| 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, 29 June 2013

The Music box [We Came As Romans]

Well that's it for June folks. Here is We Came As Romans covering One Direction, or whichever Brit boy band this song is by. I'm Glad You Came, my universe will never be the same, see you again next month with a brand new theme.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Music Box [Marilyn Manson]

For the penultimate edition of our super-special double-hit cover-song extravaganza, we have a double-covered super-hit song special!

Glora Jones originally recorded the track Tainted Love in 1964, but it was Softcell's 1981, downtempo, synthpop cover that made the song famous around the world. Twenty years later, Marilyn Manson recorded this version for the Not Another Teen Movie soundtrack.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

How I survived the GoogleReaderpocalypse (and other boring tech stories)

You may recall that in April I was talking about the impending GoogleReaderpocalypse (or you may not). Either way, Google Reader is being shut down on 1 July (which is awfully soon). However, I am happy to report that I have now migrated to another web based RSS aggregator and it is doing the job for me so far. I took the plunge and went with Netvibes. And, what's more, if you put Netvibes into "reader view" it feels pretty much like a modern version of Google Reader. Bonus!

Anyway, moving on, in the same article we reported that Facebook was looking at implementing hashtags. Well, they obviously liked what they saw because hashtags are now causing chaos all over the mighty book of face. #hashtag

Finally, you may have noticed that we no longer live at dinosaursanddandelions.blogspot.co.nz and instead are the proud owners of the much simpler dinosaursanddandelions.com! Boy did I have some troubles setting it up though. I won't bore you with all the details but, after purchasing the site for a very very minimal fee, the domain registrar wanted another 600% to access DNS services like CNAME and redirect the site. This is a service that most other registrar's provide for free by the way. Luckily I managed to secure a Free DNS service and by Monday most of it was working, apart from a small SNAFU which was pointed out to me on Twitter. As always, managing everything from the blogspot/google end was a piece of cake. Mmmmmm..........cake.

Monday, 24 June 2013

"Ask Allan..." June Edition

Welcome to the very first edition of "Ask Allan..." Due to a downsizing at the meat-works, I have been forced to subsidize my income by making a monthly contribution to the infamous blog 'Dinosaurs and Dandelions'.

This is YOUR opportunity to ask those questions that have been burning in the back of your brain (or wherever else you keep them), and get a wise, mature, calculated yet witty response. 

The topic of such questions is entirely up to you, however to get you started here are some potential topics from which you can form questions:
  • Career advice
  • Relationship advice
  • Advice advice
  • Advice on creating lists
  • Problem solving
  • Riddles
  • Bullet points
  • Car advice
  • Grammar
  • Kelsey Grammer
  • Requests for anecdotes
  • Yellow leather hats
  • Legal advice *
* Legal advice provided is of the opinion of APB Holdings Ltd and should not be considered legally binding or as advice to be used in legal proceedings etc etc.

As a regular feature of 'Ask Allan...', we will also be bringing you a motivating and inspiring quotation from the world's great philosophers, thinkers and other influential people. As a first edition special, today we bring you not one, not three, not five.. but two quotes, each as inspiring as the other!

"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life."
John 6:47

"I'm going to the back seat of my car, with the woman I love, and I won't be back for ten minutes! "
Simpson, Homer

So remember to send in your questions. You can do so by submitting them on Facebook, Twitter or emailing dinosaursanddandelions@hotmail.com.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Sports Thoughts: 23 June 2013

Well, I promised you a post today, so here it is. Five random thoughts I've had relating sports in the last few days.

Second string Spain put 10 past Tahiti
Hasn’t it been good to see Tahiti “perform” at the Confederations Cup. Has a team ever got so much credit for such thrashings as the island nation did when they lost 1-6 to Nigeria and 0-10 to Spain? I guess that’s what happens when you’re ranked 138th and they’re ranked 31st and 1st in the world.

Fifa questions Durante's NZ eligibility
In good-but-it-doesn't-seem-it news, Fifa is investigating if the All Whites latest debutant, Andrew Durante, is actually eligible to play for us, being Australian and all. If they rule he isn't eligible for us it is likely that we will be stripped of our mighty victory over the Solomon Islands a few months ago. This is good because the issue was going to come up sooner or later and we'd rather have it worked out now than have it blow up in our faces later on and potentially be stripped of a World Cup qualification win over a team like Honduras.

Meninga cleared of wrong doing
Why is it called the “NRL integrity unit” when it can seemingly investigate anyone under the jurisdiction of the Australian Rugby League Commission, and not just NRL players?

Mini slams 'silly' Origin rule
Why is Anthony Minichello “hitting out” at the international rule regarding allegiance when really his anger should be directed at the ARLC’s insistence State of Origin players declare for Australia? By the way, only 127 days until the World Cup!

