| Matt Facts: Matthew dislikes drinking cold drinks from coffee mugs. He also hates plastic forks. | | Did you Know? Toothpicks are overrated. | | Words of Inspiration: "You can tell a lot about a fellow by the way he eats Jelly Beans" – R.Regan | | Did you know? There are no Pez Facts. Pez is, in fact, not factual. | | Matt Facts: Matthew's fortune cookies always predict success. | | Words of Inspiration: When I'm sad I stop being sad and be awesome instead - Barney Stinson | | Did you know? "Buf­falo buf­falo Buf­falo buf­falo buf­falo buf­falo Buf­falo buf­falo” is a gram­mat­i­cally valid sentence. | | Matt Facts: Matthew is best served on the rocks with a slice of lemon. | | Words of Inspiration: "Life is futile." | | Did you Know? Dinosaurs and Dandelions is the name of a popular blog that has been around since the 15 April 2010 | | Matt Facts: Unlike some people, Matthew only celebrates his birthday once a year. | | Words of Inspiration: "I'll be back" - The Terminator. | | Did you Know? The two modern breeds of Cocker Spaniel, American and English, are thought to have been descended from only two dogs? | | Matt Facts: On the second to last full moon of the year, Matthew develops an itch on his right shoulder. | | Words of Inspiration: “You can do it!” - Rob Schneider, in every Adam Sandler movie ever | | Did you know? Lettuce is often eaten raw. | | Words of Inspiration: "Science is always at work and never sleeps – just like Rust" | | Did you Know? When you dream, every­thing you see in that dream, you’ve seen before in real life. | | Matt Facts: Matthew officially endorses the Cadbury's Moro bar as being delicious | | Did You Know? A tadpole is also called a 'pollywog'. | | Matt Facts: Matthew has his own Facebook fan page. Creepy. | | Did You Know? Cats sleep for 70% of their lives. | | Words of Inspiration: "End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it." - Gandalf. | | Did you Know? This is the end. The journey ends here. Then it starts all over again. |

Saturday, 30 March 2013

The Music Box [Corelia]

I'm to lazy to write stuff but here is Corelia with The Sound of Glaciers Moving. That concludes MARCHMETAL.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Something about Bunnies

If you are unemployed and days no longer have meaning to you, continue as you are. If you do have a job, you may have wondered why you have today off. Well folks, that's because this weekend is Easter.

Easter is very important because it is one of only three occasions where New Zealanders have two public holidays in a row (along with Christmas and New Years). Apparently it also might have something to do with religion, chocolate, or the coming of Spring. Except it's Autumn. Hmmmm.

Anyway, back to the topic, Rabbits. Did you know a male rabbit is called a buck and a female is a doe? They are also Rodents, found almost everywhere in the world, Herbivores, cute pets, have lots of babies and Delicious. Which, when you look at is, is quite a good collection of characteristics.

Back in 1997 some farmers illegally introduced the calicivirus into New Zealand in an attempt to control wild rabbits. These farmers of course introduced it at the wrong time of the year, ie after breeding season, and the attempt failed miserably.

The world's most famous bunny is the Duracell bunny. He is 16 years older than the Energizer bunny. Both bunnies are pink and beat a drum, much like a monkey with a cymbal.

The world's second most famous bunny is the Easter bunny. This weekend he is going to visit houses all around the world and leave chocolate eggs for kids to enjoy. God bless you, Easter bunny.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Sports Thoughts

New Zealand cricket thinks it is hexed at Eden Park, and maybe it is. But spare a thought for New Zealand rugby league. No New Zealand rugby league side has won at the venue since 1919 - and that was Auckland against Hawke's Bay! Admittedly, only one game of rugby league was played at the venue between 1919 and the 2005 due to rugby union not wanting to share the venue, but hey, thats still an impressive losing streak.

While we are vaguely on the topic of cricket, New Zealand umpire Billy Bowden gave Pakistani batsman Mohammad Hafeez out for obstructing the field the other day, the first time someone's been given out under the 2011 ruling that batsmen cannot get in the way of a throw. Four other international batsmen have been given out under the more general "obstructing the field" rule, two of which have also been Pakistani's.

