed me and I lost interest.

Time to move on.

Throw Away English

(written 22/11/1998)
Have you seen “Pop-up Video” on Saturday nights, TV4 at 7pm ?
They play a range of music videos from the 80’s to the present crop. Each video has been “enhanced” by little pop-up messages that display messages about the musician (?), how the video was made and any other useless information deemed necessary. Perfect for the video/computer generation. Pure Rubbish… but is it ?

It’s important in this age of low IQ TV and coke consumerism to distinguish between the current forms of low brow entertainment :

Trash is something of low quality, but with that “let me see” quality. Like “white trash” (low income Caucasians ?), its obvious that this form of entertainment is not aimed at the great minds of our time. But it does have a certain quality about it; we want to look just to see how stupid the gnomes at TV think we are. This probably explains the apparant popularity of the “reality based” shows.

Entertainment This Week
When Animals/People/Trucks etc attack
Shortland St

Rubbish is something that has been thrown out. Its the product of something else and is of absolutely NO value to anyone. The only thing you can do with rubbish is bury it or render it
down to molecular level for use as something else. In TV, it is usually someone else’s idea re-used the fifth time for the New Zealand market. Or it can be just the stuff that other broadcasting organisations throw out.

Examples :
Talk Soup
(If you have seen “Frontline”, you will know that this type of program uses stories that have previously been published in the newspapers – or they make them up to satisfy the advertisers.)
Who Dares Wins
All Game Shows
60 Minutes & 20/20
(These have been thrown out by ABC, CNN etc but TVNZ scrapes them out of the bin and broadcasts them)

Junk is something else. As George Carlin said : “What’s my stuff is your junk”. So junk is something that may be of use to you, but not to me. For instance, the religious programs broadcast at 7am Sunday mornings are probably watched by some of the 20 million sheep who think they are people, but not by me. Conversely, there is some poor programmer in TV2 who thinks that Babylon 5 is junk, why else would they broadcast it at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon. It may be junk to them, but to the better educated, it is a great story.

Some other examples :
Infocomercials/Home Shopping
All Sports Programs
Medical Dramas
American Sit-coms

So in conclusion, “Pop-up Video” is trash, not rubbish. And we will have to be careful in the future defining our low brow entertainment… after all… there is a lot more of it out there.


Deep State 2

Max’s son Danny either has a Transporter, or some serious plotonium. He leaves a burnt out car and is told to head out towards some hills. Next thing, he turns up in Tehran.

Meanwhile the wife is on a hit list, only to get away at the last second. It looks like members of MI6 attending a conference of their superiors act like no other civil servants I have heard of.

And who is the MI6 agent that appears to work for the other side ?
Don’t they do personell checks before employing people.

And still the plot thread ‘three days ago’ persists. This is starting to get annoying and the whole story looking too implausible.

Deep State 1

Deep State is a British television espionage thriller series, written and created by Matthew Parkill and Simon Maxwell, that first broadcast in the United Kingdom on Fox on 5 April 2018. The first eight-part series, which began filming in May 2017, stars Mark Strong as Max Easton, a former Field Agent for MI6 who is recruited back into the field.

Episode 1 (Old Habits)
The start is a real cliche of the thriller genre . Max Easton (Strong) is and ex MI6 agent, living in France with a wife and children. Events in the Middle East prompt his old boss to bring him back in to solve a problem. Harry has been killed and it turns out he is Max’s son.

Meanwhile his wife is the suspicious type and finds out what his old job really was. This I found hard to believe. If he has been with her since the birth of the oldest daughter (about 10) it’s surprising it took her this long. Maybe she is part of the conspiracy ?


Siege 2

The Cook, his Niece The Nerd and the Thief
Under Seige 2 (1995)
Stevan Seagal stars as Casey Ryback. Ex SEAL, monosyllabic hero of
another Hero-saves-the-world movie.

You can guess certain things from the start. That the young girl (his
niece) is going to be captured by the bad guys at some stage and used as a hostage. That the *big* bad guy will know our hero, and that he will insist in taking him on at the end of the film hand to hand. Why the hero doesn’t just pick up a gun & blow him away I don’t know.

The plot goes something like :
The USA military develops a particle beam weapon that is launched into space under the guise of a mapping satellite. An ex-employee (the nerd, who looks like a young Eliot Gould) and a band of mercenaries capture a train. They install computers & satellite tracking equipment to gain control of the satellite. The bad guys blow up a chemical factory to show they are serious, then threaten to turn California into an undersea world by triggering the San Andreas fault.

Seagal does the job OK under the direction of NZ director Geoff
Murphy. Unfortunately, speech isn’t one of his good points. A scene
early in the film to establish the relationship between him and the
niece isn’t very convincing. The one-liners only *just* work, and he
is looking a bit too old for the karate moves.

The action, with just enough suspense, makes up for the acting.

Overall 7/10 (OK, but NOT at the James Cameron level)

Break Bad S5

Breaking Bad Season 5


The fifth and final season of the American television drama series Breaking Bad premiered on July 15, 2012, and concluded on September 29, 2013.

This season caused me problems as I had purchased what I thought was the complete season, only to find that I only had the second part. After getting the first half, I watch it through, repeating some of the later episodes..

Creator Vince Gilligan….

Said that he wanted to tell the story of how Walter Mitty became Scarface. And with the help of Bryan Cranston he succeeds. It’s only in the final episode that Walt becomes self aware of his own motivations. Terrific ending, only spoiled because I had seen an episode of Mythbusters that tested Walter’s machine of destruction.




by R.A. Salvatore 


The long struggle is over at last. The demon Dactyl is no more, its dark sorceries shattered by the gemstone magic wielded by the woman known as Pony. But victory did not come easily. Many lives were lost, including Pony’s lover, the elf-trained ranger Elbryan Wynden.

In a recent interview on the Sword & Laser podcast, Bob Salvatore said that when he submitted this book to his publishers he got no requests for edits.

This is surprising, as it’s a long and involved story. It joins two  trilogies and cannot be read without reading the first. Very complex church and state battles are at the heart of the book. So it doesn’t have as many battles. It does have a deadly disease and you just know that somehow Pony  will fix everything by the end.

Not that fulfilling, but an intriguing precursor to the next trilogy.