What about the Commodores?
And finally, “What about the Commodores” is not a phrase I thought I’d ever hear in V8 Supercars. This week bought the announcement of Volvo’s entry into the competition, joining Nissan, Ford, Mercedes and, of course, Holden. Here’s an artists impression of what one of the new Volvo S60’s will look like;

Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Music Box [José González]

Just about everyone has heard this one [or atleast part of it] thanks to it's inclusion in Sony's 2005 Bravia television advertisement. You couldn't surf the internet or even chat with your grandma in Peru on one of those old things, but thanks to some colourful balls and a catchy cover song, the company probably managed to sell quite a few.

The original version of the song Heartbeats, was released in early 2003 by Swedish duo, The Knife. Later that same year, José González released this cover version on his debut album, Veneer. There is an actual music video for the song but it's pretty lame, so here's the extended cut of the advert instead. So many balls...

Friday, 21 June 2013

Scandal! Cap'N Crunch's Qualifications Questioned!!

In a surprisingly serious development this week, the nautical credibility of Cap'N Crunch was bought into question when troublesome trolls from Reddit identified that H. M. Crunch (real name Horatio Magellan) has three stripes on his uniform, instead of the four worn by a US Navy Captain. Three stripes identifies someone of the rank of Commander, who would report to a Captain.

The crisis then deepened for H. M. Crunch, with the US Navy stating that it had checked its personnel records and had no record of his service. Speculation quickly spread that he may have instead served in the French Navy, as in France three stripes signifies a Frigate Captain and he does sport a Napoleon style hat.

The maker of Cap'N Crunch cereal, Quakers*, was forced into damage control mode, stating that as he captains his own ship, the S.S. Guppy, he is a captain regardless of military rank, or service.

However, the debate rages on...

*what is with cereal companies with religious connotations?? I'm looking at you Sanitarium!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Review: Georgie Pie

Despite my distaste for McDonalds, today I bit the bullet and ventured into one of their fine establishments. The reason: the 2013 Georgie Pie comeback.

So here it is, reviewed just for you on my patented "Hmm-Meh-Mmmm" scale.

Price: Hmm.
At NZD $4.50, McDonalds has clearly banked on the comeback of the brand to ensure people try it at least once, no matter the price. For comparison the Mercari Bakery prices their "award winning" steak and cheese pies at $3.80.

Pastry: Mmmm.
My pie was golden, firm and without a soggy base. It is also a square pie, which earns it a bonus mark.

Filling: Meh.
Initial disapointment at the filling was explained by a closer look at the advertising. This is a "steak mince and cheese pie", and not a steak and cheese pie. Or in other words, it's a mince and cheese pie.

Overall: Meh.
Worth getting once for the nostalgia and novelty value, but it's not going to replace your neighbourhood bakery pie.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Music Box [Rodrigo Y Gabriela]

For part two of our instrumental sub-theme, we have an acoustic guitar playing pair, originally from Meixco, who made a name for themselves playing in and around Dublin. After building a cult following in Ireland they went on to release their debut album in 2002 and have since had world wide success with their following three studio releases.

Their second album, which came out at the beginning of 2006, was the self-titled Rodrigo Y Gabriela. The duo, who had previously been involved together in a heavy metal band, included two covers on the album, a Metallica cover [you got to have atleast one...] and this version of Led Zepplin's, Stairway To Heaven.


Monday, 17 June 2013

Phrase THIS: Rule of thumb

We have all heard the phrase "rule of thumb" but actually, does that make any sense? And whose kingdom is the thumb ruling anyway?
Well first off, in this instance, the use of the word "rule" refers to measurements, not laws, much like the word "ruler". The phrase can be summed up as "a general principle or rule based on experience or practice, as opposed to a scientific calculation." Personally, I like the word guesstimate, so I'm just going to chuck that in there too.
It is quite commonly believed (though I'm sure not by you, dear reader) that the phrase rule of thumb dates back to an English law that allowed husbands to beat there wives as long as the stick wasn't wider than their thumb. While we won't debate the merits of such a law on these pages, this is certaintly not the origin of the phrase. English law did allow for "moderate correction" and domestic violence was probably quite common but they aparently didn't go around measuring sticks with thumbs beforehand.
Instead, the origins of the phrase appear to be more mundane. First recorded in 1692, and already in common usage well before then, the phrase probably originates from some form of measurement, such as when planting seeds or woodworking. This distance is roughly one inch and in many European languages the word for inch is same as the word for a thumb.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

The Music Box [Apocalyptica]

Our Music Box cover songs frenzy continues, and this week we're goin instrumentalTodays group was originally formed in Helsinki, by four classically trained cellists, solely as a Metallica tribute group. They have gone on to release seven albums which in recent years have included moslty original content and featured a range of famous guest vocalists.

Off their 1998 album, Inquisition Symphony, this is Apocalyptica, performing Nothing Else Matters, originally from Metallica's eponymous fifth studio album.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Music Box [Patti Smith]

Last time we heard Nirvana covering a 70's music icon, so to follow that up, today we have a 70's music icon, covering Nirvana.

