The Masterson Inheritance

Here is something unique. A long form improvised comedy series.
Described as “an improvised historical saga of a family at war with itself.”

It’s notable for its well known improvisors:
Josie Lawrence
Paul Merton
Caroline Quentin

Also along for the ride is
Phelim McDermott,
Lee Simpson
Jim Sweeney

Get it if you can, half the fun is in the missteps and stuff-ups.

Cabin Pressure

Cabin Pressure is another excellent BBC Comedy series.

Written by and starring John Finnemore it follows the exploits of the oddball crew of the single aeroplane owned by “MJN Air” as they are chartered to take all manner of items, people or animals across the world.

Also starring
Stephanie Cole
Roger Allam
Benedict Cumberbatch

There are four series and it’s consistently well written and funny.
Recommended.

Get it from Audible.

 

New PC 2004-08-23

Well, it’s here, looking sexy on my desk.
She has an outer case in beige with a dark blue fascia panel
that has blue down both sides and at the bottom.

In the interior you would find…….

DVD/CD ROM Drive
DVD/CD Writer
120GB HD
3.5″ Floppy $14
AMD 2.8GHz CPU
Albatron KX600S motherboard
512MB Memory
G-Force FX 5700 Graphics Card
56K Modem
Windows XP Home

I got it from 9-10 AM Monday 23 August 2004 from Vintron.
(just down the road at 142 Yaldhurst Rd)

After getting a new DVD player (I now have 2) I needed something
to play on it. I didn’t want to use my Ayreon DVD until the region
settings were permanent, so I went to Riccarton Mall and got
‘The Complete Black Adder’. It’s the four seasons on 4xDVDs.

While in Dick Smith I got the last (so I was told)
256MB USB Micro Drive in the shop. The CD that comes with it is
very handy, it has…….
Adobe Acrobat 6.0
CDEX 151 (CD Ripper)
DirectX 9 (22/6/2004)
Mozzila 1.7
Firefox 0.9
Thunderbird 0.7
OpenOffice 1.1 (2003 August 11)
PC Tech Guide
This looks interesting, even explains DVD types !
WinAmp 3.0 & 5.03
Zone Alarm

Fortunately, the guys at Vintron tested the PC with XP using
the ‘Classic’ Win98 style interface. I have been spared the horrible
‘furry’ default style. There lots of little changes I am noticing
to XP (relative to 98) and most of them are just plain annoying.
I can see what Microsoft have done, trying to make thing ‘easier’
for the novice. But they just get in the way !


I’m not sure where the DVD writing software is ?
There appears to be some sort of built in support for writing CDs,
but I don’t know about DVDs. Do you need to install another application
to do DVD authoring & audio CDs ?


I don’t know why I was worrying about running my old
9-Pin dot matrix printer. I didn’t even bother installing
a printer driver. I just ran CMD and entered

COPY FILE.TXT LPT1:

it worked first time !


The Palm transfers work faster now, with a USB connection it’s seconds instead of minutes !

I don’t need the old serial cradle now. Ian, do you still want it ?


So far, the only real problem has been the lack of a Win XP driver for my Camera floppy adapter. After searching on the internet I eventually found it and got the camera transfers working.


Tried installing Adobe Audition. Installs OK, but fails
to work. No feedback !


Be sure to listen to National Radio Tuesday 24th at 8pm.

Kim Hill is having a discussion on ‘nasty violent’ computer/video
games. In the promo currently playing, they are describing ‘Doom 3’
as one of the most violent games.


 

PC Meeting 11/4/96

PC Group Meeting 11/4/96

“DIRECT LINK”
(Electronic Banking from the National Bank)

Was to be presented by Nigel Wilson, but was done by Jane who is
the rep for the top of the south island (above Timaru)

With a computer, modem & $40 per month you can pay your bills
electronically (no cheques involved). Apparently this has been available
to large companies for 7 years. Now the National Bank is targeting
medium to small businesses with this Windoze product.

With the pricing at $40 per month (no other charges) I suspect that
it is being subsidized. This price makes it economical down to the
business with only a few staff.

