Friday, January 26, 2007

Rodney Hide MP, human torpedo?

Rodney Hide ACT leader and Epsom MP is to put his body on the line again for a good cause.

Rodney has taken up open ocean swimming as his latest crusade, and I must say it is something that requires determination and control. Nothing worse than a lung full of salt water as you are thinking of JAWS while you are half a kilometer out to sea.

Today about 10am, Rodney Hide MP will launch himself, along with 450 other swimmers, in the 2.8km Sovereign Open Ocean Swim from Wellington's Freyberg Pool to the Pt Jerningham lighthouse and back.

Rodney expects to make it in one hour fifteen, and has been training for the last couple of months.

"I was not much of a swimmer until I was challenged to do this. I am now much better and fitter and I am having so much fun."

The highlight of open ocean swimming for Mr Hide is a new perspective on the surrounding harbour. "It is amazing how much different everything looks when you are a few hundred metres offshore at wave level."

"If I get a prize ($1000 for 1st), I will donate it to St John's," Mr Hide said.

Whatever ambitions he may have of transforming himself into a human torpedo may likely be extinguished by elite swimmers like Commonwealth Games gold medalist Moss Burmester, silver medalist Dean Kent, and elite New Zealand squad representatives Helen Norfolk and Melissa Ingram.

Good on you Rodney and good luck, you can do it.

*** Rodney made it in one hour two minutes. ***

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Loophole in NZ airline security.

A group of Sikh priests has exposed a gaping loophole in airport security after they boarded an Air New Zealand plane carrying ceremonial daggers under their robes. Nice way to shake up the other passengers before a bumpy flight.

The pilot confiscated the daggers after they managed to board the flight without having to pass through any form of security at Auckland's domestic terminal. It should be a requirement that all flights domestic and international require the passengers at least go through a metal detector. When you fly into Auckland you need to go through more security and screening when you arrive than when you leave because of bio security. Someone in the position of providing security for the airlines best close this loophole NOW.

The men, who are understood to be priests visiting from India, were walking on to the Napier-bound flight on Sunday when alarmed passengers noticed the daggers poking out from under their traditional dress.

They told the cabin crew, who alerted the pilot before the daggers were seized and locked in the cockpit for the flight.

An Air NZ spokeswoman said the men willingly handed over their kirpans and the flight ran as scheduled. She said any potential or real threats to safety were taken very seriously and a report had been submitted to the Civil Aviation Authority about what had happened.

Ministry of Transport safety and security group manager Bruce Johnson said policy for screening passengers applied only to planes with more than 90 seats as they were deemed the most at risk of hostage-takers. Well all planes are at risk in this day and age and all passengers need to be screened.

Mr Johnson said there were no plans to change or review the screening policy, despite what had happened. Mr Johnson needs to go....

Step up the security on NZ domestic flights and do it NOW. If the govt won't provide a fighter wing to protect NZ then are we going to have to send a Orion after a plane carrying less then 90 people if it is hijacked? NZ must take security seriously.

This week in Los Angeles.

I started the week by going to Squaw Valley in Tahoe to check the property owned by I met with the concierge who looks after the clients and managed to get in a couple of hours skiing. I was very impressed with myself as I did not fall over once. Having said that I was skiing pretty basic slopes, although the last time I skied was August 05 at Coronet Peak, and the time before that other than the Albany Ski slope was Whistler / Blackcomb in 1989.
I have decided that I will be doing some more skiing from now on, so it it time to do the correct exercises at the gym so as my legs don't turn to jelly next time.

On the Democratic side Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton have both thrown their towels in the ring for the 2008 US Presidential race and John Kerry tearfully said yesterday that he will NOT be contesting the race (good call). It appears that currently Hillary is 19 points ahead of Barack.

To date Senator John McCain and Rudy Giuliani on the Republican side are looking good although we are all waiting for Guiliani to officially state that he will run for Pres in 2008 although it does seem very likely. Senator McCain is slightly edging out Mayor Giuliani.

I spent a day getting my January advertising sent out to my Keller Williams Realty Santa Monica clients. It is a good time to buy property in the Los Angeles area at the moment. The interest rates are still low and there is some great properties available.... If you are looking to buy property in Santa Monica or Greater LA, let me know.

Both Rage against the machine and Crowded House have reformed and both with be playing at Coachella music festival in LA in April.... Best I get my tickets.

A Russian was caught trying to sell 4 ounces of pure weapons grade uranium 235. That is NOT a good thing as that is not what we want to get in the hands of some hell bent dictator or terrorist who will push the red button.... Time to further step up the control and dismantling of nuclear weapons... This is a dangerous situation. Was the Uranium from Russia or Georgia and how much has this guy already sold?

