Friday, 27 February 2009

Unofficial Cookathon just as good as real thing

The annual (well, actually, multi-annual) and legendary Dunedin student drinking event known as "The Cookathon" was officially cancelled this Orientation Week, but that didn't stop hundreds of Otago University students lining for the replacement-and-basically-the-same event.

The popular day of drinking was held at the newly-repainted Captain Cook Hotel, one of Dunedin's most famous student watering holes. Costumes are a big part of the fun, rivalling the Rugby 7's for variety and creativity...

Even endangered Yellow-eyed Penguins enjoy a Speights!

A few of the 'David Bain' impersonators... (Good work
on the glasses, but jerseys could have been brighter lads)

Train services suspended today for Thomas & Friends

What Traffic Cones do on their Days Off...

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Thursday, 26 February 2009

Otago University Toga Parade/Riot '09

Otago University's 2009 Toga Parade for new first year students seems to have made the news around the world, after the event turned into a war of eggs and rubbish.

The Toga Parade is an annual Otago student event, where the freshers (mainly from Dunedin's University Halls and Hostels) march down the main street, dressed in togas and laurel head wreaths.

It's usually a noisy affair, as hostels chant insults to rival halls, and the fresher students announce their arrival in Dunedin. Older students have traditionally lined the parade, pelting the odd student with eggs, flour, and water.

This year however the pelting got out of control, with massive amounts of eggs being biffed from the street and from the first floor flats above the main street shops (some by second/third/fourth year students, others just regular locals).

There were also buckets of water being thrown at the toga-wearing crowd, along with other dodgier substances, including apparently "vomit and faeces". Nice.

Some of the first years responded by grabbing full rubbish bags and throwing them at bystanders, as well as at cars trying to drive through the main street (one car got its rear window smashed).

The unruly parade was also partly caused by a confusion about the timing of the event. Apparently students from Unicol and another hostel arrived an hour early, and got frustrated waiting, so took off before streets were closed.

They got halfway along and were turned back by representatives from the Students' Association, and then rejoined the march with the whole crowd.

A few people were arrested for minor offences, but retailers were angry about some property damage (windows, signs) as well as having to spend many hours trying to scrape/sweep/clean dried egg and other gook off their shop windows.

Council cleaners and volunteers from the OUSA did do a lot of work on the night following the parade, but it still took shop owners most of Wednesday to get rid of the mess/smell.

Some are asking the OUSA to foot the cleanup bill, and want the parade banned in future years. Hopefully that won't happen, as it's normally a fun and colourful event on Dunedin streets that has previously caused few problems.

First year students depart from the Otago Dental School

When in Dunedin, dress like the Romans...!

A few bystanders hurl eggs at the toga-wearing freshers

Many students didn't know what was going on

The first years gather in the Octagon for their welcome

Good to see some students putting in the extra effort,
with authentic-looking leafy head wreaths...

A couple of students try to get a better view

Hi Mom! You'll be so proud of us... :-)

The loudest chant wins bragging rights for their Hall

Alcohol, Togas, and Brick Stairs aren't a good combination

"Ok, so that lot are students, and the green one is a statue..."

A brave car tries to drive through the middle of the parade

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Sunday, 8 February 2009

Ain't nothin' new in music... Just keeps comin' around

The music industry is in a bit of a state of upheaval at the moment, as old skool record companies try to adapt and adjust to the modern digital era of downloading and non-physical formats for their music.

Unfortunately, the upheaval has coincided with a dearth of crap music filling the charts... The Swedes are one of the few bright spots on the world's musical landscape, with Maratone's Max Martin and LA-based Dr Luke keeping the international charts alive with catchy and clever smash hits.

Some people get hung up on the fact that some songs bear a slight resemblance to other songs... This shouldn't be unexpected. There's only so many notes on a keyboard, and when you're breaking it down to the notes commonly heard in Western musical scales, those combinations reduce further.

Australian musical comedy rock band The Axis of Awesome have come to terms with the fact that there are only so many "pleasing combinations of chords", and (with tongue firmly in cheek) reckon one day we could conceivably run out of new tunes.

Here is their very clever demonstration of the awesome power of the E, B, C#m and A chord structure...

* Hat tip: [b3ta]

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