Posts by Tom Semmens

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  • Hard News: Cranks, self-seekers and the mayor,

    Cameron Slater using a duck caller? It is nice to know he also realises he is completely quackers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Big Friday Music: Counting…,

    Many/most large European events have used chipped cards pre-loaded to a certain $ amount ($20, $40, $60, $100 etc) for at least a decade now. You can purchase when you arrive or from vending machines. When you purchase anything, the amount is deducted from the card. Speeds things up no end.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Big Friday Music: Counting…,

    The queues for a drink were beyond a joke. They were lucky the crowd was polite New Zealanders. the sort of logistical incompetence on show when it came to getting a drink or trying to use a loo would have caused any other crowd to riot in disgust. It isn’t like it was the promoters first gig, either. And what drongo puts the VIP lounge where you can’t see anything? We trucked in about $900 or so in cash amongst seven of us. We trucked out the exact same amount, it was impossible to spend our money. Luckily, there was enough illicit booze and drugs smuggled in for the crowd to have a good time regardless of the nincompoops in charge.

    The promoter has to work out how much money was taken away from the gig from people with cash to spend vs. how much he thinks he makes on under-18 year old ticket sales – especially as the kids pre-load like crazy anyway.

    Still, it was a great venue and less than 2km from my house, and we had a great time. Despite be right at the front I still don’t see what all the fuss about Arcade Fire is, much to the disgust of the Chileans I was with. I was happy with Pearl Jam, Liam Gallagher was as reliable a cock as ever but well worth watching. I wished I had seen more of the Hives, they looked like something. After Pearl Jam I couldn’t cope with the dance stuff but I saw the Swedish House Mafia & Major Lazer at Ultra last March anyway so went home.

    Now to prepare for Splore…

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Crashing the party before it starts,

    Of course, we all know that Kim Dotcom was never planning to do his launch at the Cloud, it was the old book two venues then "ZOMG!!! Our venue is to small! Lucky this bigger one is available!!!!" trick.

    He is a canny and natural politician.

    Dare I say it, Dotocm has exactly the same appeal as John Key - the anti-politician politician - and he appeals to same sorts of demographics.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Lowering the Stakes,

    I spy that Jeremy Clarkson is being a plonker again. I wish someone would buy a Paddington bear and stuff it down his throat until he chokes to death on it. It would be such a deliciously ironic end. The writer notes the British also have little idea of what the road rules are as they relate to cyclists. If the British - who are better drivers than us by a distance of several parsecs - have a grey area around cyclists, what hope have cyclists here given that our motor vehicles are driven by Orangutans with a permanent hangover?

    Here are the safe cycling guidelines from London Transport. They are a world away from the hostile attitude of AT. Note in particular:

    – Stay central on narrow roads. Try to ride away from the gutter. If the road is too narrow for vehicles to pass you safely, it might be safer to ride towards the middle of the lane to prevent dangerous overtaking by other vehicles

    – Stay away from parked cars. Ideally, keep a door’s width away in case the door opens suddenly. Also, try to ride in a straight line past parked cars rather than dodging between them.

    Imagine all the wailing, nashing of teeth and renting of clothing from motorists that would go on if AT came out and said ALWAYS keep a door width away from parked cars, and if to do that it is safer to ride down the middle of the road to prevent people overtaking, we give you our legal blessing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Lowering the Stakes,

    …One last note: The road rules, like the road design, are made entirely for vehicle users, with a few small concessions to other users, principally pedestrians. These rules, again like the form of the roads, take almost no account of the peculiar halfway house of vulnerability yet increased speed of people using bikes. Every person choosing to ride on our unsafe streets is completely crazy if they don’t take responsibility for their own safety over slavishly following the rules designed for vehicle drivers….

    Amen to that. Going through a roundabout using the method proscribed by the ministry in the current road code –

    When you are on the roundabout, try to continue indicating right if you are able, or indicate occasionally while you ride around the roundabout – this will let drivers waiting to enter the roundabout know your intentions. Ride in the middle of the lane, not around the inner or outer edge.

    Will give you a life expectancy similar to that enjoyed by the last group of recklessly dashing young adventurers who took the relevant ministries word for it - WW1 fighter pilots.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Lowering the Stakes, in reply to George Darroch,

    Facing forward, you can only have one visible flashing light.

    I’d rather people saw my mobile disco.

    I am not sure about much safer you are.

    If you have ever navigated a boat at night, you would realise how confusing lights can be when you have no spatial clues.

    At night (especially in bad weather) the additional flashing light can dangerously affect the ability of a driver to work out how far away you are. Motorists have to see you, but they also have to work out what you are and what direction you are going in. By being a mobile disco, all they can see is a pile of flashing lights that give no spatial information.

    But my point isn't about this particular piece of detail, my point is I am sure hardly a single cyclist actually has a clue if their lights are legal or not per the road code, and that ignorance is general across the entire driving population as well.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Lowering the Stakes, in reply to izogi,

    Don't know about trucks.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Lowering the Stakes,

    http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/roadcode/cyclist-code/

    "...Compulsory equipment
    A red or yellow rear reflector that is visible from a distance of 100 metres when light shines on it.
    Good brakes on the front and back wheels (or, if the cycle was made before 1 January 1988, a good brake on the back wheel).

    When cycling at night or when visibility is poor, cycles must have the following:

    One or more steady or flashing rear-facing red lights that can be seen at night from a distance of 100 metres.
    One or two white or yellow headlights that can be seen at night from a distance of 100 metres. Only one of these headlights may flash.

    Pedal retroreflectors on the forward and rearward facing surfaces of each pedal. If the cycle does not have these, you must wear reflective material..."

    Note (for that guy on the Northwestern cycleway) you can't have a lighthouse stuck on your helmet throwing out ten million un-dimmed candle power in a continuous beam AND two bright flashing lights that look like you are lauching a salvo of photon torpedoes from all tubes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Lowering the Stakes,

    The thing here is that usually it is the ignorant abusing the ill-informed. Most people on the road (cyclists and motorists) would not be able to pass a test about cycling based on on the road code. I took the trouble of downloading and reading it, there was stuff in there I didn’t even know was the law pertaining to cyclists. For example, in winter many cyclists (for understandable reasons) don all sorts of high vis reflector gear and then festoon themselves with so many flashing, pulsing and static lights in orange, red and white that they look like a Hindu festival on acid. Much of that light show is probably illegal if you read the road code.

    When you’ve got two groups of people on the road who are both starting from an understanding of the road code that they’ve largely made up in their own imaginations, it is no wonder there is so much ill-tempered bluster.

    Maybe bicycles operated on the road need to be regularly checked and have to comply with the road code and a set of basic safety requirements. Call it a bike WoF.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

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