I have the CEO of Distinctive Holiday Homes and the gentleman hired by the company to set up 5 and 6 star resorts arriving in LA today for a quick stop over. We have to look at properties and organize some paperwork, so busy busy.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Rage against the machine to reunite

Rage Against the Machine will reunite after a seven-year hiatus for a single performance at the southern California rock festival Coachella in April, the Los Angeles Times has reported.

The chart-topping quartet, famed for its angry denunciations of capitalism even as it recorded for a label owned by Sony, will play the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the paper said, quoting unspecified sources.

The desert festival will take place over three days from April 27, east of Los Angeles.

Yes... This is excellent news. Zac and the boys know how to make some good sounds.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

It snowed in Malibu last night

It is really cold here in LA at the moment. It went as far as snowing in Malibu last night. It is the first time in 18 years that there has been a sprinkling of snow in these parts.

I am off to Tahoe in a hour or two and I am planning a bit of skiing tomorrow. I hope that there is plenty of snow there to cushion my fall if any.

Last week when I arrived back from NZ it was about 80 degrees F now it is about 50 degrees F. Talk about a drastic change......

Thursday, January 11, 2007

David Beckham and Posh Spice to move to LA.

David Beckham says he is leaving Real Madrid to sign for LA Galaxy.

The former England captain will leave the Spanish club at the end of the season and sign a five-year deal for the US side starting in August, believed to be worth $250 million.

Beckham said: "This week Real Madrid asked me to make a decision regarding my future and the offer to extend my contract for a further two seasons."

"After discussing several options with my family and my advisors to either stay here in Madrid or join other major British and European teams I have decided to join LA Galaxy and play in the MLS from August this year." I wonder if the $250 Mill had anything to do with it?

The 31-year-old, who joined Real from Manchester United in June 2003, is the most famous player to sign up for Major League Soccer since it began in 1996.

Beckham has consistently been linked with a move to the US.

But he insisted he was not going just for the money, but to make a difference in American sport.

He already has a football school in Los Angeles.

"Soccer is huge everywhere around the world, except in America," he said.

"That's where I want to make a difference with the kids."

The 31-year-old midfielder has been forced into a bit-part role this season and is desperate not to spend much of the remaining years of his playing career on the sidelines.

I wonder what you could do with a million dollars a week? HMMM

Apple iphone

One word.....

Awesome.... I am glad that Apple are working with my cell phone provider Cingular to get these cool phones into the market... Time for an upgrade.

Back in LA

I had a interesting 25 days in the land of the long white cloud over the holiday period. I am considering naming NZ the land of the long black cloud as it was raining most of the time and the weather was rather grim. Having said that I managed to get sun burnt within minutes of the sun popping out and that was a reminder that you must slip slop and slap the suntan lotion on when you venture out in the summer time.

I went fishing twice and I am disappointed to say that there was not even a bite. I am not what you'd call an amateur fisherman and I do know how to bait a hook and put the anchor down and up, but I guess that the Maori fishing calender was not on my side. I went to the fish market in downtown Auckland and brought what I should have caught anyway...Yummy.

It was great to catch up with everybody, and I managed to bring most of my favorite kiwi treats back in my suitcase, so I am sorted until next time.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Greg Johnson touring NZ this summer.

Having created a phenomenal seven albums, being awarded the Silver Scroll songwriter's award for ‘Liberty’ and winning numerous New Zealand Music Awards, he is one of New Zealand’s favourite and most esteemed singer-songwriters.

The now Santa Monica-based Johnson has just released his latest album "Anyone Can Say Goodbye" which was recorded in the United States with friend and long time collaborator Ted Brown, whom he will be touring with. Keep an ear out for the new single "Horses" which is phenominal. "Now the sun is out" has been released already in NZ and has been getting great airplay being #1 on the top AC in for 10 weeks.

Greg is no stranger to the American music scene, several songs from his previous album Here Comes The Caviar have been play listed on the US airwaves. ‘Save Yourself' went Top 40 on AAA radio in America and both that and 'It's Been So Long' have been featured on the WB's hit show 'High School Reunion' and the ABC show 'Beautiful People'.

Greg is an exceptionally talented songwriter and performer. Don’t miss the opportunity to see this incredible Kiwi craftsman in action.


Jan 25 2007 8:00P Hope Bros Wellington
Jan 26 2007 8:00P Shed 2 Napier
Jan 27 2007 8:00P Coroglen Tavern Coromandel
Jan 28 2007 8:00P Colosseum Tauranga
Feb 1 2007 8:00P Christchurch Casino Christchurch
Feb 2 2007 8:00P Christchurch Casino Christchurch
Feb 3 2007 8:00P Christchurch Casino Christchurch
Feb 9 2007 8:00P Monte Christo Room Auckland
Feb 10 2007 2:00P Marlborough Wine and Food Festival

Tickets are available from Ticketek, Ticketdirect and Venues.