The software looks like it has been refined over many versions. Despite
having no accounting knowledge, after the 40 minute presentation I am
sure I could use the package to pay my bills. With the use of credit
cards and EFTPOS, I could throw away that annoying _right_ handed
cheque book.

The product is not targeted at individuals, however it seems inevitable
that a personal electronic banking service will be promoted by the banks in a few years.

The most interesting part is the security verification method.
Payments are made in batches. Each batch goes through a 5 stage cycle

1. Data entry
The bank accounts, and the amount to be transferred is entered.
For a business using an accounting package, this is done
automatically.

2. Batch frozen
At this stage a printout can be obtained

3. Security Verification
The purchaser of the product is given a small device that (from
a distance) appears to be a calculator.
The person(s) that can authorize the payments has a PIN number
(8-12 digits). Each batch generates a random number. To authorize
a batch, you enter your PIN number and the unique number for the
batch. The calculator responds with a number, this is entered into
the computer.

4. Waiting in Que
Each batch waits for connection via the telephone to the bank.
When connected, a compressed file is sent to the bank. The bank
responds to verify the transactions and puts the batch in …

5. Finished Box
Transactions completed. These can be dragged to the first stage,
the amounts changed to correspond to the bills, and the process
repeated.

Other Features :
* Receive Account statements (sent to accounting software)

* E-Mail to the Bank Manager (another $1,000,000 loan pleeze)

* No limit on the number of accounts used

* Could be used for company or personal use

* Works on International transactions

* Can request a bank cheque

* Requires 30Meg HD Space

* $100 for every additional calculator device

* More secure than a cheque or credit card (Similar to EFTPOS)

* transactions can be made on a specific date (ie when you have the $$)

Japanese Music

The Kobe Municipal Choir
The Wadatsumi Drummers

Tues 20 August 1996 at 7:30 in the James Hay Theatre
(Part of the Festival of Japan)

The program started with a 45 minute song about the Kobe earthquake. This was prefaced with a brief video showing stills of the damage.

The choir is about 60 in number, with conductor and piano (player included).

The singing is technically good, however about half way through, the mind does wander. They used the projector to provide an English translation. Unfortunately this was marred by spelling mistakes. It also broke words over two lines. A bit more effort would have helped.

It occurred to me that it would have been better if they dispensed with the video introduction. Instead the photographs could have been used throughout the singing to illustrate the events that unfolded.

In contrast to the choir, the drummers were positively exuberant. They have been together since 1989, and their enjoyment of the music showed.

They used a large wooden drum, slightly smaller than a kettle drum. These had a wonderful reverberance, when all were played together they filled the James Hay theatre to amplified rock music volumes.

Their show started with a sole flute player.

The next piece set the tone of the rest of the show with colorful dancers and hypnotic rhythms.

During on piece, where two drummer fight over one drum, one of the drummers was pushed off the stage into the audience (to the amusement of the audience).

Also of note was a solo performance by a drummer with his drum mounted at head height. The energy put into the playing was reflected not only in the powerful sound, but in the movement of his whole body to pound the drum into submission.

The drums are struck with a solid stick with force, these players are fit people. Halfway through I was expecting someone to pierce a drum.

The encore piece was a rain dance, ironic since it was raining at the time.

The show ended with a few speeches and the company sang “Po kare kare ana”.

The Wadatsumi Drummers are not to be missed, but I could easily avoid the choir.

NB
21/8/96

Finding Dory

Finding Dory is a 2016 American 3D computer-animated comedy adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed and co-written by Andrew Stanton with co-direction by Angus MacLane,the screenplay was co-written by Victoria Strouse and Stanton. The film is a sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo and features the reprised voices of Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks, as well as the new voices of Hayden Rolence, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton, and Eugene Levy. Finding Dory focuses on the amnesiac fish Dory, who journeys to be reunited with her parents. Along the way, she is captured and taken to a California public aquarium, from which Marlin and Nemo attempt to rescue her.

I wasn’t going to see this film at the movies, but With a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes I gave in and went. Turns out to be a great film. Ellen DeGeneres is even better here than the original. Playing a fish with short term memory loss, she goes from crazy kinetic to some very touching moments near the end. The best aspect of the film is the story, just when you think it’s winding down to a conclusion, in comes a few plot turns and everything gets very ‘Mission Impossible’ before a predictable ending.