Finally, back to the depressing rugby league desk. The Warriors current club record loss streak of 10 games and 258 days is nothing when compared to the all time records. Poor University lost 42 consecutive games between 1934 and 1936. Funnily enough they don't exist anymore.
Out of current NRL clubs, the Eastern Suburbs Roosters lost 25 games between 1965 and 1967. So the Warriors still have a wee way to go yet.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The Music Box [Devin Townsend]

Under various names, and with a varying lineup of supporting musicians, Devin Townsend has released on average, an album a year since he started in 1993. His own music combines elements of hard rock, progressive metal, ambient, new age, and whatever else he feels like, and he has also contributed guitar and vocals to many other artists albums. He still has time to draw on a moustache and do a silly dance though...

All the way from Canada, it's Devin Townsend in his little devil costume. Check out those amazing graphics!

Two leaders is quite enough

A delgihtful article appeared on stuff.co.nz this morning.

Under the headline "Maori Party weighs 3 MPs, 3 leaders", it could almost be satire.

Some gems from the article:
  • ...Dr Sharples has repeatedly refused to step aside. "The bottom line is I'm prepared to lead us until I'm dead; I mean forever," he said yesterday."...

  • ...Dr Sharples said tension between caucus members was "pretty full-on" but they were "still all bros"...

  • ..Prime Minister John Key said he would continue to work with the party no matter how many leaders it had...
All in all it reads like it belongs in the Onion.

Speaking of the Onion, here is a piece on Kim Jong-un.

Saturday, 16 March 2013


The other day Google announced that from the 1 July it is shutting down Google Reader, Google’s web based RSS aggregator. The demise of Google Reader will be mourned by its loyal cult following including, most importantly, me. Speaking exclusively to Dinosaurs & Dandelions, I described the development as "pants".

Google has made the move in order to focus on other, more profitable, products that fit in with its “search, social, ads” core business. 

RSS aggregators such as Google Reader basically allow you to subscribe to news feeds from lots of different websites and then go to one place to read them all, saving you time and effort. 

Google Reader isn’t the only product out there, however it was probably the biggest web based one. Since yesterday’s announcement of the demise of Google Reader a whole lot of other options are being developed. Perhaps most promisingly is Digg’s entrance into the market.

So anyway I need help, I need a replacement to host my RSS feeds by 1 July. Should I wait and hope Digg has its act together by then? Should I use another one, if so which one? A clone like Old Reader or something like Feedly? 

Oh, and in other tech news: Facebook are looking at implementing the hashtag!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Round 1: Don't mention the war

Well, Round 1 is done and dusted and the NRL is back.

Amid swirling rumours of the Sharks rapid demise, Sky managed to sign a five year television deal with the NRL just in time to screen Thursday Night Football. They backed this up by signing the clear number two commentator in Australia, Andrew Voss, to call the Warriors matches.

Channel Nine's Thursday Night Football began with a bit of a dedication to SBW and continued in that vein all night, including a bizzare voice over as he ran onto his field to make his debut for the Roosters, and a pre-recorded half time interview. Now they even have me talking about him, sigh. Oh, and there was also a league match, the Rabbitohs winning 28-10 and George Burgess returning 65 points for your $137k investment.

This was followed up by Friday's come from behind win for Manly over the favoured Brisbane Broncos. However the real news on Friday was Cronulla's decision to sack their physio, manager, doctor and trainer and stand down the head coach. Of course this was due to management failures in 2011 and was in no way related to the ASADA drug investigation.

Which unfortunately brings us to Saturday. Saturday saw the Cowboys defeat the Bulldogs 24-12. That is all.

Sunday gave us the Panthers putting in an impressive display against the Raiders, Dugan getting injured again, the Storm dominating the Dragons 30-10 and the Sharks pull off an emotional 12-10 victory over the Titans. They are running on fumes at the moment though and probably can't keep it up.

Monday wrapped up the week with the Knights thrashing the Wests Tigers 42-10. Benji missed a conversion after the hooter to ensure they finished round 1 in last place. Aquila Uate top scored in dreamteam with a whopping 93 points, highlighting the rule changes that now favour attacking players.