Governor Schwarzenegger a centrist....

SACRAMENTO California USA...... According the the world famous LA Time. On the opening his second term, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will proudly proclaim himself a centrist and eschew the partisanship that he says is the root of political paralysis and voter disenchantment, according to excerpts of the inaugural address that he is to give this morning. I like to hear that as I would consider myself a centrist in regards to US politics and right wing with NZ politics.

"Centrist does not mean weak. It does not mean watered down or watered over," according to a portion of the speech released Thursday by the governor's office. "It means well-balanced and well-grounded. The American people are instinctively centrist … so should be our government." I like what the Governator is doing.... He found the knack.

Recovering from a broken leg, Schwarzenegger, 59, is to deliver the speech at his inauguration ceremony at the Memorial Auditorium in downtown Sacramento beginning at 11 a.m.

It will be the governor's first public appearance since he tripped and fell on an Idaho ski slope on Dec. 23, fracturing his right femur. Schwarzenegger had surgery on his leg three days later and is expected to fully recover.

In celebrating the political center, the governor is consciously staking out a different identity than that of fellow Republicans who have sought to marginalize Democratic politicians in Washington D.C., the governor's aides said.

Schwarzenegger knows firsthand the utility of a bipartisan approach. He tried a more conservative course early in his first term, souring relations with the Legislature and causing his job approval rating to plummet. He is also married to one of the Democratic Kennedy clan.....

Schwarzenegger will say that neither party can solve lingering political problems in isolation. Collaboration is essential, according to one excerpt.

"No one ideology can solve prison reform or immigration reform or any of the other challenges facing us," the speech reads. "It will take the best ideas of everyone. It will take creative thinking. It will take negotiations. It will take letting go of the past."

The inaugural address won't include as many specifics about what the governor wants to accomplish as his annual State of the State speech, set for Tuesday. But it lays out a kind of utopian vision of California that Schwarzenegger says is achievable.

Parts of the speech mention the governor's support for stem cell research, which is something that President Bush is having a hard time getting a grip of, as a prelude to cures for Alzheimer's and other diseases. Schwarzenegger will also talk about his multibillion-dollar plan to rebuild state roads and improve ports. The roads of LA are bad, very bad. It is about time someone tackled this problem. He is expected to refer to a time when government might be rejuvenated because of his push to introduce more competition in state elections.

"What would such a California look like?" the speech says. "Because we rebuilt our infrastructure, we have the schools, the roads, the ports, the water, the levees, the communications to grow with prosperity.

"Because we committed ourselves to the environment, we lead the world in the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy … And because we strengthened and reformed representative government, our state's elected officials now reflect the views of the mainstream, not the fringes."

The inaugural address was written by Landon Parvin, a speechwriter for former President Ronald Reagan.

Schwarzenegger's swearing-in ceremony is the coda to a remarkable political turnaround. In 2005, the governor triggered a confrontation with Democratic lawmakers and interest groups, calling a special election in which he tried to curb state spending and impose restraints on the way labor unions spend campaign money.

With his approval rating in the 30s, voters rejected the ballot initiatives he championed. Immediately after that election, Schwarzenegger conceded he made mistakes and promised to work more cooperatively with the majority Democratic Party.

Voters forgave him. He regained his standing in public opinion polls and easily won reelection in November. Something to think about, something to learn from.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Indiana Jones returns in 2008

Eighteen years after chasing down the Holy Grail in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," in 1989, Harrison Ford will return to the big screen in the character of the globe-trotting archeologist in May 2008. This is going to be good.

Producer George Lucas and director Steven Spielberg confirmed details of the project Monday after Lucas tipped off the media to Indiana Jones' imminent return as he prepared to serve as grand marshal of the Rose Parade in Pasadena.

After years spent in script development, a fourth installment of the famously successful franchise is set to begin production in June in locations around the world and in the U.S.

David Koepp, who has penned such previous Spielberg projects as "Jurassic Park" and "War of the Worlds," wrote the screenplay that finally got the stamp of approval from Lucas and Spielberg. An earlier screenplay by Frank Darabont had been shelved when Lucas turned thumbs down on it.

For the moment, the title of the new film as well as its story line are being kept under wraps. How about Indiana Jones and the fire of Iran?

Although a spokesman for Spielberg said Monday that no casting has begun, Lucas and Ford have said that they would like to include Sean Connery, who played Indiana Jones' father, Professor Henry Jones, in "The Last Crusade." "We are writing him in whether he wants to do it or not," Lucas told "Access Hollywood" when Connery was honored in June with the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award.

Roll the camera's now please before someone changes their mind.

