Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Black Box: the Sampling Begins

Sample Co is a company that sends out product samples so people who sign up can try them and then shill them to others. So that's what this is, except I'm going to be honest about it because my reputation is more important to me than free things. Having said that, give me a house and I will swear that your sandwich spread cured me of a disease that I never had.

On with the show:

This is what I received. Ohhh, shiny free things. I haven't tried everything yet so this will be part one of a two part special. I'm super excited about this as well. So come with me as you find out what I liked, what I hated, and what CHANGED MY LIFE FOREVER!*

* Nothing. 

Molenberg Bread
This is a brand I already buy. But what's different about this version? The bread is slightly sliced thicker. I'm not lying guys, I had to sit down for a second and catch my breath. It's bread I like, but slightly more of it. I'm pretty damn well chuffed. Thanks whomever makes this bread, you have made my ability to eat slightly more bread that bit more easy.

Score: 10/10

Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion
It's a good thing that they sent this to me because otherwise I would never have bought it. I never really got the point. You moisturize inside the shower and then wash it off and this saves time because otherwise you would have had to moisturize outside the shower and then not have to wash it off.  Time Saving! Science, I don't understand you sometimes.

So I tried it, and yeah, I guess it worked okay. The irony is that I already use the Nivea Express Hydration and that's great, so I can at least shill that to you.

Score: 6/10 hmmm

Chicken in a Can
It's chicken and it's in a can. I'm not eating canned chicken. I'm sorry, but this should be on Fear Factor.

Score: Undetermined. I couldn't even give it away for free.

Sanitarium Cluster Crisp
Something I already buy for myself. It's has crispy crunchy bits and tastes nice. Honestly I think it's a little bit too much on the sweet side but it makes a perfect dessert. A bit of fruit, a bit of yoghurt and a handful of this chucked up on top and nom, nom, nom. Tastiness.

Score: 8/10 and a nom.

Healthries Potato Pop Bites
Again something I already eat. This variety I got to try was the Balsamic one which leaves a nice tang in your mouth. However, if you're like me and dislocate your jaw in order to eat snacks shoving one hand after another into a never blinking maw until the pack has gone and loved ones flee in terror, then this might not be the one for you. Because that much vingeresque tang can leave you with mouth hurts. If you eat like a boring normal person though you should be fine. I recommend the sour cream and chives as a non-mouth hurty alternative.

Score: 8/10 or Ow/10 depending on the flavour

Healthries Hawkes Bay Nectarine Tea
Would not have tried this, but am now glad I did. Herbal teas have the problem of being all promise of great tasting tea with it's come hither smell, but when you go to actually drink it it's insipid hot water of meh. Not in this case. It is refreshingly nectariney and not cloyingly sweet. A good summer drink and I expect that it would be great as ice tea.Would buy again.

Score: 8 and a half /10

And that's all for now until I rip into the rest of the box. Super looking forward to eating that can of baked beans and then applying chemicals to burn off my leg hair. This just might be a final sign off. Tell my mother she's getting my cats.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

That Letter

On 13 August 2002 Donghui Liu put in an application to the Business Migration Branch and eight months later was yet to have a reply back as to whether it was successful or not. Cunliffe was contacted in April 2003 (in-person, by email, was this the first/only contact?), presumably because he was a constituent of his (that's unknown), and Cunliffe wrote a letter on his behalf outlining the facts of the case and asking for Liu 'to be advised of an estimated period of time in which he could expect a decision on the case'.

Eleven years later and a staff member failed to find a copy of this letter on their files, but the NZ Herald using the Official Information Act was able to do so - how did they find it, we don't know because we haven't been told. They currently have two sources, one of which handed over a physical photo (it's not available on-line) of Liu's former partner accepting a bottle of wine at a fundraiser from a Labour MP who hasn't been in office since 2006. This suggests that one, or more of the sources were in Labour during that time. Shane Jones would have to considered suspect No.1, the time frame fits perfectly and John Key has now said that he's known for weeks. The second suspect could possibly be one of the Anyone But Cunliffe group, or National may have hired investigators, which if they had half a brain they would.

Other than what we now know of Liu, the letter is innocuous, a virtual form letter. So what would Cunliffe have to gain from lying? What in the letter is actually incriminating? Nothing. But 'staff member fails to find form letter' doesn't have the same hysterical ring as 'Caught: Tricky Liar Cunlifee Falls from Moral High Ground!' And people have fallen for the heavy breathing hysteria of it all.

So you can have this exchange but then this column gets put up afterwards: and you realise that the truth can be boring but spin sells. That's why reporters will sit on information, not so they have time to go out and interview the main players to get to the bottom of the truth, but because spinning it out into something bigger than it is creates an unfolding story that people will want to follow which means people will buy your product because they want to see how it ends.

Two days later the photo went up. Because this was about creating hype and teasing readers and selling a story. And people are falling for a narrative that contains very little substance concerning events that took place over a decade ago. The stupid of all of this is simply staggering.

All in all, this is what happens when a democracy descends into personality politics instead of policy, we vote for our perceptions of people and not the ideas that they present. And commercial media have to have something sexy to sell that people will buy. Honestly, I'm completely disillusioned and I think we deserve better. Meh.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

If I Was Minister of Media Stuff

How I Would Run Media, An Essay by Dovil Aged 5

1. Journalists need to be kept awake and perked up and raring to go so free coffee in every department! But the coffee machine can be a long way away to walk to, so bowls of cocaine on every desk.

2. Journalists are ridiculously underpaid given the importance of their position in a democratic society, so pay rises! 20k across the board. Unless you've got a contract with SkyCity in which case here's a $5 chip and good luck to you. Don't worry corporates, that cocaine was only free for the first month so they'll be paying back that 20k plus extra in no time!

3. Journalism degrees will get an overhaul with an added Honours year where people can specialise in a subject if they so wish, such as business, science or politics etc. Also a PGDip made up of practical journalism basics for anyone exiting with an undergraduate degree.

4. Coverage such as the "anti-smacking" law or the Foreshore and Seabed Act highlighted one important thing, that hardly anyone knew what the hell they were talking about. Instead of throwing journalists in at the deep end, experts would be invited to come along and talk about the topic du jour so that there was at least a basic understanding so that the right questions could be asked of the right people. Also everyone would be asked to bring in an item and give a 20 minute presentation, not because that has any intrinsic worth, but just because I'm a bit of a bastard.

5. A consistent one-stop-shop publication would be put together by a third party listing every academic or expert worth their salt in this country with tick boxes to indicate whether they could write material and/or appear on camera without scaring the nation.

6. Barbie and Ken dolls to host all shows, voiced by Hilary Barry and Mike McRoberts. John Campbell will be contractually required to interject at least once per show, and Hilary will be required to be unable to continue due to an outbreak of laughter. Dance for me puppets! You entertain me so.

7. Journalists will no longer be required to report on something that happened two hours previously. They will instead be given time to ring around and find out the Why to the What while receiving shoulder rubs and being cooled down by waved palm fronds brandished by the ex-Shortland Street actor of their choosing.

8. If politicians are asked to appear on a show they will (unless they have a very good excuse and a note from their Mums) actually bother to appear on the show. Otherwise Rebecca Wright will be released somewhere in their homes.

9. Valium to be supplied for any interview involving Hekia Parata, Simon Bridges, well there's going to be a long list. Shhhh, it'll be alllll over soon.

10. Free rehab. I'm not sure how but there's some terrible drug addictions going on. Sort yourself out, Media.