Bring on Round 2!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The Music Box [Lacuna Coil]

A few days ago was International Women's Day, I like pizza and eighties music, and it's week two of MARCHMETAL. Keeping all that in mind, this week The Music Box features a lady-fronted, Italian metal band covering a Depeche Mode classic.

This is Lacuna Coil, with Enjoy The Silence. Turn it up.

Sunday, 10 March 2013


There is some rather important public consultation going on right now that has slipped under the political radar of most people. Well, ok, most people don't have a political radar, but it's not very high profile anyway.

The Constitutional Advisory Panel is currently seeking public submissions on New Zealand's constitution until July 2013. Contrary to popular belief, New Zealand does have a constitution it just isn't contained in any one document. We are one of only three countries in the World to not have a written constitution (along with the UK and Israel).

Anyway, the panel is asking some rather deep and important questions, such as:
  • How do you want our country to be run in the future?
  • Do you think our constitution should be written in a single document?
  • Does the Bill of Rights Act protect your rights enough?
  • What role do you think the Treaty of Waitangi could have in our constitution?
  • How could Māori electoral participation be improved?
  • How many members of Parliament should we have?
  • How long should the term of Parliament be?
  • And plenty of other important, but potentially boring, questions.
Anyway, at some point between now and July you should head on over to ourconstitution.org.nz and share some of your views on these issues. You can either use their easy to use online forms, or attach your pre-prepared word documents, depending on how many views you want to share. Also, we should find some issues we all agree on and send an official Dinosaurs & Dandelions submission. Except it seems like hard work and I'll never get around to it.

But yes, join the "Constitution Conversation" now or forever hold your peace. I know I'll be sharing my 2 cents.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

PHRASE THIS: A rolling stone gathers no moss

Missing your usual Saturday Music Box fix? Well, too bad. Instead, ponder this: Why does one of America's most popular magazines (Rolling Stone) share its name with Britain's biggest ever rock band (The Rolling Stones)?

No, one was not named after the other, both were in fact named after Muddy Waters' song, Rollin' Stone. Recorded in 1950, Rollin' Stone is Muddy Waters version of a traditional blues song, Catfish Blues. By the way, Muddy Waters is a person and not a group. While the song didn't chart, it was commercially successful and Muddy was able to quit his full time job.

The Rolling Stones on the other hand, were formed in 1962 in London - four years after Muddy had toured the country. They released their first album in 1964, composed mainly of covers, and toured the States that same year. Since then the band has released 29 albums and over 100 singles.

Rolling Stone was founded in 1967. Not just about music, the magazine is also "about the things and attitudes that music embraces." Rolling Stone was noted for its liberal politics in the 1970s and featured Hunter S. Thompson's gonzo writings including Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in 1971.

Anyway, without further ado, lets travel back in time to 1960 and visit the traditional home of the America's Cup, Newport. On today is the Newport Jazz Festival and here is Muddy Waters playing Rollin' Stone.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Cooking with Matthew: The Ham Sandwich

Good morning and welcome to today's award winning edition of Cooking with Matthew. As a card carrying member of the British Sandwich Association I'd like to share my favourite variety of sandwich, that Spanish tradition: the ham sandwich. Dating back to the 16th century, this recipe has been passed down through the family. Let's get right into it!

Ham Sandwich (Serves One)
Bread (2 slices)
Butter (or I can't believe it's not butter)

1. Prepare your bread slices by evenly spreading butter (or I can't believe it's not butter) on one side of each slice.
2. Place ham on the buttered side of one of the slices of bread.
[Extra for Experts: Try experimenting by adding extra ingredients, but be careful - mixing baking soda and vinegar can create an explosion]
3. Place the other slice of bread on top, with the buttered side facing the ham.
4. Cut the sandwich in half if your prefer.
5. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The Music Box [Opeth]

February is done and gone and you know what it means when February is done and gone - it's time for MARCHMETAL in the Music Box! First up, from Sweden, we have progressive death metal kings, Opeth. Don't let the death tag put you off though - it's not all doom and gloom and scary voices with these fellows - they also combine expert musicianship with complex, melodic compositions and a range of folk, jazz and classical music influences!

To ease you into the month, here they are showing their softer side with a song off their ninth album, Watershed. This is Burden.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

C3: Tiger

Welcome back to Connoisseur's Craftbeer Corner, the place where we show our love for good beer.