The whole palace smells of crap?

According to the associated press. Jordanian King Abdullah II has complained of bovine odors coming from the Israeli side of the frontier along the countries shared southern border, Israel's environment minister said Monday. I would guess that the smell would have to be quite intense for the King to make a complaint.

Speaking to Israel Radio, Gideon Ezra said the smells, from a livestock quarantine facility, were blown across the frontier toward the king's palace in the town of Aqaba, on the Red Sea next to the Israeli town of Eilat. Jordanian officials contacted Israel last week and requested the odors be neutralized, Ezra said.

Jordan and Israel, enemies for decades, signed a peace agreement in 1994 and now enjoy close ties.

In response to the Jordanian complaint, Israel has ordered the owners of the facility - where imported livestock is held in quarantine before being released to farmers - to clean up large amounts of animal waste that had built up at the site, Environment Ministry spokesman Sharon Achdut said.

Ezra said that upon receiving the complaint, Israeli officials immediately spread "deodorants" around the site to offset the smell affecting Abdullah's palace, and that a thorough clean-up would begin within days.

"I think that when we get a request from Jordan, just as when we make a request of Jordan, it's one country's duty to do as much as possible for the other," Ezra said.

An official from the Jordanian Royal Palace said the complaint was relayed to the Israeli Environment Ministry through Jordan's ambassador in Tel Aviv.

Hopefully the King can breathe easy now.... :-)

Monday, January 01, 2007

Distinctive Holiday Homes

Check out my latest link Distinctive Holiday Homes

I have been involved with the setup of this company for about 2 years. All is going full steam ahead and we are signing new members as of now. I think that Cactus Kate should join and bring a couple of others to the table..... Fun times.

Tesla Roadster 2007

The electric-powered Tesla Roadster looks like a Lotus, boasts the equivalent of 135 mpg and a range of 250 miles on a single charge, does 0-60 mph in around 4 seconds, doesn't emit any emissions (unless you spin the wheels and burn rubber) and is sold out for 2007. You can put your name on the 2008 waiting list for $50,000US. The base price is $92,000US, but fully loaded the car will be just over $100k.

Using a unique two-speed electrically actuated manual transmission, the Tesla Roadster's power comes from a 3-phase, 4-pole AC induction motor. The motor is controlled by the Power Electronics Module (PEM) which also controls the inverting direct current to 3-phase alternating current, charging and braking systems.

The Roadster's Energy Storage System (ESS) provides power to the entire vehicle, including the motor. Its durable, tamper-resistant enclosure includes: 6,831 lithium-ion cells, a network of microprocessors for maintaining charge balance and battery temperature, a cooling system, and an independent safety system designed to disconnect power outside the enclosure under a variety of detectable safety situations.

The Tesla Roadster comes complete with its Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE), a home-based charging system, which features an automatic safety disconnect system and can charge the Tesla Roadster in approximately 3.5 hours. An optional mobile charging kit is also available.

The Tesla Roadster has a range of up to 250 miles (EPA Highway) on a single charge, roughly triple the range of previous mass-produced electric vehicles.

I think this car is fantastic, so does the Governor of California. When the company gets the costs down and the prices become more reasonable they won't have trouble selling them in the USA, provided the quality is good and it actually preforms close to what the manufacturer has been saying. I might even consider one myself.

Now if Rodney Hide MP for Epsom and Leader of ACT Party of NZ really likes the publicity he gets from the Smart car he has, imagine what he'd get in a car like this? Best they make it in right hand drive too.......

Seabreacher by Innespace

This is a cool dolphin type watercraft that I found out about today made by Innespace. It even uses some good US military technology as the canopy is from the new F-22 Raptor. The three-quarter-inch thick solid polycarbonate canopy is more than strong enough to withstand hard inverted landings. This machine as well as looking like a dolphin, can preform dolphin type stunts..... It looks really fun

The SeaBreacher Dolphin is powered by a Atkins 13B rotary marine conversion engine. The engine is lightweight (300lb), compact (basically a 2 foot cube), and generates 175 hp, a 240hp supercharged version is also available.

Keeping SeaBreacher afloat and totally water tight was a top priority. Both the cabin and engine bay are sealed watertight with the aid of pneumatic aircraft seals. Three independent bilge pumps are also on board, should a rogue wave swamp the interior while driving with the canopy open. The hull contains enough floatation to keep the hull afloat and upright, even if fully flooded.

Innespace is a design and fabrication company, dedicated to the creation and demonstration of submersible watercraft. Rob Innes from NZ and Dan Piazza from the USA founded Innespace in 1998.

Happy New Year 2007

Happy New Year from Auckland New Zealand....

All the best for 2007...

May this blog get many more visits and comments, and may the author come up with more interesting stories...