Known as the "Godmother of Punk", Patti Smith is a singer-songwriter and poet, who greatly influenced the New York punk rock scene with her debut studio album, Horses. In 2007 she released her eleventh studio album, Twelve, a collection of cover songs which included this excellent version of Smells Like Teen Spirit.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Post 100! (actually this time...)

Following on from our last disastrous attempt at a celebration, the Board of Directors™ is not too keen on funding another all out birthday extravaganza. We do however have a very special announcement[!] here for you and, whats more, we are totally sure that this time it is our 100th post!

And, well, if that's not enough for you, just go back and read From Dinosaurs to Dandelions: The ten year struggle that turned into a Broadway hit.

So now, without any further ado, what we've all been waiting for; a very special announcement! In the tradition of agony aunts everywhere, we present to you Ask Allan. 

That's right! Allan will be available to answer all your non-Allan related questions once a month. So send in your best queries now! Get in touch using facebook, twitter or email us at dinosaursanddandelions@hotmail.com. And, in case you need any further encouragement, all questions sent in before the 30th of June will go in the draw to win this delicious Bacon flavoured lollipop.*

*Artificial flavouring; not actually Bacon. Best Before 30 December 2012.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

The Music Box [Nirvana]

David Bowie's 1970 album, The Man Who Sold The World, was ranked 45th by Nirvana front man, Kurt Cobain, in a list of his 50 favourite albums. In 1993, the band performed their version of the title track on an MTV Unplugged appearance, which was then released as a live album. Sing along if you know this one.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Matthew's Midyear Movie Mayhem

So, after being on a film watching spree lately (well, a spree by my standards, probably not by your standards), I thought I'd do a quick and dirty review of each of them. NB: Reviews may not contain any dirt.

How many of these films have you seen? Score yourself out of four.

Argo (2012)

A nice "historical drama thriller" directed by, and starring, Ben Affleck. The film follows American embassy staff who are trapped in Iran and a CIA agent who creates a cover story involving a fake film studio to get them out. Based on events that occured during the Iranian hostage crisis, the film unfortunately minimises the Canadian input into the rescue plan and ignores the role of the British and New Zealand embassy staff. Don't worry though, we had the last laugh, because on 12 March 2013 New Zealand's parliament passed a motion that the house "...acknowledge with gratitude the efforts of former New Zealand diplomats Chris Beeby and Richard Sewell in assisting American hostages in Tehran during the hostage crisis in 1979, and express its regret that the director of the movie Argo saw fit to mislead the world about what actually happened during that crisis when, in reality, our courageous diplomats’ inspirational actions were of significant help to the American hostages and deserve the factual and historical record to be corrected." That'll show them!

The Hangover Part III (2013)

The third film of the series departs somewhat from the formula that made the first one such a success and that the second one blatently reproduced. Part III has more Mr. Chow, less Doug and no Mike Tyson. The film relies on the adventures of Phil, Stu and Alan to deliever an as-expected comedy that is satisfying but you probably won't remember in two weeks time.

Gangster Squad (2013)

Originally scheduled for a 2012 release before it was re-worked following the 2012 Batman theatre shootings, Gangster Squad follows a squad of LAPD police officers who are tasked with working outside the law to bring down the city's most notorious gangster. Vaguely based on true events, Gangster Squad features Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn and Emma Stone. The film is stylishly shot and, despite a perhaps slightly shallow plot, it will keep your attention throughout.

Fast & Furious 6 (2013)

The sixth film in the series finally reunites Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Michelle Rodriguez, along with Dwayne Johnson, MMA champion Gina Carano and most of the episode five's cast. The film builds on F&F 5's formula of moving away from a car film and towards a hiest film, with cars. Entertaining and with plenty of ridiculous action, this series isn't over yet as the movie clearly sets up a sequel. We went to a super enhanced viewing that included audience participation, which only added to the film's appeal.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The Music Box [James Blake]

So, it turns out Matthew never got the note I left on his desk asking him to fill in for me last month... Unfortunately, this resulted in no puppy-related music videos being posted in The Music Box, and as the allocated time period has now passed, you're shit out of luck! Thanks for voting though, maybe we'll have another theme poll later in the year!

Now back to this months theme, and to make up for the lack of tunes last month, June will now feature twice the number of videos, for the same low, low price! Todays song, Limit To Your Love, was originally recorded by Canadian singer-songwriter, Feist, and appears on her 2007 album, The Reminder. This however is James Blake, doing it his way.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

The Music box [Devo]

I took a few weeks off in May and left Matthew to fill in for me. I trust he supplied you with all the puppy related music videos you could handle and by now you'll be ready for our June theme! This month, The Music Box has got it covered. That's right, we're bringing you all the best cover songs money can buy, and you don't even have to pay us for them!* [*you don't have to... but you can!]

First up, we're heading back to 1977 when American, new wave band, Devo covered The Rolling Stones hit, [I Can't Get No] Satisfaction. Mick Jagger himself has said he liked the bands version, and music reviewer Steve Huey described it as "...a spastic freak-out that's nearly unrecognisable" [That's a good thing, probably].