As usual, the GCI is brilliant, the water effects being very realistic.

The film was proceeded by a short called ‘Piper’ about a bird. So effective and realistic was the CGI, the opening scenes looked to be actual photography on a beach.

The animal designers made the animals very anthropomorphic. This did stretch credibility a bit, especially the larger fish (notably the shark and whale). However the Octopus was the best designed and possibly the best animated animal I have seen in a CGI movie.

James Preston

This is a brief biography of a distant ancestor.

JamesPreston

 

James Preston

Born 1720/21
Died March 1807

We know nothing of James early life. He did serve in the merchant service.

On 22nd August 1749 he married Mary Selkeld at St Benett Church Paul’s Wharf London. On 14th August 1750 he was aboard RMS Royal Ann and wrote on 25th September to the Lords of the Admiralty seeking Preferment (he was probably an ordinary seaman at this time). he was discharged from HMS Antelope 23rd December 1757. In 1758 James was applying for his commission in the Royal Navy. In support he produced a certificate from, the master of the merchant ship wherein he served. Also journals left by himself whilst midshipman on Swan, Colchester and Antelope with Certificates from Captains Gregory, Russell, Gardiner and Savmarez as to his diligence. He passed the examinations on 9th August 1758 and was commissioned Lieutenant on 25th October.

Early 1759 he was aboard the Trident, one of the Blue Squadron under Rear Admiral Chas Holmes, sailing from Spithead on 14th of February on the way to wrest Canada from the French. In the Bay of Biscay they encountered a great storm and the Trident suffered severe damage having to put into Lisbon for repairs. These took from 10th March to 10th April and while there the crew suffered badly from fever.

Meanwhile Saunders, the commanding Admiral of the expedition was unable to land at Louisberg because of the ice and went South to Halifax (NovaScotia). 19th May the fleet and transports were entering the St Lawrence estuary. By 8th June an advance party of four ships and three transports were at the Traverse just below the Ile d’Orleans. The fleet finally passed the T’raverse and were anchored in Quebec basin by 27th June. Batteries were erected on Point Levi to bombard Quebec. Wolfe setup camps and landed troops on the North bank, East of well defended french positions. These proved impregnable from that direction. Soon the 31st July an attack from the river was prepared. James was in charge of four flat bottomed boats for troop transport and two similar with canon mounted as floating batteries. The plan did not work. There was an undetected boulder bank out from the shore which initially grounded the boats, These were freed and a channel was found the first to land were grenadiers who, instead of waiting for the full force to land and against orders rushed the enemy with great loss of men and officers. The whole force then withdrew, the boats that were stuck fast were stripped and burnt. Wolfe was depressed! Meanwhile Quebec town was being pounded to rubble. The lower town was totally destroyed and the upper suffered much damage.

Wolfe was getting desperate it was September and before winter came the fleet had to be away. He decided the final attack would be made West of Quebec and to this end he marched most of the troops West past Point Levi after dark on 12th September. James was in charge of flat bottomed boats landing the troops about one mile up stream from Quebec. After midnight the boats came silently downstream passing several French pickets and successfully landed the first troops who had to scramble up the cliff hanging onto bushes and stumps. The boats then went back and across the over to ferry the other soldiers over – in all 3,600 were landed. Once the troops were ashore James was in command of landing the cannon and the sailors had to man handle this armament up to the level ground. The action was successful and won Quebec, but both General Wolfe and General Montcalm, the Fench commander were killed along with 1,200 French and 58 British soldiers.

After Quebec, Admiral Saunders sailed to England before the winter, leaving troops in Quebec to winter over-unenviable duty. We do not know if the Trident with James retuned with the fleet – I would suspect it did.

In 1760 The Trident was once more on the St Lawrence and James was in charge of taking troops ashore for the assault on Montreal which capitulated on 8th September 1760 (we have a
testimonial from Lieutenant General I ‘ Murray certifying as to James distinguished service in the Navy during these campaigns, signed and dated 10th July 1776).

After the French surrender James escorted the transports evacuating the French troops and saw them safe to Eastward of point Champlain. He was then ordered to go and rescue the Governor of Canada whose ship was aground in mid river above Montreal. He managed to get the ship off and delivered the Governor to Commodore Swanton who commanded at Quebec.