Last week we received some feedback from people who didn't actually believe Lion Red is a craft beer. Well, lets recap the American Brewers Association definition of a craft brewer. They must be:
  • small (producing less than 6 million barrels of beer a year), 
  • independent (no large brewing company owns more than 25% of the company), and 
  • traditional (mostly brews all malt beers).
Lion Nathan Breweries controls a large portion of both the Australian and New Zealand markets, producing well over 6 million barrels of beer. They are owned by Mitsubishi, so they are not independent and their beers are crap and not at all traditional. Therefore Lion Red fails on all three counts, so there.

Today's fantastic selection of beer was chosen specifically so that Pez is not a liar. Today we look at Asia Pacific Breweries signature brew, Tiger.

Tiger (Asia Pacific Breweries)

A pale larger weighing in at 5.0%, Asia Pacific says Tiger contains the finest malt, hops and yeast and takes over 500 hours to brew. First brewed in 1932, Tiger was Singapore's first locally brewed beer. Countdown lists a 12 pack at $21.99.

Look 4/5
A traditional 330ml bottle with a blue, orange and silver design. The tiger and palm tree logo is instantly recognisable. Plus tigers are pretty damn cool.

Taste 3/5
While nothing spectacular, Tiger is nether the less a very drinkable larger. Interestingly, Tiger is not suitable for vegans. Poor them.

Summary 3/5
Tiger is pretty good value as it is priced alongside the cheap four of Tui, Speights, Lion Red and Export Gold.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Empires of the World: The Papal States

Ah, welcome back to Empires of the World - a grand tour of all of the major civilizations of the world. In celebration of the Pope's resignation, today we look at the Papal States.

At its Peak

As their name suggests, the Papal states were the territory that was controlled directly by the Pope. Centered around Rome, the Papal states began in the sixth century when the Byzantines invaded Italy. As the Byzantine Empire weakened the Pope gradually took over control of their Italian territories.
The Papal States are in Red.

During the Renaissance the territories expanded, led by "Warrior Pope" Julius II. The Papal states became one of the largest territories in the Italian peninsula and the states stretched into four modern day countries; Italy, France, Vatican City and San Marino.


The French Revolution led to the invasion of Italy by Napoleon and the loss of the Papal States. They were restored in 1814 following the fall of Napoleon but this proved only temporary as nationalism had been stoked in the peninsular. The Papal States were invaded by Italy in 1870 and Rome was declared the capital of the new nation.


The Pope signed a treaty with Benito Mussolini in 1929, creating the Vatican City State. At only 44 hectares, Vatican City is the smallest nation in the world.

Friday, 1 March 2013

News in a minute: 1 March 2013

Welcome to Friday 1 March 2013, the time is Seven, roughly.

Today's headline story; Muriwai Beach will reopen tomorrow, Saturday, following Wednesday's Shark Attack. The Horrific, Scary and Totally Unprovoked Shark Attack occurred on Wednesday to a Muriwai Local, a person who was just like you and me. All comments on media Sensationalism aside, pretty freaky huh? Also, here's an article encouraging us to refer to them as encounters instead of attacks. Meanwhile, Wellington acts as if it's never seen dolphins before.

In world news the Pope's resignation took effect this morning (NZT), leaving the Church in a rush to get a new one in place before Easter. Like all good bureaucracies, the Vatican is an expert at rule bending and getting what it wants. Therefore, I'd expect that we will see the white smoke coming out of the chimney sooner rather than later. In other world news, Corporal Bradley Manning has pleaded guilty to some of the more minor charges he was facing and is looking at 20 years in prison. He still may, however, face prosecution for "aiding the enemy" - which is a bit like Treason, but also isn't...apparently.

And finally, in sports, the world's media (including stuff.co.nz who think it's frontpage news) is falling all over Lauren Silberman as she becomes the first female to try out for a NFL team this week. Of course her chances of making one of the 32 teams is zero, and that's not just because she is missing a penis: she didn't kick for a college team and comes from a football (er...soccer) background. Kickers are never drafted anyway, why kick the ball when you can throw it?
Lauren Silberman: Credible draft choice?
Alright, that's us. Thank you for reading and remember:
Better Living everyone!