On 25th October Trident was anchored off the Ile d’Orleans, probably on her way down river. Evidence of what James did after the Canadian campaign is sketchy. On 10th January 1761 he was appointed 2nd Lieutenant of the Trident and on 10th July 1776 2nd Lieutenant of the Hector. In 1780 he submitted to the Admiralty details of a method of using warships as fire-ships. Their Lordships did not consider this either proper or usable. In 1781 he was once again promoting an improved (he hoped!) weapon. This was a new style of gun carriage. After exhaustive tests by the Naval Board of ordinance this was rejected (1781).

James was residing in London; on 3rd October 1782 he was living at 30 East Street, Red Lion Square.

On the 4th March 1790, 10 articles, including chairs, a table, trunks, a carpet, window curtains and a sea chest were brought to London from Portsmouth on James account – is this the end of his Naval voyaging?

On 1st July he sailed from a wharf at Billingsgate in the Friendship master John Stephenson, destination Huddersfield.

10th July 1790 he sailed from Hull and came to anchor in the Ouse – no other information. Mary Preston died, childless, on 5th July 1792 aged 71 years. She was buried in the church at Doncaster.

In 1793 and 1794 he begat two sons George Augustus and James. Their mother was Ann Robinson of Wooldale.

James in 1796 wrote from Wooldale to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, petitioning for retirement and a pension. He stated he was suffering from a bilious disorder, fever, diabetes and dimness of eyesight such that he could only distinguish one man from another by voice.

On 22nd of July 1799 George Augustus and James junior were baptized at Wooldale Church before divers witnesses as the sons of Ann Robinson by James Preston.

On 1st of August 1801 James at last was granted retirement from the Navy. The Naval Board allowed only thirty officers at a time to draw a Naval Pension. James had had to wait till one died! At retirement he was granted the rank of Commander and allowed Six Shillings a day during his natural life.

He had his will drawn up and signed it on 4th September 1805 and on 8th October 1805 the two sons of James Preston were registered in the Register of Holmfirth Chapel.
James died on 2 March 1807 aged 86 years.
He is buried in the Holmfirth Chapel.



Summertimes 1996

Summertimes Candlelight Opera (1996)

Sat 20 Jan 1996 8:00

——- Program ————-

1. Overture
William Tell – Rossini
Christchurch Symphony Orchestra

2. Now your days of philandering are over
The Marriage of Figaro – Mozart
Paul Whelan (Figaro)

3. She is gone and gone forever
Orfeo ed Euridice – Gluck
Helen Medlyn – Orfeo

4. Fierce flames are soaring
Il Trovatore – Verdi
Helen Medlyn – Azucena

5. Anvil Chorus
Il Trovatore – Verdi
Canterbury Opera Chorus

6. Well ? I’ll go as far away..
La Wally – Catalini
Dame Malvina Major (Wally)

7. Oh, Mimi, false, fickle-hearted
La Boheme – Puccini
Richard Greager (Rodolfo)
Paul Whelan (Marcello)

8. Easter Hymn
Cavalleria Rusticana – Mascagni
Canterbury Opera Chorus

9. Oh I entreat thee sire
Turandot – Puccini
Dame Malvina Major (Liu)

10. Nessun Dorma (None shall sleep)
Turandot – Puccini
Richard Greager (Rodolfo)
Women of Canterbury Opera Chorus)

INTERVAL

11. Torriador Song
Carmen – Bizet
Paul Whelan (Escamillo)
Canterbury Opera Chorus

12. Habanera
Carmen – Bizet
Helen Medlyn (Carmen)

13. Brother come and dance with me
Hansel and Gretel – Humperdinck
Canterbury Children’s Chorus

14. Evening prayer
Hansel and Gretel – Humperdinck
Canterbury Children’s Chorus

15. In the depths of the temple
The Pearl Fishers – Bizet
Richard Greager (Nadir)
Paul Whelan (Zurga)

16. Sweet Doretta had a dream
La Rondine – Puccini
Dame Malvina Major (Magda)

17. Te Duem
Tosca – Puccini
Paul Whelan (Scarpia)
Canterbury Opera Chorus

18. Love and Music
Tosca – Puccini
Dame Malvina Major (Tosca)

19 Sextet
Lucia di Lammermoor – Donizetti
Dame Malvina Major (Lucia)
Richard Greager (Edgardo)
Paul Whelan (Enrico)
Helen Medlyn (Alisa)
Edmund Bohan (Arturo)
Ted Rhodes (Raimondo)
Canterbury Opera Chorus

——————————————-

Richard Greager doesn’t look like an opera singer. Meeting him in the
street you might think that with his short stature, balding head and
glass he was an accountant. His best song was “Nessun Dorma”, which he
sung without trying to go over the top too much. I’m not sure if the
applause was for his excellent singing, or the recognition of the song.

Paul Whelan looks out of place in the ’90s. With a beard and long hair
that was in fashion 20 years ago. At well over 6 foot, he looked like
some wild-eyed gypsy. His singing was best suited to the Torriador Song.

Helen Medlyn’s voice was brilliant in “she is gone and gone forever”,
the best song of the night. For the role Carmen she changed into a
bright red dress. Half-way through the song she attacked the conductor (Brian Law) her neck attire.

The Children’s Chorus had plenty of practice in diction. As a result, we
could hear all the words in their 2 songs.

Dame MM was best singing “Sweet Doretta”, her voice easily reaching the high notes.

Overall the good performances were only marred by the threatening wind, fortunately keeping below an annoying level.

|\|igel Baker 21/1/95

Elvenquest

Fancy a spot of sword fighting, rescuing maidens and defeating evil warlords. All this (and more) doesn’t happen in Elvenquest, a comic fantasy audiodrama from the BBC.

Written by by Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto, and starring Stephen Mangan, Alistair McGowan, Darren Boyd, Kevin Eldon, Sophie Winkleman and Dave Lamb.

This is a parody of Middle-earth and just about all fantasy stories.
In Lower Earth, a band of warriors go forth to search for a mythical sword to save Lower Earth from the evil Lord Darkness. In order to do so, they must find “The Chosen One” who will save Lower Earth. The Chosen One is Amis, a dog in the real world which belongs to a fantasy novelist called Sam Porter.

There are four series, broadcast from 29 March to 3 June 2009 to the last on 12 February 2013.

Very funny, very recommended, very silly.

 

 

D’Karon

The D’Karon Apprentice
By Joseph R. Lallo
(2015)

In the months following The Battle of Verril, great strides have been made to heal the rift between the Northern Alliance and Tressor. The peace between the nations, however, is a fragile one, and the awakening of an ancient enemy threatens to spark a new conflict that could undo all that the Chosen have achieved.


Review:

I have read The Book of Deacon Trilogy (2010-2011) and Jade (2011). These I rated highly, especially Jade that I regarded as one of the best fantasy stories in recent years.

However this book has issues. But first, the good things. His writing has improved since Deacon, where there were problems with large battle scenes making sense. In this book the best aspect was the action scenes. These come across clearly and with a good sense of excitement. Secondly, despite being a long book (169,000) words it has good pacing. The story was always moving along and things happening.

Now, the problems.
First, it’s best to read this book immediately after the Deacon Trilogy. I read this three years ago and was having trouble remembering all the characters and their motivations. These could have been explained better at the start.

Then there is the magic. Is there method here, or is it just all plotonium ?

Things happen that make little sense. Where does all this energy that can destroy buildings come from and why can a supposedly human character survive all this destruction.

The story is very simple: Our heroes have to stop an evil wizard.
It’s a bit like the fighting scene where our hero takes on a dozen Ninjas, with each one coming at him (or her) separately. If they could just co-ordinate their attack he wouldn’t stand a change. And with this book there is never a sense of co-ordination. Shouldn’t someone be trying to discover the weaknesses of their opponent. Rallying the forces, defending the walls and finding secrets. Everyone seems to be reacting to events, not making thing happen. There are a lot of missed opportunities here.

It would have been better if the ‘evil one’ was dealt with in the first half of the story and the second half dealt with the unforeseen consequences.

It’s not that it’s a bad book, just a disappointment after the Deacon Trilogy and Jade.